Congratulations to Chip Kelly, formally introduced Monday as UCLA’s new coach, for making one of the smartest decisions of his life.
Kelly chose NOT to become a coach in the Southeastern Conference.
It may have been the most prescient, Pac-related move since Stanford’s John Elway refused to become a Baltimore Colt.
Not going to the SEC may cost Kelly a coveted national championship ring but, trust me, he wanted no part of a conference in which decisions are directed by mob rule or based on cryptic messages scrawled, with spray paint, on bed sheets.
Pac 12 fans sit in trees, they don’t poison them.
The SEC has more deep threats and death threats.
What happened at Tennessee over the weekend should make Kelly sleep very well, on a Gucci mattress purchased by his personal assistant on Rodeo Drive.
It has gotten so bat-crap crazy in Knoxville some are suggesting Lane Kiffin be brought back to provide stability—seriously.
Kelly’s agent could have picked up a phone and probably gotten any open, SEC job he wanted: Mississippi, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Florida.
We know, for sure, Florida squeezed him like an orange into a glass.
My guess is that Kelly would have had the Gators back in a national title game within three seasons.
That’s how long it took Northerner Urban Meyer, born in Toledo, from winning his first of two Florida national titles in 2006.
In the end, however, the Gainesville experience nearly killed Meyer. He lost lining in his stomach and had to take a leave of absence. He finally had to get out. Jim McElwain, Florida’s last coach, may have trumped up threats to his family just to extricate himself from the fan base.
Remember, the SEC’s motto is: We’re Just Mean More.
Nick Saban made the leap, from Michigan State to Louisiana State, in 1999. He reportedly sat alone in his hotel room, after the decision, despondent. He almost picked up the phone and went back to East Lansing.
Saban has since won five national titles, at two SEC schools. He’s arguably become, since 2003, college football’s all-time greatest coach.
Yet, you can still see bewilderment in his eyes as he battles the “Rat Poison” that consumes 365 days of his SEC football life.
Kelly, a short-tempered introvert from New Hampshire, chose wisely, if only for sanity’s sake.
“That was extremely important to me,” Kelly said at Monday’s introductory press conference at UCLA. “Where would I fit the best?”
Instead of signing up for a clown show, Kelly took less money to come to UCLA-a basketball school that plays football in an off-campus stadium.
Last year, the school wanted to make a little cash by charging students bus fare for the football trip from Westwood to Pasadena.
Coach Jim Mora had to step in and offer to pay the tab before the school backed off. There are questions as to how much Gene Block, UCLA’s chancellor, even likes sports. This is MUCH better than having a university president who wants to call the plays.
The Pac 12, really, has one SEC-like school: USC. The Trojans would fit well in the SEC East or West. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.