Patterico's Pontifications

12/10/2009

Cincy’s Kelly Named Notre Dame Coach

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 11:06 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly has been named the head football coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish:

“Notre Dame has settled on Brian Kelly as the man who can restore its faded glory, just as he turned Cincinnati into a national title contender.

He’s leaving behind an undefeated and upset Cincinnati team that didn’t seem prepared to lose him despite rampant speculation that the job was his.”

This is tough news for the bowl-bound Cincinnati Bearcats, especially since the news broke on the same night as the team’s annual football banquet:

“The team held its annual football banquet at a downtown hotel on Thursday night. As players arrived for what was supposed to be a night of celebration, they were greeted by camera crews and reporters asking about Kelly’s decision to leave Cincinnati for Notre Dame.

Three hours later, players were told to gather in a meeting room so Kelly could share the news that most already knew.

One minute into the meeting, the door opened and Gilyard walked out angry and alone, save his MVP trophy. His teammates soon followed, some with teary eyes. They had a difficult time accepting that Kelly was leaving one of the nation’s top teams before its biggest bowl game.

“We already knew what he was going to say. We weren’t giving him a round of applause or anything,” tight end Ben Guidugli said. “It’s like somebody turned their back on us. We brought this whole thing this far. We’ve come this far. To have someone walk out now is disappointing.”

Kelly’s statements leading up to a title-clinching win over Pittsburgh last Saturday made it harder to accept.

“The Tuesday when we were practicing for Pittsburgh, he said he loves it here and he loves this team and loves coaching here and his family loves it here,” quarterback Tony Pike said.

Notre Dame was one of the few jobs Kelly has always coveted. Guidugli said Kelly thanked the players for making the move possible by doing so well on the field.”

I guess this is good for Kelly but that’s a harsh way to treat his current team.

— DRJ

31 Responses to “Cincy’s Kelly Named Notre Dame Coach”

  1. what a great leader……

    /not.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. This is a tremendous day to be Irish!

    Fantastic hire. No more Mr. Nice Guy (apologies to Alice).

    Ed from SFV (1333b1)

  3. I come from a family of N. D. fans who have never been to Indiana. In keeping with that Catholic mystique one would think that Coach Weiss would stay until the end of the season leaving Coach Kelly free to leave on a high note.
    An honorable thing to do.

    Mike (4b07f8)

  4. Being a UC alum I’m quite disappointed with the whole process. We knew ND was his dream job. We knew he would go given the chance. It’s the @#$% process that stinks. Teams should not go after coaches before the bowl games are played. If you fire your coach, hire an interim. But hold off on going after a coach of a team bound for a big bowl game.
    The $100,000 question is – if UC was playing for the National Championship, would he have gone?

    Corwin (ea9428)

  5. I don’t think Kelly handled well at all. I do not blame him for taking the job, but couldn’t he have said something like this to Notre Dame?

    “I accept the offer. PLEASE do not say anything to the press until I have a chance to meet with my team in Cincy. I want them to hear it from me instead of from the press.”

    I understand the anger of the Cincy players, especially if he told them he was staying or strongly implied it. This Clintonesque “I said I loved it here, but that doesn’t mean I’m staying! I mean, I love visiting Jamaica, but I won’t be staying there!” is wrong.

    Losing a coach is never easy. I’m from Memphis, and our college basketball team rode sky high for four years in a row under John Calipari. But this past offseason, he was wooed to Kentucky. He met with his team to tell them first. He was honest: He liked Memphis and loved the players, but Kentucky was the Holy Grail of college basketball and he wanted to seize the opportunity. Many Memphians thought he crapped on the players, but I didn’t: he was honest, and he told them honestly, man-to-man, before they heard it from the papers.

    There probably is no good way to leave. But if there is, Kelly’s way would not be an example of it.

    Crush Liberalism (9d23b9)

  6. Last year I watched Cincinnati play Oklahoma in a great game that OU barely won. The reason OU landed in the national championship game was strength of schedule in part because of how well the Bearcats played. Kelly had his team ready this year earned their BCS spot.

