Pewter Report can confirm that the Buccaneers have a high level of interest in Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. The Bucs have already interviewed Kelly and are currently in discussions with him regarding Tampa Bay's head coaching vacancy, which would make him the ninth head coach in franchise history.
“Kelly is in the process of finalizing a deal that would make him the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Michael Berk of KGW Sports reported. “A source close to the situation said Kelly will make the jump to the NFL if he can come to terms on a contract.”
Kelly was recently endorsed by former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, who recently told PFT Live that “Chip knows how to motivate people and he thinks outside the box.” Dungy’s son Eric currently plays for Kelly at Oregon.
Kelly was named Oregon’s 30th head football coach in March of 2009. In three seasons with the Ducks, Kelly has compiled a 34-6 regular season record and has gone 1-2 in bowl games.
In his first season as the leader of the Ducks, Kelly became the first coach in Pac-10 history to win a conference title in his first year and led Oregon to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995. The Ducks also ranked eighth in the nation in scoring and sixth in rushing in 2009.
Kelly, 48, topped off his impressive rookie head coaching season with an unbeaten regular season in 2010 and a trip to the BCS National Championship Game. Kelly received near-unanimous coach-of-the-year honors and also won five other coach-of-the-year awards, which include the AFCA, AP, Eddie Robinson, Sporting News and Walter Camp awards.
In 2010, Kelly’s offense led the country in scoring and total offense, averaging 45 points per game and 530.7 offensive yards per game. The Oregon defense also performed at a high level under Kelly’s watch in 2010, ranking seventh in pass defense and 12th in scoring defense.
Kelly has the reputation for being one of the top offensive minds in college football, and his teams surpassed the school’s single-season records in rushing, scoring, and total offense during three of his four seasons at Oregon.
Under Kelly’s direction, running back LaMichael James became Oregon’s first Doak Walker Award winner in 2010 and led all FBS players with 1,731 rushing yards. Eight other Ducks have also earned all-conference accolades, including James, who was named the Pac-10’s offensive player of the year in 2009. Kelly’s offensive schemes have also played a role in showcasing Heisman Trophy candidates quarterback Dennis Dixon and running back LaMichael James.
Kelly arrived at Oregon as offensive coordinator in 2007, after spending eight years as New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator, and his Ducks have averaged 41.5 points per game and 471.3 yards of total offense during his tenure. During his time with New Hampshire, Kelly’s offenses have averaged better than 400 yards of total offense and more than 30 points per game in his final four years. Under his direction with the Wildcats, three players also received first-team All-American awards.
Kelly’s best offensive output with the Wildcats was in 2005, when New Hampshire finished second in total offense averaging 493.5 yards per game. The Wildcats also ranked third in scoring and fifth in passing which breaking 29 offensive school records and compiling a total of 5,446 yards of total offense. This led to Kelly being named the College Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and also being selected as one of college football’s hottest coaches by American Football Monthly.