UCLA Signs Chip Kelly to Four-Year Extension
I promise it's not as bad as it seems.
The resignation of UCLA defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro on Wednesday seemed to point towards another year of Chip Kelly at the helm of UCLA football, and on Friday UCLA made that move official by announcing that Kelly had signed a new four-year extension to keep him through the 2025 season.
Full details of Kelly’s new contract are not known at this time, but Ben Bolch of the LA Times reported in his story that the contract will pay him an average of $4.7 million a year, with the opportunity to earn more in bonuses. This is a small decrease in base salary but with incentives, it could go higher than the $5.6 million he made this past year. There is no reporting on what the new buyout looks like, but I would assume that the new contract would feature a lower buyout that could get UCLA out of the deal after a year if necessary.
UCLA has been trending in this direction for the last few weeks, despite what rumors have floated around. Despite what Jimmy Sexton has floated to the media over the last month, it was clear that Chip Kelly wanted to stick around at UCLA and has seemingly taken a pay cut to continue at the school. That pay cut, along with Azzinaro’s departure, signals that UCA should have more than enough to pay for a high-end defensive coordinator, should they so choose. Credit to Martin Jarmond for not blinking in the face of Sexton’s antics like his predecessor Dan Guerrero did.
Here is UCLA’s press release on the extension:
Head Football Coach Chip Kelly Signs New Four-Year Contract
LOS ANGELES – January 14, 2022 – UCLA has signed head football coach Chip Kelly to a new four-year contract through the 2025 season it was announced today by Martin Jarmond, the Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics. Kelly began as head football coach at UCLA in 2017.
For the 2021 season, the Bruins finished tied for second place in the Pac-12 South for the first time since 2014, reaching the eight-win mark (8-4) for the first time since 2015. In addition, UCLA earned its first bowl appearance since 2017.
"We are extremely appreciative of the entire UCLA administration for their support of our football program. We have a tremendous amount of gratitude for our players and staff. Their tireless work, and commitment to our vision has built a great foundation. We are excited to continue to build this program into something that makes the UCLA fanbase proud,” said Kelly.
In 2021, the Bruins averaged a Pac-12-leading 36.5 points per game for the sixth-highest scoring average in program history. In addition, UCLA went undefeated in the month of November, scoring 40 or more points in each of its three wins, including outscoring opponents 93-16 in the second halves of these games.
“This new contract represents the commitment, stability and investment needed to continue the upward trajectory of our football program. Since joining UCLA, our football team’s winning percentage has increased every year, including increased momentum in recruiting and strategic use of the transfer portal,” said Jarmond.
Defensively, UCLA held five opponents to 20 or fewer points for the first time since 2006. Against the run, UCLA gave up just 124.2 yards per game to rank 23rd nationally and second in the Pac-12. In fact, the Bruins held five opponents to 100 or fewer rushing yards in 2021. In defeating crosstown foe USC by a 62-33 score (Nov. 20), UCLA registered the program’s highest single-game point total in the history of the rivalry.
Additionally, in 2021, UCLA totaled more than 200 rushing yards in each of its eight wins. Individually, Zach Charbonnet’s seven games of 100 rushing yards or more led the Pac-12 and stand as the most by Bruin running back since 2012. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s pass-efficiency rating topped 150.0 for the second time in as many seasons, becoming just the third UCLA signal caller to accomplish that feat. Kyle Philips’ 10 receiving touchdowns led the Pac-12 and represent the most by a Bruin since 2017. The Bruins finished No. 1 nationally in punt-return yardage per game (20.00) and seventh in kickoff-return yardage per game (27.38). Those numbers slotted UCLA first and tied for second in the Pac-12, respectively.