Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles head coach
Kelly started coaching collegiately in 1990 at Columbia, but the relevant part of his history starts in 2007. That's when Oregon Mike Bellotti hired Kelly to be the Ducks' offensive coordinator, and Kelly took off running, coaching that unit to the seventh-ranked total offensive output in the country. When Bellotti resigned after the year, Kelly took over as head coach, and all he did was win. From 2009 to 2012, Kelly's worst Oregon team finished the year ranked No. 11. He won a Rose Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl and brought Oregon to within three points of a BCS title.
When Kelly jumped from Eugene to Philadelphia in 2013, he kept right on having pretty good results. The Eagles went 10-6 in his first year, then they went 10-6 in his second year. They're off to a 2-3 start this year, and because that comes on the heels of Kelly winning an offseason organizational power struggle and flipping over the team's roster, it's been enough to start speculation he might be fired and go back to college.
It's not clear that anyone can coach a college offense better than Kelly. With Kelly as Oregon's offensive coordinator and then head coach, the Ducks had a top-15 offense by S&P+ every single year, falling outside the top 10 just twice. In Philadelphia, he's kept on finding innovative ways to run the closest thing to a true spread offense the NFL has.
Kelly was also at Oregon in the still-ongoing midst of the Ducks' evolution as Nike's flagship school. He knows how to interact with a major apparel company that's aligned itself closely with a team, and he presumably knows how to use that connection to pitch recruits on the synergistic benefits that come with such an association. Given Maryland's connection with Under Armour – which both parties are hoping is analogous to Oregon and Nike – this is a potential fit.
It's hard to say how true these rumors are, but it's been rampantly speculated for years that Kelly just didn't like coaching in college. He's a neurotic mad scientist of a football coach, and maybe he doesn't love spending long hours wooing high school players and program boosters. Ex-players have publicly accused him of racism without putting forth real proof, which has been painfully awkward.
Kelly would also cost a dump truck of money: He's making $6.5 million per year with the Eagles, meaning Maryland would have to budget at least $9 million next year to pay what's owed to Randy Edsall plus Kelly – and that's without any raise.
In one sentence
Kelly is mysterious and expensive, but his teams play a beautiful brand of offense and win tons of college football games.