Bears coach Matt Nagy wasn’t a blue-chip recruit when he finished quarterbacking at Manheim (Pa.) High in 1996, but he did have two Division I-AA offers.
Nagy could go play seven hours away, at New Hampshire, where Bill Bowes had just promoted his feisty running-backs coach, Chip Kelly -- the future Eagles' head coach -- to offensive line coach.
Or, Nagy could play 90 minutes away at the University of Delaware, for Harold “Tubby” Raymond.
“I had two offers: from Delaware, and from New Hampshire, when Chip Kelly was there," Nagy said Thursday. “I chose Delaware. Just the family atmosphere. I just liked the tradition that they had.”
Nagy, who played at Delaware between NFL stars Rich Gannon and Joe Flacco, became a big part of that tradition. He went 12-2 as a senior and left with virtually every passing record. And that was in a wing-T offense, ill-suited to a plodder like him, Nagy admitted.
Imagine what Nagy might have done as the pilot of Chippah’s up-tempo, spread scheme at UNH.
Kelly became New Hampshire’s offensive coordinator in 1999 and immediately began innovating. Kelly would have had two seasons with Nagy, who went on to play for six years in the Arena League.
Nagy seems glad to have been a Blue Hen. New Hampshire went 20-27 from 1997-2000 and never made the playoffs. Delaware went 38-12 and made it to the national semifinals twice. Raymond retired in 2001 and died in 2017.
“Coach Raymond taught me how to win, and how to handle winning," Nagy said. “And then, how to handle tough losses.”
Kelly left UNH for the offensive coordinator’s job at Oregon in 2007, became the Ducks' head coach two years later, then landed as the Eagles' head coach from 2013 to 2015 (he has since flamed out with the 49ers and now coaches UCLA). As in 1997, Kelly missed working with Nagy again. Nagy had become an assistant for Andy Reid with the Eagles, and Reid took Nagy with him to the Chiefs as his quarterbacks coach.
Nagy has further ties to Kelly.