Fans: Kelly-NFL story 'like having 3 heart attacks in one day'

Fans: Kelly-NFL story 'like having 3 heart attacks in one day' »Play Video
Oregon head coach Chip Kelly watches during NCAA college football practice in Carson, Calif., Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Oregon is scheduled to face Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

EUGENE, Ore. - Hopefully the blood pressure levels of Duck fans are back to normal after the NFL's courtship of head coach Chip Kelly.

"It was like having 3 heart attacks in one day, it felt like," said student Richard Copeland.

The University of Oregon campus breathed a sigh of relief Monday: Coach Kelly - for now - is staying put.

"I'm really excited that he chose to stay because I think he's an amazing football coach, said Tammy Nezol, a member of the math faculty.

"Everybody loves Chip, you know, so to see him go would be disappointing, and I think our program would suffer," student Dillon Pilorget said.

How close was Kelly to jumping to the NFL? The Register-Guard reportedly had to stop the presses and change the front page, according to a photo sent out via Twitter by a member of the Guard staff that was republished on

Sports marketing observers said this level of fan frenzy is no surprise.

"It's almost a reflection of just how much this team now means to the community at large, the buzz," said Paul Swangard from the UO Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

Swangard said this decision is really good in two respects: one, for program stability; and two, keeping football recruits in the nest.

"If I'm going to make a move to the next level, it's got to be for the right situation, and for whatever reason, the situation doesn't appear to be the right one," Swangard said.

Some students echoed Kelly's reference Monday to "unfinished business at Oregon" - like a BCS National Championship.

"Then he can go to the NFL," said Vimal Balu, "but stay for now, coach Kelly. I'm glad that you're staying."

So is Copeland, but he understands Kelly's interest in the NFL.

"While I'm happy he stayed," he said, "I can't blame him for trying to go out and be successful at the highest level of sports."