For Oregon fans, Chip Kelly‘s near exit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was way, way too close for comfort. While they can now sleep easy in knowing they have their offensive guru for at least another season, the anxiety that comes with having a hot commodity coach will surely reappear at some point in the near future.
For now, Kelly remains the head coach of the Ducks. Today, he issued a statement about his decision to stay.
“I am flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization,” Kelly said. “I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and General Manager Mark Dominik but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon.”
The Ducks are coming off a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, their best by far in Kelly’s three seasons as UO’s head coach. Oregon has played for another Rose Bowl championship and a BCS championship, losing both to Ohio State and Auburn, respectively.
Still, those who follow the program closely understand Kelly has brought Oregon success and exposure never before seen in Eugene. Of course, rocking facilities don’t hurt, either. But Kelly has the resume to merit the attention of others.
Oregon understands that too.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers asked for permission to engage in conversation with Coach Kelly, which was granted,” Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said. “The University of Oregon is one of the nation’s preeminent college football programs and, as such, it comes as no surprise the NFL is interested in our personnel. We are pleased with Coach Kelly’s decision to remain as our head coach. Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country.”
Who knows how long Kelly will stick around Oregon — perhaps a while — but fans should now have more appreciation for the success they’re having.