Chip Kelly leaving trail of BCS bowls, sad boosters in his wake

Jonathan Ferrey

Chip Kelly has brought Oregon an unprecedented level of success in his four years as head coach. Still, some fans and powerful fans are hopeful that he'll leave for the NFL so Oregon can hire a more fan-friendly coach.

In his four seasons as head coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly has led the Ducks to heights never reached in the history of the program. One would think, then, that boosters and powerful supporters of Oregon football would be thrilled with Kelly. Surprisingly, that is not the case. It seems coach Kelly isn't as accessible to supporters who donate money to the program as they'd like him to be.

According to a report from John Locanthi in the Willamette Week, some boosters, anonymously, are hoping Kelly finally gives in to the desire to try his hand at professional football and leaves so Oregon can hire a more fan-friendly coach.

A number of substantial Oregon football boosters, many of whom requested anonymity, expressed a widespread annoyance with Kelly. The coach with the highest winning percentage (45-7, 86.5 percent) among BCS conference coaches is at odds with many of those closest to the Oregon program.

Although most would agree Kelly is an extraordinary coach, he doesn’t care much for the many other obligations that come with his job. "Some of the college boosters have gone as far as to say, ‘I hope he does leave so we can get somebody who appreciates the fans,’" says Jack Roberts, a former Oregon labor commissioner and Oregon alumnus.

According to the report, part of the problem in Eugene is that he's following in the footsteps of Mike Belotti, who embraced the schmoozing and politicking part of the job like few others. Kelly, on the other hand, keeps to himself. Instead of traveling to meet with Oregon fan clubs like former coaches Rich Brooks and Belotti did, Kelly opts to either call the clubs or appear to all of them simultaneously via video. Instead of playing golf with boosters, Kelly sent his assistant coaches instead.

The glad-handing, fundraising aspect of being a major college football or basketball coach, isn't for everyone. Some coaches enjoy it, some endure it as a necessary evil, and some avoid it altogether. With Chip Kelly's obvious aversion to it. nobody will be surprised to see him move on to the NFL where he can be a football coach and nothing else for a change.

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