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UCLA head coach Chip Kelly handed brand new contract after 8-4 season

UCLA, Chip Kelly

In what ended up being his first winning season since taking over as head coach of the UCLA football team, Chip Kelly has earned a contract extension. Initially set to see his contract expire at the end of the 2022 season and with no buyout remaining on his deal, Kelly risked entering the season in “lame duck” status, and that is never good for recruiting. So, as UCLA searches for their first back-to-back winning seasons in a decade, it will be Kelly that is at the helm, for better or for worse.

In his four years at UCLA, Kelly is just 18-25, but he had his best season in 2021, perhaps at the perfect timing for himself and his contract. With the head football coaching position at the University of Oregon opening up late in 2021, it was Kelly who was first rumored to be a candidate for the job.

The talks never went anywhere and Oregon ended up signing University of Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning to replace Mario Cristobal, who left for the University of Miami. The flirtation with Oregon probably helped Kelly’s case for a new contract but the main factor in him being extended has already been discussed: he could not enter 2022 in such a bad state because it would be terrible for recruiting.

With Lincoln Riley now in town at USC, Kelly will need all the help he can get when it comes to recruiting, and having four years on his deal will certainly not hurt at all. Kelly is also getting back a lot of his offensive firepower from the 2021 team that just beat USC, as starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet announced earlier in the week that they would be returning to school for the 2022 season instead of declaring for the NFL draft.