Fans of the Oregon Ducks football team breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when head coach Chip Kelly decided to keep his job. One little fan decided he should share his thoughts directly with the coach and it got some help from a high profile Oregonian.
When asked how long he's liked the Ducks, Davis Simmons said, "Like for a year, like forever."
A year may seem like forever when you're only 5 years old, and Simmons has not been quiet about his love for the Ducks in the halls of his preschool.
"Most of his drawings since the time he was about 3 were Duck related," said Audree Waterhouse, his teacher. "And his favorite colors are green and yellow and black."
With that display of passion, it's easy to imagine his reaction when Kelly announced he was staying at the University of Oregon instead of leaving to be a head coach in the NFL.
"That morning, he came in saying ‘Did you hear, did you hear Chip Kelly is staying?'" Waterhouse said.
"I really like him because he coaches good," Simmons said.
"So, I said how about we write down some words to Chip and see if we can write a letter to him," Waterhouse said.
Waterhouse wrote the words, but the thoughts were all Simmons.
"This is totally coming from his heart - just genuine and pure," Waterhouse said.
A response to such a letter may seem unlikely, but not when your preschool sits on the Nike campus and your teachers can get you a meeting with co-founder Phil Knight - a meeting captured by cell phone video.
"Dear Chip, we are glad you're staying at the University of Oregon," read Knight from the Simmons' letter during a meeting between him and the boy last week.
The video shows Knight reading the entire letter aloud from compliments like, "We are glad you are pretty happy. We love you," to the burning questions of the 5-year-old mind like, "Have you tried vanilla milk? It's really yummy and takes like milkshake."
You might think a little boy would be intimidated by the leader of a corporate giant, but that was not the case. Simmons could be heard correcting Knight when he mispronounced the name of his elf-on-the-shelf toy that was mentioned in the letter (The elf also apparently likes the Ducks.).
Knight took the correction in stride and even promised Simmons that he would deliver the letter to coach Kelly.
"It was amazing," said Waterhouse about the meeting. "It went from this innocent, writing down of some words and his feelings to getting to where it needs to go."
Simmons is still waiting to hear back from Kelly, but he said he knows the coach is busy recruiting and he's trying to remain patient.
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