UCLA coach Chip Kelly is expected to become Ohio State's next offensive coordinator, sources told ESPN on Friday. UCLA announced Friday that Kelly is leaving the program and a national search for a new head coach has begun.
Kelly is expected to replace Bill O'Brien, who will become head coach at Boston College later Friday. Ohio State hired O'Brien in mid-January as part of head coach Ryan Day's move to no longer call plays and run the program more fully.
Ohio State will have to pay $1.5 million for Kelly, sources said.
Kelly finished that tenure with three consecutive winning seasons in his six seasons at UCLA, going 35-34. Jeff Hafley (Packers) becomes the fourth college head coach this cycle to leave a head coaching job for an assistant position, joining Mo Linquist (Alabama) and Kane Wommack (Alabama).
“I want to sincerely thank Chip for his service to UCLA football and our student-athletes over the past six seasons, and wish him and his wife Jill the best,” said UCLA Athletic Director Martin Jarmond.
Kelly has interviewed for several NFL coordinator jobs in the rotation, most recently including the OC position for the Seattle Seahawks. Instead he returns to college, where he will reunite with Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, his longtime friend and former assistant coach. Kelly has a decades-long relationship with Day, as both are New Hampshire natives. Kelly coached Day in college at New Hampshire, and Day worked for Kelly in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers.
Kelly has long been regarded as a skilled playcaller after serving as a longtime offensive coordinator and innovator at both New Hampshire and Oregon. When Kelly became the head coach at Oregon and then in the NFL, he was the playcaller and his offense shifted from a breakneck tempo to a more deliberate and NFL style.
Kelly will call the offense for a strong roster that includes transfer quarterback Will Howard, tailbacks Trevion Henderson and Quinshawn Jutkins and receiver Emeka Ekbuka.