It's official. Chip Kelly is the next coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. For all our celebration earlier this month when it seemed like Chip Kelly was staying, it sucks a lot to be absolutely blindsided by this information.
Kelly leaves as the most successful coach in Oregon history. He helped Oregon to it's first Rose Bowl victory in 95 years, won 3 conference titles, and amassed a record of 46-7.
My first reaction is that from a coaching perspective, I'm not overly concerned initially. Losing Chip will be very tough, but at this point Oregon football is bigger than any single coach (just maybe not bigger than any single donor). The assumed next head coach, Mark Helfrich, has the blessing of the Oregon administration, and that's good enough for me. But what's most important is Oregon's continuity in the assistants. They do the bulk of coaching and recruiting, and that is one of Oregon's biggest strengths. Coaches like Gary Campbell, John Neal, Don Pellum, Steve Greatwood, and others have been just as big a reason for Oregon's recent success as Chip Kelly. Chip helped change the culture at Oregon, but those coaches helped implement that plan. What happens with the coaching staff will be the most important question in the coming days.
Unfortunately, the future of Oregon football will be in doubt until we can see just what happens after Chip is gone. We've seen David Shaw (DAVID SHAW!) continue success at Stanford, and Helfrich will almost assuredly do the same, at least for the next couple years. But the new staff will face a huge test early trying to hold together the 2013 recruiting class.
One final note, it will be very interesting to see just how all this went down. Chip Kelly has done a lot for the UO, and it would be terrible if our final memory of him was leaving suddenly with no warnings to the coaches and players. I hope that isn't the case.
We'll have the latest breaking news all day. Go Ducks.