January 16, 2013
Chip Kelly is teaching everyone in his path to WIN THE DAY...
For those of you who don't know Chip Kelly, he is basically a rock star in the state of Oregon and it was just announced that he will be assuming the role of head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. In a relatively short period of time, he has become a household name countrywide. So who is this guy? He is currently the head football coach at the University of Oregon. Why do I know this? Because you should also know that if you marry an Oregon Duck...you automatically become, what I like to call "A Duck by Marriage." With that comes the ownership of, what my husband refers to as, "gear." Gear is the collection of shirts, hats, and coats that represent the pride of one's overwhelming support of a group of people. Ladies, it is similar to our collection of shoes and handbags. Although, somehow my husband has not yet jumped on board with my continued love for "Louis Vuitton gear." But I digress...
Chip Kelly has propelled the University of Oregon to the forefront of national colleges. He didn't do it alone, though. His predecessor, Mike Bellotti, along with this little company you may have heard of called Nike, developed a program that handed Chip Kelly the opportunity to step into the public eye with the wind at his back, so so speak.
Little is known about Chip Kelly from his friends and family because he's a private guy and his close network respects that about him. Here's what I did discover. He grew up in New Hampshire as a three sport high school student, went onto college at the University of New Hampshire, where he later returned to coach their football program. Happily focusing on his craft as a coach while influencing and demonstrating to his players the importance of hard work, dedication, and holding those around him accountable for their actions, Chip Kelly was sought out by a guy who knew another guy who knew another guy who told Mike Bellotti that he should check out Chip Kelly's philosophy surrounding the theory of "spread offense." Stay with me, ladies, because I have no plans to discuss the unique nuance of college football techniques. I am just trying to set the stage for my ultimate point. Okay, so Bellotti discovered what Kelly confidently but quietly knew to be true about his ability to motivate, and he nabbed him as his offensive coordinator. Fast forward to the departure of Bellotti and wham bam...Chip Kelly is named head football coach of the University of Oregon Ducks in 2009.
A funny thing happened almost immediately. The energy of the U of O shifted. Not only within the community but throughout the state of Oregon and eventually across the country. ESPN started showing up in quirky Eugene, Oregon, celebrities started wearing Oregon garb, and high school football players started giving Oregon a second look. Granted, Phil Knight built a fancy schmancy stadium with state of the art locker rooms filled with hundreds of equally fancy uniform combinations. I mean, come on, what 18-year-old boy wouldn't love to have the privilege of playing football in this high profile climate. While all that is true, I choose to believe the evolution of the relatively unknown and undervalued football program was about so much more.
Chip Kelly spent his years as a leader on the collegiate level emulating to his players three little words. WIN~THE~DAY. Simple...straight forward. A phrase that he brought with him from his years in New Hampshire to inspire his players. And he has done just that. He has demonstrated time and time again that he would not put up with youthful shenanigans resulting in regretful trips to the police station by swiftly booting players off the team. And we are talking about players who received national recognition for their football talents. Basically, if you wanted to play for Chip Kelly, you'd be wise to show up, play hard, and do well academically. Essentially, Chip plays it old school. He says what he means and he means what he says. And as a result, his players walk the walk and talk the talk. And do you know why? Because if they don't tow the line, follow the plan, and play by Chip's rules, they won't have the privilege of being part of the team. And not just any team...one of the best teams in the country. Basically, it's worth it to rise to the standards put forth by Kelly because the end result is so sweet. And, without realizing it, the kids who have had the honor off playing under his tutelage have received a gift that few young adults have the privilege of gleaning from such a well respected leader. The gift of personal responsibility, achieving excellence, and doing so with grace and humility. I predict that when graduation comes around and these young men go into the world, they are going to take with them the values that they were taught by a guy with a simple motto of excellence in his Win The Day philosophy.
So..how does the experience of college level coaching translate to the NFL. I am a little concerned that it is like training a dog vs training a puppy. Habits have been formed and you miss the opportunity to impart your wisdom on a group of people who may or may not buy into touchy-feely themes. I will also be interested to watch the Philadelphia fans. I happen to now live a stone's throw from Philadelphia, and if there is one thing they are it's gritty and they don't mince words. So, Chip...if you need a place to feel the love, you are always welcome here for dinner. Because in the eyes of the Meulemans Family, you will always inspire us to WIN THE DAY!