49ers hire Chip Kelly as coach

The 49ers concluded their search for a head coach Thursday, hiring lightning rod Chip Kelly to fill the position.
Kelly replaces Jim Tomsula, who was fired one year into his four-year deal after a 5-11 season.

While Kelly was the creative offensive mind that the Niners wanted at the position, he wasn’t in demand after a tumultuous third season as Philadelphia Eagles head coach. The team had a 6-9 record on Dec. 29 when he was fired with one game left in the regular season. He finished with a 26-21 mark overall.

Along the way, questions arose about how effectively Kelly could work with players and management. Kelly had much say in personnel matters in Philadelphia, a role that Niners general manager Trent Baalke assumed almost exclusively in recent years.

“I would like to thank Jed, Trent, and the York family for this tremendous opportunity to be the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers,” Kelly said. “As one of the most historic franchises in the National Football League, I realize the high standards and expectations that this position demands and I embrace the challenges ahead. My immediate focus is to build the best coaching staff possible, one that will maximize the abilities of each of our players and put us in the best position to win football games.”

Kelly made his name at Oregon, where he turned the Ducks into a national power. He is known for his ability to develop
quarterbacks, namely Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner who led the Ducks to the national championship game.

The arrival of Kelly may lead to the return of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose skill set fits his system. The organization also has the No. 7 pick in the draft, which could put it in position to select a quarterback.

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By John Krolik Special to The Examiner