    Although I’m not an Irish fan, I think it’s a great school and the Notre Dame job is the cocaine of NCAA coaching. Brian Kelly is a perfect fit, but the deal could have been done with more finesse. He should have told ND that he would be honored to accept that coaching position, but on the condition that the announcement be delayed until his bowl game was over.

    arch (24f4f2)

  7. Notre Dame has previously botched these coach changes. This is a poor way to start with a new coach. College coaching is very different from the NFL. It’s two jobs, recruiting, and developing players who are still learning the game. Paul Hackett showed how bad a job an NFL coach can do. Weiss seemed to me to be doing a fair job but results seem to be the defining criterion. Pete Carroll is in a bad patch right now but SC learned its lesson (I hope) with the crappy way they treated John Robinson 20 years ago. The PAC 10 right now has a lot of great coaches. The Oregon schools were always considered to be at a disadvantage in recruiting but they have played at a high level now for quite a while. Notre Dame has a unique problem because they are not in a league.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  8. Wow–great for Kelly to get the ND job, but he went out like a chump. The guy can’t wait until after the bowl game to say goodbye to his team, especially after leading them to its most successful season ever? I understand he has to hire a staff and try to keep recruits from jumping, but even Urban Meyer waited until after the Fiesta Bowl before leaving Utah.

    Kelly should have asked Rich Rodriguez about the chances of success when leaving early for another school.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  9. The $100,000 question is – if UC was playing for the National Championship, would he have gone?

    Before the bowl game? Not a chance in hell–he’d get crucified in the media and ND would end up with egg on their face again (remember that Weis wasn’t even their first choice when he was hired; Urban Meyer was). Plus, what do you tell recruits at the new job?–“Don’t worry, I won’t jump ship before a bowl game if the NFL gives me a coaching offer”? His recruits would rival the Gerry Faust era for awfulness.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  10. I’m Chicago Irish and I hate ND; their incredible smugness, that lame – ass fighting Irish stereotype, Holtz’s assinine comments about “God wanted ND to win that game” after last – minute victories, etc. They used to be a credible school back when Hesburg ran things and recruited good coaches and decent human beings like Parsegian, and they actually played a tough schedule as well. Now they’re little better than OK back during Switzer’s days – they hire blowhards like Weiss and now this schmuck, while scheduling patsies for most of their season in order to run up the scores to obscure the fact that they’re continually over – rated. Funny how Willingham had almost the exact same record as Weiss, but was shown the door a heck of a lot sooner. Wacists!

    Dmac (a964d5)

  11. @Dmac- you’re a little long on rhetoric and short on my facts, my friend. While I’ll grant you that the schedule has been significantly watered down (an unfortunate trend throughout college football), the rest of your post is the verbal equivalent of diarrhea. I suppose putting millions of dollars towards a charitable cause like Hannah & Friends is just the sort of blowhard behaviour we should expect from a guy like Weis. And that stunt he pulled with BC’s linebacker, Herzlich– clearly just mocking him for having cancer, what a wuss.

    To everyone crying in their breastmilk about Kelly’s departure, let’s be realistic: there is no such thing as a perfect breakup. Cincy fans were going to piss, moan, and wish pestilence on the man who gave them more in three seasons than they’d had in all their other decades of playing football. Can you blame the guy that the story leaked before he had a chance to tell his players? Or that he wanted the banquet to be about his team and not his coaching decision? Furthermore, the fact that he’s not coaching the Sugar Bowl was probably a mutual decision. From his perspective, he’s got a recruiting class to tie down. From UC’s perspective they want to move on with their program. There’s nothing unusual or unethical about any of this. Quite simply, this is the current paradigm for college football. Juco rejects like Mardy Gilyard who walk out of team meetings like spoiled toddlers while eloquently stating, “that wasn’t no time for me to be in there” and are the real ones lacking class.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    Irish Fighting (c63e9c)

  12. It’s disgusting. What a horrible insult. I understand that he has a lot of work to do at ND, and I understand him wanting to get started ASAP.
    And I understand that he’s bailing on kids he’s known for four years because they’re less important than the ones at ND he’s never met.
    What a low, cheap man he is. What a swine.

    jdub (ba3489)

  13. Yet another reason that a playoff system is definitely needed – no way Kelly would be leaving if winning the UC-Florida game gave him a shot at the national championship.

    And by the way, I can’t quite figure out why ND is all excited about replacing one offensive-minded defensively-challenged coach with another offensive-minded defensively-challenged coach?

    Is it just me?

    RC (659644)

  14. Notre Dame gets preferential treatment in the NCAA. They have a special BCS position. Regardless of their record, virtually every game they play is on TV. The only bright spot is that Brent Mussberger usually does the coverage so we don’t have to listen to him do a real game.

    My personal problem with ND dates back to 1962 when Navy played the Irish in Philadelphia. It was Staubach’s first year as a starter. ND beat us 20-12 on a muddy field in freezing rain. After the game ended while we were singing the Navy Blue & Gold, the ND fans heckled us.

    From 4:30 until our busses left at 10:00, we wandered around downtown in uniform while drunken ND supporters berated us out of every hotel window. Most had never seen a college much less attended one. At age 18, it made a lasting impression on me.

    arch (24f4f2)

  15. How sad. Sad for Cincy, sad for Kelly, sad way for ND to start a new era.

    Any good coach knows better than to start off on the wrong foot. Likely, whoever let the cat out of the bag was upset with Weiss being dismissed. Just a guess on my part, but there it is.

