Chip Kelly turned heads with a decision to leave his UCLA head coaching job to be the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. But, to hear Kelly explain it, the move is one he took with excitement.

On Tuesday, the Buckeyes kicked off spring practices with Kelly in his new role on Ryan Day’s staff. Asked about the reasons for the move, Kelly explained his thinking about a change dates back to UCLA’s bowl practices.

“I think it started when we were preparing for our bowl game. Ryan Gunderson, who’s a great quarterback coach, left to go to Oregon State as the coordinator, so he wasn’t there. So I actually coached QBs during the bowl game,” Kelly explained.

“I just started to think — like, I actually hadn’t coached a position since 2008. And I think my wife remarked ‘I haven’t seen you this happy in a long time.’ To me, the best part of football is football. So you got to do football and not some of the things that involve the head coaching deal.”

If that isn’t convincing enough, Kelly later said he was excited about who he gets to work with at Ohio State and was able to pick his personal situation. In the end, he just wants “to be happy,” and coaching quarterbacks provide some joy.

“It was just in my personal situation, this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to pick the opportunity to go be a position coach and an offensive coordinator,” said Kelly.

Here is Kelly’s full media session (comments about the move begin his press conference):

Ohio State maintains some of the best odds to win the national championship and the 12-team Playoff as spring practices begin. Fans can track the latest odds and line movement with Tradition’s Ohio sports betting links.

Why Chip Kelly’s reasons matter

Oftentimes, coordinator jobs go to coaches in one of two groups: Up-and-coming assistants gunning for a head coaching job, or ex-head coaches looking to rebuild their stock to lead a program.

Bill O’Brien, who spent a whirlwind tenure in Columbus before leaving, falls into the second category. Kelly falls into neither.

Let’s be clear: Kelly’s future with the Bruins was far from certain.

There were reports that UCLA was planning to move on from him at the end of the season, but that never materialized. Whether or not Kelly’s move saved UCLA the trouble of eventually firing him is up for debate, but his reasons for leaving speak volumes.

Kelly wanted to be a QB coach. He wanted to coordinate, and that is a breath of fresh air for a program that underachieved offensively this past season.

And — for what it’s worth — there isn’t necessarily an easy fix for the Buckeyes. Sure, Kyle McCord was the easy scapegoat for the offensive woes, and he does deserve a lot of the blame.

It’s also true other issues plagued Ohio State, and Day’s duties as a head coach will prevent him from being as hands-on as needed to fix the unit.

Insert Kelly, a former head coach who claims he was eager for the chance to be more “hands-on” with the actual football work. Oh, and his relationship with the head coach dates back to Day’s time as a player when Kelly was an assistant coach at New Hampshire.

In this era of college football, nothing is ever for certain. Kelly returning to the ranks of an assistant after 14 years as a head coach could be doomed for failure for any number of reasons.

But make no mistake about it: He’s in Columbus for all the right reasons, and it sets the table for a potentially eye-popping season for the Buckeyes.