Showing they believe Chip Kelly is the right coach to lead UCLA into the Big Ten era, school officials on Friday gave Kelly a two-year contract extension and accompanying small raise that runs through the 2027 season.
According to the contract reviewed by The Times, Kelly will make $6.1 million during the 2023 and 2024 seasons — a $300,000 raise over the previous amounts that included $1-million retention bonuses — before getting a bump to $6.2 million per season in 2025, 2026 and 2027. His contract was restructured to add money to his annual salary while removing retention bonuses.
The new contract rewards Kelly for compiling a 17-8 record over the last two seasons while retaining a reasonable buyout should the Bruins struggle in making the transition to the Big Ten in August 2024.
Kelly’s buyout calls for him to receive $8.5 million if he’s dismissed before December 2023 and $4.27 million if he is terminated before December 2024. That amount drops to zero in December 2025.
Kelly, who turns 60 in December, would owe the school $3 million if he left before the end of this season and $1.5 million if he departed before the end of the 2025 season.
Athletic director Martin Jarmond cited the team’s improved record in each of its five seasons under Kelly in making the long-term commitment. The Bruins went 9-4 last season, finishing tied for fifth in the Pac-12 Conference before losing to Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl. They were ranked No. 21 in the final Associated Press poll.
“I am excited about our football program under the leadership of coach Kelly and his talented staff,” Jarmond said in a statement. “The football program is on an upward trajectory, both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Kelly and his staff have done a tremendous job developing young men as demonstrated by their academic excellence.”
Kelly’s offenses have consistently been elite, but the Bruins’ defenses have struggled, the biggest reason the team has gone 27-29 since his arrival. UCLA will have its third defensive coordinator in as many seasons in 2023 after hiring D’Anton Lynn to replace Bill McGovern, who is moving into an administrative role after unspecified health issues caused him to miss five games last season.
Hopes are high for a breakthrough next season with freshman Dante Moore, the most highly ranked quarterback prospect in school history, likely to lead another dynamic offense that will include transfer running back Carson Steele and high-end receivers J. Michael Sturdivant and Kyle Ford. The defense will be led by returning edge rusher Laiatu Latu, transfer linebacker Oluwafemi Oladejo and safety Jordan Anderson.
Kelly’s new contract includes enhancement bonuses, including $1 million for a College Football Playoff championship (up from $200,000), $800,000 for a CFP title-game appearance (up from $150,000) and $600,000 for a CFP semifinal appearance (up from $100,000). Kelly would make $400,000 for a New Year’s Six Bowl victory (up from $100,000) and $200,000 for a New Year’s Six Bowl appearance (up from $100,000).
Kelly’s win bonuses have doubled, giving the coach $50,000 if the Bruins reach nine victories and another $50,000 for 10 victories plus an additional $100,000 for 11 and 12 victories.