Will Chip Kelly Eventually Win Big At UCLA?

Will Chip Kelly Eventually Win Big At UCLA?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Chip Kelly later this fall will enter his sixth season as UCLA's football coach, and while it may have snuck up on you, the offensive-minded play-caller has now been with the Bruins longer than he was at both Oregon and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

There has been no California sports betting during Kelly's UCLA tenure, but there is reason to think next season could finally deliver for Bruins fans who expected something close to Kelly's overall 46-7 mark at Oregon from 2009-2012. 

Kelly is 27-29 through five seasons at UCLA in his latest go in the Pac-12, but context matters with that admittedly underwhelming record. The combination of inheriting a 5-6 Jim Mora team, installing his offense and the pandemic all in different ways led to records of 3-9, 4-8 and 3-4 in Kelly's first three seasons. 

Safe to say there was cause for alarm for Bruins fans who thought Kelly was the savior the football program long needed. 

Reason To Believe

Thankfully for Kelly, the tide has changed the past two seasons with records of 8-4 and 9-4, giving the coach an opportunity to finally get over .500 early this next season. Kelly will have to figure out life without quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who threw 27 touchdowns last year and ran for 12 more. 

But the slow start to Kelly's tenure has turned to steady improvement, a development that should help him rise among UCLA's all-time leaders on the sidelines. 

Currently, Kelly's .482 winning percentage is only good for 11th all-time in UCLA history (not counting interim coaches). That's a mark that doesn't justify the four-year extension Kelly got in January of 2022. But it's worth noting how quickly Kelly will rise if the Bruins continue to win around nine games a year. 

A nine-win season in 2023 will also see Kelly leapfrog both Bill Barnes and Karl Dorrell in wins at UCLA. 

History of UCLA Coaches

UCLA Coach Overall Record Win Percentage
Terry Donahue 151-74-8 .665
Red Sanders 66-19-1 .773
William Spaulding 56-43-6 .562
Bob Toledo 49-32 .605
Jim Mora 46-30 .605
Tommy Prothro41-18-3 .685
Karl Dorrell 35-27 .565
Bill Barnes 31-34-3 .478
Chip Kelly27-29 .482

Can Kelly Rise Up UCLA Record Books?

Kelly's last two seasons finally have the program headed in the right direction, and getting over .500 will be the next step in his rise up the school's record books. Considering the extension from 2022, it's safe to say Kelly will coach for at least a few more seasons in L.A. barring disaster. 

So where will he end up? Kelly is 14 wins behind Tommy Prothro, and 19 wins behind Jim Mora (his predecessor). Both those marks are in play over the next three seasons, but matching Mora's win total might not be a guarantee. 

Currently at 247sports UCLA has the 37th best recruiting class in the nation, middle of the road for a program with 17 wins the past two seasons. That class is ranked sixth among Pac-12 teams. 

But there's reason to think Kelly has laid the foundation for his vision at UCLA, and consistent winning teams will keep him on the sidelines for years to come. Another factor that will drastically impact his standing in the Bruins' history book? The school's move to the Big Ten in 2024. 

If you enjoyed this comprehensive look at Kelly's' record, keep tuned to BetCalifornia.com, where you also will eventually find California sportsbook promo codes.



Thomas Leary is a news editor and writer for BetCalifornia.com. He previously worked at Sports Business Journal for over 6 years, where he helped identify emerging sectors across sports business, such as legalized gambling, and helped launch the publication’s digital newsletter division.

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