Nike's Phil Knight Reportedly Made A Late 'Push' To Keep Coach Chip Kelly At Oregon — And It Worked

phil knight nike

In a modest surprise, coach Chip Kelly is snubbing the NFL and staying at Oregon, according to multiple reports.

This is the second-straight year Kelly flirted with the NFL. He had a tentative agreement to coach the Tampa Bay Bucs last year before backing out.

Kelly hasn’t spoken publicly yet, but there are a few different theories on why he stayed.

One of them has to do with Nike founder Phil Knight, who is a huge Oregon booster. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Knight made a “push” to keep Knight when it looked like Kelly was going to land in Philly after a nine-hour meeting with Eagles brass on Friday night.

From Rapoport:

We don’t know the specifics of this “push” yet. But last year Kelly leveraged his NFL interest into raises for his assistant coaches.

Knight isn’t the only factor. Peter King of SI theorized that there just wasn’t a good fit for Kelly this year:

Until told otherwise, I’ll believe this was about Kelly’s trepidation about the difficulty of building a consistent winner in Cleveland (which is on the verge of hiring its seventh coach in 13 years), or rebuilding one in Philadelphia.

But for now, all we know if Kelly got wined and dined by the NFL, but ultimately went back to where he’s comfortable, thanks to Knight in some way, reportedly.

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