Showing their belief that 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 will run through the 2027 season.
Under the contract reviewed by The Times, Kelly will earn $6.1 million during the 2023 and 2024 seasons — a $300,000 increase over the prior amounts, including $1 million retention bonuses — before he retires in 2025, 2026 and 2026 will see an increase to $6.2 million per season. 2027. His contract was restructured to add money to his annual salary while eliminating retention bonuses.
The new contract rewards Kelly for compiling a 17-8 record over the past two seasons while maintaining a reasonable buyout as the Bruins struggle to make the transition to the Big Ten in August 2024.
Kelly’s buyout requires him to receive $8.5 million if fired before December 2023 and $4.27 million if 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 leaves before the end of this season and $1.5 million if he leaves before the end of the 2025 season.
Athletic director Martin Jarmond cited the team’s improved record in each of the five seasons under Kelly in making the long-term commitment. The Bruins went 9-4 last season and finished tied for fifth place in the Pac-12 Conference before losing to Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl. They were ranked No. 21 in the latest Associated Press poll.
“I am excited about our football program led by Coach Kelly and his talented staff,” Jarmond said in a statement. “The football program is on the rise, both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Kelly and his staff have done an amazing job developing young men as evidenced by their academic excellence.”
Kelly’s offenses have always been elite, but the Bruins’ defense struggled, the biggest reason the team has gone 27-29 since his arrival. UCLA will receive its third defensive coordinator in as many seasons in 2023 after hiring D’Anton Lynn to replace Bill McGovern, who takes on an administrative role after unspecified health issues forced him to miss five games last season.
Hopes are high for a breakthrough next season with freshman Dante Moore, the highest-ranked quarterback prospect in school history, likely to lead another dynamic offense that includes 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 ($200,000), $800,000 for a CFP title game appearance (was $150,000), and $600,000 for a CFP semifinal appearance (was $100,000). Kelly would earn $400,000 for a New Year’s Six Bowl win (was $100,000) and $200,000 for a New Year’s Six Bowl appearance (was $100,000).
Kelly’s win bonuses have been doubled, giving the coach $50,000 if the Bruins get nine wins and another $50,000 for 10 wins plus another $100,000 for 11 and 12 wins.