UCLA, Chip Kelly come to decision ahead of buyout deadline
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UCLA, Chip Kelly come to decision ahead of buyout deadline

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Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News

UCLA football coach Chip Kelly has signed a new contract extension, per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman. Kelly was set to enter fifth and final year of his current contract, which earned him $5.6 million in 2021.

The new deal extends the coach four years through 2025. Salary details have yet to be released. The extension was announced just two days before the buyout in Kelly’s current contract was set to drop to zero on Jan. 16.

Kelly had his most successful season with the Bruins yet in 2021, finishing with an 8-4 record. It was his first winning season since taking over in 2018 and the first eight-win season for the program since 2015. UCLA earned a trip to the Holiday Bowl, but pulled out hours before their game against NC State because of COVID-19 problems.

Prior to joining the Bruins, Kelly was the head coach for the Oregon Ducks and NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. He has compiled a 64-32 overall record as a college coach, including 18-25 in his four seasons at UCLA.

“We are extremely appreciative of the entire UCLA administration for their support of our football program,” Kelly said in a press release. “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.”

The Bruins averaged a Pac-12-leading 36.5 points per game this past season, the sixth-best mark in school history. They went undefeated over their final three games of the season, averaging 49.3 points over that span. UCLA also totaled more than 200 rushing yards in each of its eight wins. Running back Zach Carbonnet finished with seven 100-yard rushing games, the most by a Bruin rusher since 2012.

UCLA also had its best defensive season in many years, ranking 23rd nationally and second in the Pac-12 against the run.

“This new contract represents the commitment, stability and investment needed to continue the upward trajectory of our football program,” athletic director Martin Jarmond said. “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.”

UCLA will play its first game since the Chip Kelly contract extension when it opens 2022 on Sept. 3 against Bowling Green.