SportsCrack Blog

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Brian Kelly, who in 3 seasons at Cincinnati has led the Bearcats to a record of 34-6 with two BCS game berths (despite Cincy only have one 10 win season in their history before Kelly's arrival), will be the new head coach at the University of Notre Dame. The announcement is expected to come as soon as Wednesday or perhaps Thursday of this week after Kelly tells his Bearcat players he is leaving for Notre Dame.

First off this is a tremendous hire. Kelly is a proven winner who has over 19 years of head coaching experience at the collegiate level. In all 3 of his previous stops before Notre Dame he has made perennial losing programs into winners. Starting off with Grand Valley State in 1991, he took a little known collegiate II program and made them National Champs twice while being named the AFCA Division II Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003. In his 13 seasons at Grand Valley State he led them to an overall record of 118-35-2 and his offenses scored regularly over 50 points a game.

He left to accept the Central Michigan head coaching job in 2004 and quickly turned around a program that had only won more than 3 games once in the previous 4 seasons before Kelly arrived. In 2006 he led the Chippawas to 9-4 record including a MAC Championship and a Motor City Bowl invite. He did not coach in the bowl game because he accepted the Cincinnati job.

And all he has done at Cincinnati is win and win big. His defenses are routinely ranked in the top 25 in scoring defense and sacks while his offenses are ranked in the top 10. This despite having limited talent (the highest rank recruiting class for Cincy is around the 60's in the nation) Kelly knows how to get the most out of his players. Currently Cincinnati is 12-0 with their second Big East Championship in a row and are 1 second away from playing Alabama for the BCS Championship. Simply putting it the guy has a resume that only Urban Meyer can compare it with when he left Utah for Florida 5 years ago. Kelly is a winner.

With the losses of Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen early to the NFL Kelly will have his work cut out for him. Backup QB Dayne Crist is coming off ACL surgery and is expected to miss most if not all of spring practice. Two incoming freshmen, Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees, are expected to compete for significant playing time if Crist is not ready to go. FWIW Crist is another 5 star prep QB who has drawn favorable comparisons to Brady Quinn in his size, mobility, and arm strength. Kelly will have a slew of talented backs and wide receivers to work with in South Bend and he is known to be able to plug in and move guys around with no drop off at all in production when it comes to his offense. Take for instance in 2008 when Kelly was forced to use 5 different QB's because of injuries and yet still the Bearcats ranked 24th nationally in QB efficiency while leading them to a school record 11 wins. His defense was also strong leading the Big East in sacks and tackles for loss and his special teams were strong in both net punting and kickoff returns.

Kelly gets the most out of what he is given and there is no reason to believe he can't
do this at Notre Dame. The athletes and talent that Notre Dame has recruited in the last 5 seasons because of Charlie Weis and his staff dwarfs the 2 and 3 star players he could get at Cincinnati.

Today's meeting with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick in New York City was just a formality. Kelly has the job. I don't have all the details on the contract but my source tells me at a minimum it will be a 5 year contract with plenty of incentive bonuses including bowl victories, graduation rates, BCS berths, etc. that will inflate the contract into the top 5 amongst FBS college head coaching positions.

Kelly is now expected to recruit for Notre Dame and has been given the option to coach Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl against Florida. I have my doubts about him ever stepping foot in New Orleans but that remains to be seen.

I believe this is a homerun hire for Notre Dame and Swarbrick. They weren't going to ever convince the Urban Meyers, Bob Stoops, or Nick Sabans of the collegiate world to leave their jobs to make a lateral and some would call downsize move to South Bend. Kelly is the next best option and I believe was easily the most logical choice to lead Notre Dame starting now. Weis failed as a head coach at Notre Dame thanks to a horrible defense and some questionable game management but Kelly has the experience and the track record of building up teams into proven winners on the football field. All he does is win and win big consistently and Notre Dame hasn't experienced it in over 15 years. Expect that to change quickly and Notre Dame to once again return to the peak of the college football landscape.

The Kelly hire gets an overwhelming Sportscrack stamp of approval! Go Irish!


Anonymous said...

Sweet glorious day! You are a sage who brings bright light in a dark time... Hail St. Fairchild

Anonymous said...

Damn traiter. Fuck him.

Anonymous said...

Once it's official, how about a "Kelly's Heroes" t-shirt?

Anonymous said...

His name is Andrew Hendrix not Alex. He is a stud with a legit arm. I'm praying for Dayne's health!

Anonymous said...

Expect more of the same. Until ND gets over them selves and joins the Big 10 they will remain fodder for the service academies

Anonymous said...

He'll leave cinci in the dust,just like he did cmu. It's all about $$$ to BK,not the program...A CMU fan

Anonymous said...

There's a shirt now..!! Kelly's Heroes at

Anonymous said...

Brian Kelly is a sell out. He obviously took the money like a duesh after he told his team he was staying. In all honesty i can respect that he took the money, but not coaching in the Sugar Bowl was a very DICK move on his part. Biggest game in UC history and BK wanted no part of it, hes nothing but a selfish loser.

Anonymous said...

Hi! fantastic idea, but will this really work?