How Dan Mullen helped Chip Kelly land the Oregon job
So according to Phil Knight, it all started with Dan Mullen.
Yes, Mullen is the guy that helped Oregon identify Chip Kelly. Here’s Knight’s explanation on how Kelly ended up the Ducks’ head coach.
“Mike Bellotti figured that out. And it's a little bit of a long story. But Bellotti lost to Utah (in 2005). (Then-Utah head coach) Urban Meyer was running the spread (offense) -- one of the early adopters of the spread. In fact, some people credit him with being the inventor. Bellotti, when he saw that system, said, "We could use some of that. Literally, maybe within a year or two later, he decided to put in a spread. ... He sent (offensive coordinator Gary Crowton) down to work with Urban Meyer. So he went down there and the offensive coordinator for Florida was Dan Mullen, who's now the head coach of Mississippi State -- I told you this was a long story. Anyway, (Mullen's) from New Hampshire. And he says, 'The guy who really knows this stuff is Chip Kelly up at the University of New Hampshire.' So Crowton, when he came back he had some rough edges to the spread and he started calling Chip Kelly on Sundays saying, "This came up and I didn't quite know what to do with it." And Chip always had an answer. So, when LSU came and picked up Crowton, Bellotti knew he'd been talking to Chip Kelly, so he went to get Chip Kelly.”
By the way, apparently Knight has a headset in his suite at Autzen Stadium that allows him to listen to Chip Kelly’s play-calling.
Knight said, “If it was true I couldn't say, huh?”
Q: Why, is it illegal?
A: “No. I just wouldn't want to talk about it ... if it was true.”