Chip Kelly accepted a head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, setting off an immediate search for his replacement at the University of Oregon.
The Eagles' official website says the team met with Kelly for almost nine hours after the Ducks' Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State earlier this month.
The conversations continued until Kelly decided he wanted to remain at the University of Oregon, the Eagles' website says, but he "continued to evaluate the opportunity to work for the Eagles in the NFL."
Ultimately, an agreement was reached Wednesday.
University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said a phone call at 7:15 a.m. was the first he had heard of Kelly's talks with NFL teams since the initial reports.
"He made a decision that was best for him and we wish him well," Mullens said. "If Chip's heart is in the NFL, then that's where he belongs."
Mullens said he did not feel misled by Kelly's decision.
"At the end of the day, he wanted the challenge. He felt like this was the right opportunity," Mullens said.
Financial terms of Kelly's NFL deal have not been disclosed.
"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team."
Nine days ago, Mullens addressed interest in Kelly from at least three NFL teams. At that time, he told media that Kelly would be coach of the Ducks football team for the 2013 season.
But in a tweet from the Ducks' official Twitter account Wednesday morning, the school announced Kelly would be moving on to the NFL after all.
Tyson Coleman, a Ducks linebacker, tweeted, "Thanks for everything coach Kelly! It's been real!"
"Looks like im an Eagles fan now.. #ThanksChip," tweeted Jared Ebert, a Ducks lineman.
Under Kelly, the Ducks have made four consecutive BCS bowl appearances and won two in a row. His record as head coach of the Ducks was 46-7.
Mullens said the "expectations for this program have shifted" thanks to Kelly's success, but he's moving full speed ahead in finding a replacement.
"Continuity will matter, style of play will matter, past success will matter, all those things will weigh in," Mullens said.
Mullens said there would be no timeline in the search.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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