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Chip Kelly Replaces Invoice O’Brien as OC at Ohio State, Moves from UCLA

  • Feb 9, 2024, 02:18 PM ET

Chip Kelly, the former UCLA coach, has been appointed as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State. The announcement was made by the school on Friday night. Kelly will be taking over from Bill O’Brien, who just recently became the coach at Boston College. O’Brien was hired by Ohio State mid-January as a part of Ryan Day’s decision to focus more on managing the program.

The Buckeyes and Kelly have agreed to a three-year contract. The specifics of the contract haven’t been disclosed, but Kelly will be taking a significant pay cut with the move, bringing his salary down by more than $4 million, as he made nearly $6 million while at UCLA, insider sources revealed. Furthermore, Ohio State is also expected to pay a $1.5 million buyout for Kelly, according to the same sources.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chip and his wife, Jill, to our program,” Day expressed. “His past experiences as a head coach at Oregon, UCLA, and the NFL will be invaluable to our entire team. We’re looking forward to working with Chip again, introducing him to our staff and team, and pursuing a championship together.

Day also wished coach Bill O’Brien and his family all the best in their new endeavor at Boston College.

Earlier on Friday, UCLA had announced that Kelly had decided to leave the program and that they were in search of a new head coach. Kelly’s decision to leave UCLA was influenced by his desire to get back into coaching. He had been coaching UCLA’s quarterbacks in the run-up to their bowl game this year. Kelly stayed at UCLA for six seasons, ending with three successive winning seasons. He joins Jeff Hafley (Packers), Mo Linguist (Alabama) and Kane Wommack (Alabama) who have also switched head-coaching jobs for assistant positions during this cycle.

According to UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond, they are hoping to have a new coach appointed within four days. He acknowledged the timing as a challenge. “We need a leader for our program. I’ve asked the team to give us 96 hours. We could be earlier or we could be later. But we’ll move forward quickly. That’s our chief concern.”

Kelly considered multiple NFL coordinator positions during this cycle, including the Seahawks’ OC position. He has, however, decided to stay in college coaching, where he’ll partner with Day, a longtime friend and former assistant coach. Kelly and Day share a decades-long relationship, both hailing from New Hampshire. Kelly was Day’s college coach at New Hampshire and Day worked with Kelly in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers.

Kelly, well known for being an outstanding play-caller, was a long-term offensive coordinator and pioneer at New Hampshire and Oregon. As Kelly advanced to be the head coach at Oregon, and later in the NFL, he continued to call plays, his offenses transitioning from a fast-paced style to a more deliberate NFL style.

Kelly will be handling the offense for a promising team that includes transfer quarterback Will Howard, tailbacks TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins, and receiver Emeka Egbuka.

Ohio State will begin their spring practice on March 5.
Information from The Associated Press has contributed to this report.