Every coach hired in the 2017-18 cycle will talk about his plan to winning championships. Many of them will eventually do it. But very few have already done it and, none at the level and frequency of Chip Kelly.
Hard as it may be to believe considering the enormous shadow he cast over the entire sport, Kelly was only Oregon’s coach for four seasons. And in those four seasons he racked up a 46-7 record with three AP top-5 finishes, three Pac-12 championships, one BCS National Championship appearances and at least a share of four Pac-12 North championships. He even won an NFC East championship before his NFL career went down in flames.
At his introductory press conference on Monday, the new UCLA head coach — it’s going to take a while to get used to that — wasn’t ready to talk scheme. “Those guys have all graduated,” he said when asked if he’d bring his Oregon offense to Westwood. But Kelly was happy to talk philosophy, and he shared the three things he believes football is about.
“I believe football is about three things: it’s about relationships, friendships and championships,” Kelly said. “You have good relationships by being honest and open in your communication, you have to be confident in what you can do, because education is about the transportation of knowledge. Through that relationship, trust is built, and high-trusting teams are the teams that win. When your team trusts each other and they go out there and lay it on the line for each other because they know everybody to the right and to the left of them gets what it’s all about, and I have great faith in that personally.
“That’s my job, to turn this team into a trusting team that understands what it’s all about, and through that trust and relationships it grows into friendships and life-long friendships. Those players are the ones that are going to find their best friends in that locker room and people that are going to be there for them for the rest of their lives.
“And then hopefully through that process of relationships and trust that leads to championships. That’s what this place is all about. When you combine the No. 1 public academic school in the country with 113 national championships there’s broad, great excellence at UCLA.”
UCLA wins conference and national championships in every sport but football. But that could change very soon.