Chip Kelly is noisy.
He’s loud and bombastic and has built a reputation as the kind of coach who won’t shy away from a story or a media report. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It almost always leads to headlines.
This time the headline was something not many people, even those in Kelly’s closest athletic circles, expected. The Philadelphia Eagles head coach was married. For seven years. Kelly, who has frequently been described as a football-only bachelor, was married to Jennifer Jenkins during the 90’s and the two remain on good terms to this day. Jenkins spoke with Kent Babb of the Washington Post for a recent feature detailing Kelly and his infamous coaching style and also offered a bit of insight into her relationship with him.
Here’s what you need to know about Jenkins:
1. Jenkins & Kelly Met at the University of New Hampshire
Jenkins was a senior at New Hampshire when a friend first introduced her to Kelly on Thanksgiving Day in 1989. He was four years older than her at the time and, already, completely obsessed with football.
Jenkins said that Kelly, who had played football at New Hampshire, saw the game as a “way of life” and she saw him as a man who was simply focused on leaving his mark. She stayed in New Hampshire when Kelly took his first college coaching job in 1990, working with the defense and special teams unit at Columbia University.
2. The Couple Married in 1992
Jenkins and Kelly exchanged vows shortly after he returned to New Hampshire, joining his alma maters’ staff as the running backs coach. They were married just a few weeks before the squad’s first game of the season in what Jenkins called “a great party.”
3. Jenkins Has a Wedding Photo Stored on Her iPhone to Prove She & Kelly Were Married
No one believed Jenkins. No one believed that Kelly, in his prime as the head coach at Oregon, had once been married. Even The New York Times published an article about bachelor coaches and noted that Kelly had never been married.
The New York Times didn’t believe her.
So Jenkins started to take it upon herself to prove she her side of the story with a saved wedding photo on her iPhone and responding to questions and strangers with a quick flip on the digital screen. Jenkins and Kelly divorced in 1999 after several years of relationship strain. She won’t put the blame on football, however, saying:
It wasn’t his fault because he was focused on football. That’s just not the way we’ve ever — that’s not it. That’s not what happened. We were just young.
The two have remained friends despite the end of their marriage and when Kelly coached his first NFL game with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jenkins was in the stands.
4. Jenkins Runs MommaLu Remedies in Washington D.C.
After leaving New Hampshire, Jenkins moved to the DC area and now owns and operates MommaLu Remedies, a company that specializes in delivering care packages for individuals fighting everything from a cough to the flu.
The company is named for Jenkins’ mother, Mary Lou, and the packages include dozens of feel-good items, including chicken noodle soup, ginger ale and saltine crackers. MommaLu also partners with several cooperate chains, like Mobile MDs, Zipcar and even local school districts, to provide sick packs for those in need when they aren’t at home.
Jenkins described her decision to begin her own business on Linkedn:
There are so many challenges when starting your own company because there are so many details and “firsts” to face – but I definitely think the rewards outweigh the difficulties. I would say that probably the hardest part about starting my own business was taking the plunge and finally making the decision to take the risk to focus full-time on creating a successful venture. Especially since I had never done anything like this before and my previous career and experience was completely unrelated. Stepping away from stability and a regular paycheck is scary! But, so far, the journey has been really exciting – (and there is a long way to go.)
5. Neither Kelly Nor Jenkins Have Married Again
Although there have been rumors that Kelly has had several girlfriends through the years, most recently after appearing at a Los Angeles Angels spring training game in March with an unnamed woman, he has never remarried. Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin had even once indicated that Kelly did have a girlfriend, although she was never named.
Jenkins never remarried either, relocating to Washington D.C. and focusing on her self-run, self-made business. Still, she’s rooting for Kelly, telling The Washington Post, “I want him to win. I want him to be successful. It’s everything that he has worked for.”
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