TAMPA, Fla. – As of late Sunday night, it appeared Chip Kelly may have coached his final football game at the University of Oregon and was headed for the warm Florida sunshine to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But on Monday morning, the sought-after coach said he will be staying in Eugene.
“I am flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization," Kelly said in a press release issued by the University of Oregon Monday morning. "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.”
Sunday night, The Tampa Bay Times reported Kelly was close to a deal to become the next head coach of the Buccaneers.
But an online edition of the Times on Monday morning said the coach had reversed himself. "His heart is with college football and Oregon and he's no longer being considered,'' Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said Monday morning, according to the paper.
The two sides were reportedly hopeful a deal could be reached in the next day or so.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers asked for permission to engage in conversation with Coach Kelly, which was granted,” Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said in the press release. “The University of Oregon is one of the nation's preeminent college football programs and, as such, it comes as no surprise the NFL is interested in our personnel. "
"We are pleased with Coach Kelly’s decision to remain as our head coach," Mullens added. "Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country.”
The school said Kelly was not available for interviews because he was on the road recruiting.
Kelly is 34-6 and has won Pac-10/12 conference titles in each of his 3 years with Oregon. He guided the Ducks to a Rose Bowl victory - their first in 95 years - just weeks ago.
He has no NFL experience but has said in the past that he would like to coach at the highest level, according to a John Canzano blog entry at the Oregonian.