August 18, 2022

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Chip Kelly is still UCLA’s football coach, but for how long? Kelly has been asked...

Chip Kelly is still UCLA’s football coach, but for how long?

Kelly has been asked about his contract status throughout the season, but he’s managed to deflect those questions publicly as much as possible.

Kelly’s name has been mentioned prominently in the coaching carousel this week after Mario Cristobal left Oregon to take the head coaching job at Miami, his alma mater.

Oregon has considered the possibility of reuniting with Kelly and asked UCLA for permission to speak with the coach, according to The Oregonian’s John Canzano.

Kelly, 58, is currently finishing the fourth year of the five-year, $23.3 million contract he signed in November 2017. Kelly would owe a $9 million buyout if he left for another job before Jan. 15, 2022. Cristobal owes Oregon a $9 million buyout.

UCLA (8-4 overall, 6-3 Pac-12) had three straight losing seasons under Kelly before breaking through this season. The Bruins are headed for a Holiday Bowl matchup with North Carolina State later this month in San Diego.

If Oregon hires Kelly, it would be his second stint as the Ducks’ head coach. He was 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon (2009-12) and won 12 games each of his last three seasons, as the Ducks finished all three seasons in the top five nationally in the final AP poll. Kelly won Pac-12 titles in three of his four seasons in Eugene, leading the Ducks to the 2010 BCS national championship game in 2010, two Rose Bowls and one Fiesta Bowl before leaving to coach the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning and Oregon have “an agreement in place and the deal is expected to be finalized next week” but Canzano reported that was “not accurate.”

BYU coach Kalani Sitake and Cal coach Justin Wilcox have also interviewed for the Oregon job, according to reports.

Sitake became a popular coaching candidate for several jobs, including Washington and Oregon, after leading the Cougars to a 5-0 record against Pac-12 teams this season, but he is no longer a candidate after agreeing to an extension with his alma mater on Friday.

Wilcox just finished his fifth year with the Golden Bears but was reportedly frustrated with the university’s handling of the COVID-19 situation, which resulted in their game against USC being postponed from November to December.

While Kelly might still be considered a candidate, if Oregon goes in a different direction, that would keep Kelly in Westwood to continue preparing for the early signing day period that begins Wednesday and the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28.

A decision on Kelly’s future in Westwood must be worked out, regardless.

The Bruins have 12 verbal commitments for a recruiting class that is currently ranked 40th in the nation and fourth in the conference by 247sports.

None of the Bruins’ commits have decommitted, but most are surely monitoring his status with the prorgram.

“I’m high on our football team right now after finishing the season the way that they did,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond told the Southern California News Group on Tuesday.

Kelly and the Bruins swept the Pac-12’s three other California programs for the first time since 1998 and went 3-0 in the month of November.

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