    If ND can identify the individual responsible he should join Weiss in the unemployment line, or go straight to the infernal regions where he belongs.

    ropelight (5c6f98)

  16. @Dmac- you’re a little long on rhetoric and short on my facts, my friend. While I’ll grant you that the schedule has been significantly watered down (an unfortunate trend throughout college football), the rest of your post is hate-filled verbal diarrhea. I suppose putting millions of dollars towards a charitable cause like Hannah & Friends is just the sort of blowhard behaviour we should expect from a guy like Weis. And that stunt he pulled with BC’s linebacker, Herzlich– clearly just mocking him for having cancer, what a wuss.

    To everyone crying in their breastmilk about Kelly’s departure, let’s be realistic: there is no such thing as a perfect breakup. Cincy fans were going to piss, moan, and wish pestilence on the man who gave them more in three seasons than they’d had in all their other decades of playing football. Can you blame the guy that the story leaked before he had a chance to tell his players? Or that he wanted the banquet to be about his team and not his coaching decision? Furthermore, the fact that he’s not coaching the Sugar Bowl was probably a mutual decision. From his perspective, he’s got a recruiting class to tie down. From UC’s perspective they want to move on with their program. There’s nothing unusual or unethical about any of this. Quite simply, this is the current paradigm for college football. Juco rejects like Mardy Gilyard who walk out of team meetings like spoiled toddlers while eloquently stating, “that wasn’t no time for me to be in there” and are the real ones lacking class.

    Irish Fighting (c63e9c)

  17. #15, Irish, said, “There’s nothing unusual or unethical about any of this.”

    Hogwash! The lack of ethics here has a decidedly Irish lilt. I take no pleasure in pointing that out, I’m as Irish as Paddy’s pig, and have been a ND supporter for as long as the sun shines on the golden dome. However, this is anything but usual and ethical. It’s just plain wrong.

    This turmoil casts a pall over ND, it marks a great tradition with an undeserved black eye, and someone presently unknown owes the Cincy players and fans a huge apology, and a pint or two of blood for the unnecessary and untimely grief inflicted on a wonderful group of players betrayed on the eve of their finest hour.

    ropelight (5c6f98)

  18. Irish Fighting, you’re a little long on douche and a little short on bag.

    Phil Smith (1cf25d)

  19. Comment by Irish Fighting — 12/11/2009

    Look on the bright side, maybe your school hired a coach that can beat Navy again.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  20. @ropelight- completely disagree. Brian Kelly to this moment has said nothing to the general public about coaching Notre Dame. All along he waited to tell his players first before anyone else. Again, is it his fault that the story broke before he got a chance to talk to them? That he didn’t want to overshadow the biggest win in the best season in program history and the banquet to celebrate it by talking about himself? Show me where the lack of ethics is? He as an escape clause for Notre Dame so he really has no contractual obligation to UC beyond the $1MM he owes them for leaving before 1/10/10. Could he have followed Urban Meyer’s example and coached the Sugar Bowl? Sure, but as I opined above, I think this was an agreement that both BK and Cincy decided was mutually beneficial.

    I challenge anyone to provide me with a factual statement (not emotional appeals to pints of blood and the like) of anything that Brian Kelly (NOT the media circus) did that was unethical or unusual. Hiring a coach before his team plays in a bowl is NOT in any way out of the ordinary (Taggart: Stanford to WKU; Porter: LSU to Memphis; Strong: Florida to Louisville; possibly Sumlin: Houston to Cincy).

    Irish Fighting (c63e9c)

  21. As a UC fan and alum, I knew it would come. It was the timing, as I said. The whole process could have been handled better and should be in the future.

    It’s not like UC and other colleges/universities haven’t done the same in the past. That doesn’t excuse it or make it easier to accept. But the whole ‘moving up the ladder’ routine for coaches should be pushed off til after the bowl games.

    I’m not after a perfect breakup – just one that would have afforded a team losing a coach, the opportunity to finish their season together.

    In a few years I might wish Kelly all the best – but for now… I’ll keep that thought.

    Corwin (ea9428)

  22. @arch I’m sorry to hear you had such an unfortunate experience with ND 47 years ago, but I hardly think it is in any way of indicative of the behavior of current Irish fans, much less actual alumni. When I was an undergrad at ND we hosted middies we had never met who were in town for the Navy game. Young men and women in uniform or wearing yellow Ns on blue shirts are afforded a level of respect throughout campus that defies the culture of modern collegiate sports.

