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Philly coaches bring lessons from New England
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Just seven short years ago, Chip Kelly was an innovative offensive coordinator for the University of New Hampshire, where his offense averaged over 400 yards a game against opponents like Villanova and Delaware. His success and reputation grew at the University of Oregon, and now following Monday’s impressive win at Washington, the Eagles’ head coach is the talk of the NFL.

Kelly’s debut was a coach’s dream, Kelly downplayed the big win the following day.

“It was a good feeling,” Kelly said. “I think any time you can start off like we did and be successful in the first game, I think people were generally excited about that. But it's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. By the time we get back on the field tomorrow, no one is talking about what went on last Monday.”

I'm pretty sure Eagles fans will be talking about Kelly for some time. Kelly has taken Philadelphia by storm. He is the most compelling sports figure in town. Think about how the sports landscape has changed in Philadelphia since Kelly's hiring. Two longtime coaches, Andy Reid and Charlie Manuel, have left South Philly, and a Sixers legend, Doug Collins, has hung up his coaching whistle.

Now, three of the four professional head coaches in Philadelphia grew up in enemy territory some 300 to 400 miles to the north in New England. Kelly is from Dover, N.H., the Flyers’ Peter Laviolette was raised 22 miles southwest of Boston and Sixers head coach Brett Brown grew up in South Portland, Maine, where his dad coached him in basketball.

At Brown's introductory press conference, he cited the importance of understanding what it takes to make it in Philly.

“Having spent so much time growing up in New England and being in Boston,” Brown said, “I am acutely aware of the history of this city and the competitiveness of this city, and how the city respects and demands the same types of people that I do as a coach.”

Flyers president Peter Luukko grew up outside of Boston and sees the benefit of having New England roots, applying it to life in Philadelphia.

“Both places really respect the hard-working guy, and they are tough and I think being a New Englander and these coaches being New Englanders, I think they are going to know how tough it is.” Luukko said. “I think being from New England will help out a lot -- I know it helps Peter Laviolette.”

Is it possible that Philadelphia's three coaches with New England ties can change the fortunes of Philly sports? Since the Sixers won an NBA title in 1967, this city has had only five other championships in the last 46 years. Boston, which is the hub of New England, has enjoyed a remarkable seven championship parades since 2001.

So the fortunes of Philly sports fans currently lean on the shoulders of men from up north to reverse the losing trend in town and bring some of that New England magic to the City of Brotherly Love.