Chip off the New Block: Kelly leaves Oregon to coach Eagles

Chip Kelly had a change of heart and ducked Oregon, while the Philadelphia Eagles got the guy they wanted all along.

The Eagles named Kelly their 21st head football coach in team history Wednesday.

He replaces longtime head coach Andy Reid, who was let go on Dec. 31 following a 4-12 campaign.

Kelly went 46-7 and led Oregon to a BCS bowl game in each of his four years with the school.

The 49-year-old will bring his innovative mind, lightning fast paced offense, which averaged 44.7 points per game at Oregon, and aggressive play calling to the NFL for the first time. He has no prior coaching experience in the pros.

"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team."

Philadelphia had interviewed Kelly early on in its search for a replacement of Reid, who spent 14 years at the helm. The Eagles talked with Kelly for nine hours following the Ducks' 35-17 triumph over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. Kelly also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills.

Kelly, though, announced days later that he'd stay at Oregon. But he re- emerged as the Eagles' head coaching candidate.

The Eagles reportedly interviewed 11 candidates prior to choosing Kelly, including Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Tuesday. But Bradley left Philly without an offer.

Philadelphia also brought in Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who was picked to be the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

Kelly came to the Ducks in 2007 as their offensive coordinator under head coach Mike Bellotti before taking over for him in 2009. Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire for seven years prior.

Oregon, which made an appearance in the 2011 BCS title game under Kelly, finished last season at 12-1.

"I want to thank Chip for his leadership and commitment to building on the Oregon Football foundation of excellence," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said. "We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL."

Kelly almost jumped to the NFL last year, but turned down a head coaching offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to return for his fourth season at Oregon.