Old friends from Manchester Central High School congregated in the corner of a popular bar in their hometown. The NHL appeared on one TV, college basketball on another. They didn't watch, save for a passing glance.

Instead, on a recent Saturday afternoon, they exchanged laughs and stories about hockey practices and late nights and their high school teammate "Chipper."

"Chipper" is their name for Charles Kelly. In Philadelphia, he's known as Chip Kelly, the new head coach of the Eagles. His classmates watched Kelly's ascent, and they aren't surprised.

It's difficult to expect anyone to become an NFL head coach, but they figured Kelly would be coaching, and they knew he'd be different from his contemporaries.

Kelly was a captain back then. He asked questions back then. Hearing 20 years later that Kelly's new boss talks about his innovative mind and ability to command others, his former classmates have a dash of "I told you so" in their voices.

"He was always drawing plays up like a sandlot quarterback," said Phil Hebert, 49. "And he expects (people) out of his group to question him, to do it a better way. He gets everybody thinking. Always."