EUGENE – Chip Kelly, who has engineered prolific offensive attacks at the University of New Hampshire for the past eight seasons, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Oregon, according to the Ducks’ head football coach Mike Bellotti.
Kelly replaces Gary Crowton, who resigned last month to assume the offensive coordinator role at Louisiana State.
The 43-year-old Kelly has served as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 1999, where his offenses have averaged better than 400 yards of total offense seven of the last eight years and more than 30 points a game each of the past four seasons. As a result, New Hampshire has had three players receive first-team All-America acclaim each of the last two years.
He was named the College Assistant Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston following the 2005 season in addition to selected as “one of college football’s hottest coaches” by American Football Monthly.
“First of all, this is exciting because of everything I’ve heard about the football program at the University of Oregon,” Kelly said. “It’s just a dynamic place. Secondly, the opportunity to coach in the Pac-10, which I believe to be one of the top conferences in the country.
“My philosophy has been to coach an attacking style of football and stretch the defenses in as many different ways as you can. You have to get the ball into the hands of your playmakers and let them operate in order to be successful.”
The Manchester, N.H., native and 14-year New Hampshire coaching veteran was elevated to offensive coordinator following two years at the Wildcats’ offensive line coach (1997-98) and three seasons coaching the school’s running backs (1994-96).
He returned to his alma mater following a one-year stint as defensive coordinator at John Hopkins University (1993).
The school’s quarterback, Ricky Santos, was the recipient of the Walter Payton Award (awarded annually to the best offensive player in Division I-AA) a year ago after finishing second in the balloting in 2005. He finished his junior year fourth in the country in passing (3,125 yards) and threw for 29 touchdowns, and heads into his senior season passing for 10,240 career yards and 99 touchdowns.
“Chip Kelly was one of the coaches I had on my short list when the opening developed,” Bellotti said. I didn’t know him but he and Gary Crowton engaged in conversations throughout last year regarding aspects of the spread offense. From that standpoint, I believed that his philosophy was very similar to ours at Oregon.”
Kelly’s best offensive output was in 2005 when the Wildcats finished second nationally in total offense (493.5 avg.), third in scoring (41.7 avg.) and fifth in passing (300.1 avg.), while completing the season with an 11-2 record. In 2004, the school broke 29 offensive school records, compiling 5,446 yards of total offense and scoring 40 or more points in seven games.
The 1990 New Hampshire graduate earned a B.S. degree in physical education.
Kelly’s (11/25/63) appointment is effective Monday (Feb. 12) at an annual base salary of $150,000, plus $50,000 in supplemental income, with his contract to run through June 30, 2009.
Kelly broke into the coaching ranks in 1990 at Columbia University, where he served as freshman secondary and special teams coach. He assumed responsibility for the Lions’ varsity outside linebackers and strong safeties the following year before returning to New Hampshire as running backs coach in 1992.
Last season New Hampshire finished the year with a 9-4 record and ranked sixth in the country after advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA I-AA playoffs, losing to eventual national runner-up Massachusetts, 24-17. Kelly guided his contingent to second in the country (NCAA I-AA) in scoring offense (35.3 avg.) and seventh in total offense (400.6 avg.), while accumulating more than 40 points on five occasions.