Former UCLA Bruins HC Chip Kelly Receiving Wild Salary As Ohio State OC

Credit: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Former UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly abruptly left the program this offseason, leaving the team without a head coach and facing difficult questions about the future of the program. Kelly’s decision to step down as a Power 5 head coach makes even more sense after seeing his new salary.

The Ohio State Buckeyes had previously hired Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator, but he bolted days after accepting the job to become the head coach at Boston College. Shortly after, Kelly was hired as the new Buckeyes offensive coordinator.

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Transitioning from UCLA’s head coach to becoming Ohio State’s offensive coordinator was going to result in a massive pay cut for Kelly. However, for a coach who essentially stopped recruiting for the Bruins and seemed to take little interest in the transfer portal, it was worth it. However, he’s still being heavily compensated at his new job.

According to The Athletic, Kelly is being paid a $2 million salary to serve as the Ohio State offensive coordinator in 2024. He is one of the highest-paid play callers in college football, with a deal that will climb even higher over time.

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  • Chip Kelly salary (Ohio State): $2 million

Contract details for Chip Kelly, Deshaun Foster at Ohio State and UCLA

The Buckeyes are reportedly shelling out $2 million to Kelly in 2024, $2.1 million in 2025 and $2.2 million for the 2026 season. The contract expires on Jan. 31, 2027. Remarkably, Kelly isn’t even the highest-paid assistant on the Ryan Day coaching staff as defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has a $2.2 million salary, receiving a raise in 2024 to give him a higher salary than Kelly.

As for new Bruins head coach Deshaun Foster, UCLA is paying him a $3 million base salary for the 2024 season. In his five-year contract, there are $100,000 pay raises each season and he can also earn additional money with contract incentives for team performance.

  • Deshaun Foster salary: $3 million

Ultimately, this seems to be an outcome that benefits both sides. Kelly’s disinterest in recruiting would’ve only dragged the Bruins’ football program further down and Ohio State gives him the chance to focus entirely on calling plays. Meanwhile, Foster gets his first chance to be a head coach and he should help provide a brighter future for UCLA football.