PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said Monday he’s staying put but remains flattered by the interest shown in him by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“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,” Kelly said in a statement released through the school.
The Bucs are searching for a new head coach after firing Raheem Morris after their last-place finish in the NFC South.
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said Oregon granted Tampa Bay permission to talk to Kelly.
“We are pleased with coach Kelly’s decision to remain as our head coach,” Mullens said. “Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country.”
University spokesman Dave Williford said Kelly is on a recruiting trip and unavailable for comment.
Kelly is 34-6 at Oregon and has won three conference titles in just three seasons. He led the Ducks to a 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in this year’s Rose Bowl, their first Rose Bowl win in 95 years, and also guided the school to the 2011 BCS championship game where it lost to Auburn.
But Oregon also remains a program under investigation by the NCAA over a US$25,000 payment made in 2010 to Texas-based Willie Lyles for a recruiting package he provided to the school.
Kelly has risen to prominence in the college coaching ranks in a short time. In 2006, Kelly’s high-powered offence at New Hampshire caught the attention of an Oregon program looking for an offensive co-ordinator. He took over the Ducks offence in 2007 and the program enjoyed a period of unprecedented scoring success.
Architect of a high-powered spread offence that highlights speed over power, Kelly has employed a unique no-huddle model to take the Ducks to three consecutive BCS bowl games.
Kelly’s departure would have been the third high-profile defection from the Ducks’ program this off-season. Star running back LaMichael James and starting quarterback Derron Thomas each recently declared for the NFL draft.