Ohio State will hire Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator

UCLA coach Chip Kelly has been hired to replace Bill O'Brien as Ohio State's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

The school announced Friday the hiring of Kelly with a three-year contract.

Kelly will take over after O'Brien was named the next coach at Boston College just hours earlier in the latest rotation of the coaching carousel. The Eagles' start was revealed last week when Jeff Hafley was hired as the Green Bay Packers' defensive coordinator.

“We are very excited to have Chip and his wife Jill join our program,” Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said in a statement. “His experience as a head coach at Oregon, UCLA and the NFL will bring immediate value to our entire team. I look forward to reuniting with Chip, introducing him to our staff and team, and chasing a championship together.”

“I wish Coach Bill O'Brien the best for his family as he takes over at Boston College.”

A Letter, athletic director Martin Jarmond confirmed Kelly's departure from UCLA after six seasons at the helm of the Bruins. Kelly went 35-34 in his tenure with the Bruins.

It's unusual for head coaches to voluntarily move into coordinator positions, but the relationship between Tack and Kelly spanned a quarter-century. Day was a quarterback at New Hampshire from 1998-2001 when Kelly was the Wildcats' offensive coordinator and began his coaching career at the school.

They worked together in the NFL. Kelly hired Dave as his quarterbacks coach in 2015 leading the Philadelphia Eagles in his last season and brought him to the San Francisco 49ers the following year.

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The 60-year-old Kelly's extensive experience will allow Day to make plans to provide play-calling for the first time and step in CEO-style at the helm of the Buckeyes.

Ohio State Football: Who is Chip Kelly? OSU is reportedly looking to hire the former UCLA, Oregon coach as offensive coordinator

Day said at a news conference Wednesday that he wants to hand over those responsibilities to O'Brien, another veteran play-caller with head coaching experience between the NFL and college level.

As he considered the structure and organization of his staff, Day emphasized that a potential play-caller must be the right person. Kelly's status quo figures to be more important than any potential candidate's.

Kelly last served as offensive coordinator under Mike Pelotti at Oregon in 2007 and 2008.

Kelly, who led the Ducks for four seasons behind Bellotti, introduced a no-huddle offense that became known as “the fade.”

The innovative system helped popularize no-huddle offenses throughout college football.

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Oregon had the nation's top-scoring offense in 2010 and finished as the national runner-up, falling to Auburn by a field goal in the BCS national championship game.

Kelly's offense wasn't as prolific at UCLA, but the Bruins finished in the top 20 in the Football Bowl Subdivision three straight seasons with struggling Dorian Thompson-Robinson before slipping to 70th this past season.

While Kelly's relationship with Day is long-standing, he also has a relationship with offensive line coach Justin Frye.

Frye was his offensive coordinator and offensive line coach with the Bruins from 2018-21.

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Adding Kelly to the Buckeyes' staff would involve an additional financial outlay. Under the terms of the extension Kelly signed with UCLA last March, he is owed $1.5 million for leaving the school.

A large portion of that purchase could be assumed by the state of Ohio, which previously covered similar obligations.

When it poached defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State two years ago, he was paid a one-time lump sum of $138,850 as a signing bonus to help with the penalty.

Kelly should make $6.1 million at UCLA next season.

The Bruins join the Big Ten next season, but aren't scheduled to play the Buckeyes in the regular season until 2025.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch and can be reached at [email protected].

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