Many people in the sports world have come down with the novel coronavirus, and UCLA head coach Chip Kelly recently revealed that he experienced a battle with it. According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, Kelly tested positive for the virus in late March. People close to the team tell the newspaper that he doesn’t know how he contracted the virus.
According to the report, Kelly experienced mild symptoms before his positive test. His wife, Jill, also tested positive and recovered at home.
The head coach immediately informed athletic department officials, staff and coaches as well as players and their families of his positive test. No one associated with the UCLA football program had to quarantine as a result.
Kelly shared his experience with his players in hopes they would take the virus seriously. Eight players have tested positive upon their return to campus beginning in late June, but none have tested positive since resuming workouts, the Times reports. Players are tested every other week.
“We have guidelines we’re trying to set, not just from the health department but from the team in general,” quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said Thursday during a wide-ranging interview with the Times that did not touch upon Kelly’s positive test. “We don’t want to lose a guy three or four weeks just because they caught COVID and spread it to the team and now we all have to go home, so we’re trying to do the best we can right now just to social distance and kind of stay in each other’s individual bubbles to protect the team more so than anything.”
The UCLA head coach took over a program in need of a rebuild in 2018 after taking a year off from coaching. After a 3-9 season, there wasn’t much improvement in 2019. Now, Kelly could find himself on the hot seat if UCLA doesn’t find success in 2020.
“No coach fell further in the rankings this year than Kelly,” CBS Sports wrote. “He was No. 14 last season! At the time, his 3-9 season at UCLA was seen as a necessity as he took over the program and attempted to mold it in his image. Well, the patience wore out after watching the Bruins go 4-8 last year. I think there’s still enough residual love with Kelly that one good season will rehab his image quickly, but this isn’t a great sign. 2019 rank: 14 (-22).”
After a 1-5 start in 2019, Kelly led the Bruins to a 3-3 finish but the 3-3 record came with three straight wins and then three straight losses. The top win from 2019 came against then No. 24 Arizona State but UCLA could not maintain consistency last season.
247Sports’ Nick Kosko contributed to this report.