Former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich revealed in an interview with ESPN that he had asked Chip Kelly to return to Oregon as head coach.
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich was fired on Tuesday after leading the Ducks to a 4-8 season, only two years removed from a national championship berth. Today, in an interview with ESPN, Helfrich revealed an interesting tidbit about how weeks before he was fired, he spoke to Chip Kelly to measure his interest in returning to coach Oregon if in fact he was fired.
Helfrich told ESPN, per The Register-Guard:
"I think Chip has that challenge in his mind right now to make it right in the NFL. I had some of those conversations with him a few weeks ago when it looked like this was going south," Helfrich said. "That was a very awkward conversation, but just let him know, take our personal relationship out of it in every way, shape or form, if he wanted to consider this.
Kelly went 46-7 during his stint as Oregon head coach from 2009-2012. He's currently 1-10 in his first season with the 49ers, after previously being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles.
"There were all those rumors out there and all the stuff. At that point, you're kind of thinking of every possible scenario," Helfrich said on why he spoke with Kelly about the Oregon job. "Obviously, he had been contacted a couple times or something. It was just probably more selfishly than anything of when you start thinking of your assistants and all the support staff and all those people. If he were to come back here, some of those people would be saved, quote, unquote."
The Ducks' 4-8 season was their first losing season in 12 years, and their worst overall record since 1991.