Chip Kelly starts building coaching staff with familiar faces

Philadelphia Eagles defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro is seen during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Chip Kelly is relying on some former assistants to fill out his coaching staff at UCLA.

Kelly is expected to hire Cal defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro for UCLA’s defensive coordinator spot and add former Oregon assistant Don Pellum to the staff in some capacity, according to sources.

Both coached with Kelly at Oregon, with Azzinaro following Kelly through both of his stops in the NFL.

More on how Kelly is building his coaching staff.

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UCLA lands Chip Kelly

UCLA did it.

The Bruins secured their No. 1 pick for their head coaching position, announcing a five-year, $23.3 million deal with Chip Kelly on Saturday morning. The contract has a $9 reciprocal buyout.

“I am thrilled to welcome Chip Kelly to Westwood,” Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “His success speaks for itself, but more than that, I firmly believe that his passion for the game and his innovative approach to coaching student-athletes make him the perfect fit for our program. ‘Champions Made Here’ is more than just a mantra at UCLA, and I’m confident that Chip will lead UCLA Football back to competing for championships.”

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Chip Kelly to decide between UCLA, Florida, according to reports

UCLA is one of the final two candidates vying for Chip Kelly‘s coaching services as ESPN reported the former Oregon coach is expected to decide between UCLA and Florida this week.

UCLA met with Kelly on Tuesday, two days after firing Jim Mora on the same day Florida officials met with Kelly.

Kelly is most known for his innovative, high-powered spread offense that lifted Oregon to a 46-7 record. He brought the program to the cusp of its first national championship in the 2010 season when the Ducks lost to Cam Newton’s Auburn team in the BCS national championship game 22-19. Since leaving Oregon, he was fired from two NFL teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, before spending the past year as an ESPN analyst.

In 2013, after he had already left Oregon for the NFL, Kelly was given an 18-month show-cause penalty for “failure to monitor” in the NCAA’s investigation of the Will Lyles case in which Oregon paid $25,000 to the 7-on-7 coach to steer recruits to Oregon.

The show-cause order expired in 2014, however, so schools will not face any restriction in hiring the 53-year-old coach now.

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Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading “Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State” »

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