And that is to say the least.
Since taking over as head football coach for the Oregon Ducks, Chip Kelly has taken the Ducks to three straight BCS Bowl games (two Rose bowl appearances and one BCS National Championship), most recently resulting in Oregon’s first Rose Bowl victory since 1917. And while this is an accomplishment that Oregon has not achieved in almost 100 years, Oregon fans know that this season could be the greatest in school history.
With an excess of talent at just every position, the Ducks have cruised to a 7-0 record while blowing every team out of the water. Though the individual efforts of every player and the team surely factor into Oregon’s success, much of the reason that Oregon has been so successful and consistent in these past few season is Chip Kelly, which is why I believe that he should be the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
Now don’t get me wrong, Mike Riley has been doing amazing things at Oregon State. He has taken a program that struggled to find an identity in 2011 to being one of the top programs in college football in 2012. If there were two coaches that deserve to share the Pac-12 Coach of the Year title it would be Kelly and Riley.
Unfortunately for Riley, the award can only be given to one coach, and I believe the recipient of this prestigious award should be Chip Kelly.
Here are the reasons why.
Consistency Amid Change
Heading into the 2012 college football season, the Oregon Ducks football program was undergoing quite a bit of change. Though they were returning key starters such as Dion Jordan, De’Anthony Thomas, and Josh Huff, Oregon was in need to replace both starting quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James.
Yet, despite the talent levels of both of these players and how integral they were to the Oregon football system, Chip Kelly has made the team even better with a redshirt freshman quarterback and LaMichael James’ backup.
To continue and even further the success of your football program despite losing two key players speaks wonders to Kelly’s abilities as a college football head coach.
Injury Issues? No Problem
Two key players that were going to be integral for the Ducks in the 2012 football season figured to be Carson York and John Boyett. Each a senior leader, these players were given the unfortunate news that they would not be able to compete in 2012 as both had to undergo season-ending injuries.
And the Ducks still have success, especially at these two positions where Boyett and York would have normally played.
While as much credit can be taken by the specific position coaches, a lot of the credit also needs to go to Chip Kelly, who helped to put players in place to succeed right out of the gates.
No matter how the injury adversity affected Chip Kelly, he was more than prepared and ready to take on the challenge.
A College Football Powerhouse
Unfortunately for Kelly, much of the time the media only recognizes coaches who take a program from the dumps or mediocrity to success as viable options for a coach of the year award.
However, I argue, coaches who maintain a consistency amid change and over the years are far better and deserve to be recognized more than a coach that can take a program from bad/mediocrity to success.
The way that Kelly has maintained success over his time at Oregon is astonishing. He has created a belief in a program that used to have a decent season every now and then. Now, however, Duck fans would be disappointed if they won less than ten games in a season.
Though a lot of college football coaches preach only looking ahead to the next game, Chip Kelly has created a culture of it at the University of Oregon.
With the biggest games still to come for the Ducks, Oregon players, coaches, and fans have remained focused on every opponent they play. Though it could be easy to ignore a dismal Colorado Buffaloes team and look ahead to USC, Kelly will have none of that as he believes each and every team deserves the same respect as any other.
The way Kelly has delivered his message to the Oregon football team and maintained it throughout the years should make him recognized as one of the best coaches in the Pac-12.
He’s Chip Kelly
I know that may sound kind of obvious, but it really is almost as simple as that. Though me may rough and tumble with the media every so often, Kelly is essentially the definition of what a college football coach should be. Not only is he a coach to numerous young and talented athletes, he is a mentor to all his players and his community.
And, in 2012, he deserves to be recognized as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.