    In fact the entire series is defined by respect. Notre Dame respects the Naval Academy and the debt of honor owed to the Academy for the Navy’s assistance to ND during WWII. Many of my classmates were bemused by the irony of Ohio St. claiming to have started a tradition this year by standing at attention when Navy ran onto the field. We’ve been doing that for decades. It’s a shame you don’t share the respect that Notre Dame and Navy have had for each other during that time. I personally hope that Navy goes 11-1 and look forward to playing them every year regardless of how much flack national pundit types may give us for scheduling service academies.

    Irish Fighting (c63e9c)

  23. I challenge anyone to provide me with a factual statement (not emotional appeals to pints of blood and the like) of anything that Brian Kelly (NOT the media circus) did that was unethical or unusual.

    It’s not a question of whether it was illegal, unethical, or unusual, it’s a question of simple respect. Kelly has been a college coach long enough to understand that being hired to coach at ND is going to provoke a media circus on the announcement; if he didn’t anticipate that, then he hasn’t been paying attention to the last 70 years of college football history.

    You can defend him all you wish in regards to the interactions between ND, UC, and himself, and that’s fine, but can you honestly blame the players for being pissed that he’s essentially abandoning them right before a bowl game following their most successful season ever? Can you blame them (and Kelly’s critics) for perceiving that he only considered them a bridge to something bigger in light of his actions?

    One of the most important part of being a leader is understanding how your actions are going to be perceived by those who are going to be affected by them, especially in regards to an institution that is always in the media glare and has been mythologized beyond any reasonable standard. Kelly flubbed this up, big time, and ultimately that’s his fault, not the media’s or Notre Dame’s or his players.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  24. “Kelly grew up in Chelsea, Mass., and went to Assumption College, a Catholic school in Worcester where he played linebacker while getting his degree in political science. The son of an alderman, he intended to go into politics after college and he even worked on Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign in the Boston area.”

    Gerald A (a66d02)

  25. Irish:

    As I said, I have great respect for Notre Dame. It is a fine school. I personally know dozens of alumni who are learned gentlemen and highly principled men. Like the military, they seem to have been taught to live by a code.

    The Irish fans who offended me and soured me on “their” team were not Alumni. I doubt they had ever been to South Bend or even a community college. Had I been a student in a college rather than a Midshipman or a Cadet, not only would I have been less identifiable, my reaction would have been, how should I put it, more direct. My AAU sport was boxing.

    arch (24f4f2)

  26. As the Irish Douche so amply showed, many of their fans are quite blowhardy, and this guy sounds like he just came off his latest bender. He doesn’t bother to refute my argument with facts, while at the same time sneering that I didn’t offer any. Nice education you got there, Einstein.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  27. #20, Irish, if you read both my comments at #15 and 17, it should be clear I wasn’t pointing to Kelly as the source of the leak. I said, “Likely, whoever let the cat out of the bag was upset with Weiss being dismissed. Just a guess on my part, but there it is.”

    I agree that Kelly has considerable incentive to keep the new arrangement sub rosa till after the bowl games. That’s why I fingered someone at ND with an axe to grind.

    So, yes, I could have been more precise, but I didn’t think my remarks would be misinterpreted. However, I’ll accept responsibility for the confusion.

    ropelight (5c6f98)

  28. “…but can you honestly blame the players for being pissed that he’s essentially abandoning them right before a bowl game following their most successful season ever? Can you blame them (and Kelly’s critics) for perceiving that he only considered them a bridge to something bigger in light of his actions?

    Comment by Another Chris — 12/11/2009 @ 11:36 am

    No, as long as you cut the same slack to coaches and fans for being pissed when an underclassman comes out early for the pro contract. Mardy Gilyard ranted about how Kelly dumped them for the money. I wonder if Mr. Gilyard will forego the draft, go free agent and take less money to play for the spendthrift hometown NFL team, as that would be the ethical thing to do.

    This thing was never going to be kept quiet, nor should it have been. Weis was fired, signed recruits can get out of their commitments if they get nervous over who will be the next coach.

    Any of you ever changed jobs? You give notice and, unless you are a slacker, you give your best effort until closing time on the last day, unless your company thinks it better for all that you go early. That is what happened here. UC didn’t want a lame duck coach, for whatever reason, and that is their right. I can’t figure that out, though. Not like he wouldn’t try to win the game. He probably gives them their best chance to win, which would be a big plus for the next coach’s recruiting effort.

    Matador (176445)

  29. This is EXACTLY what Paul Johnson did the the US Naval Academy two seasons ago. He left Navy in the lurch going into its bowl game, but added the extra class to say to the press that “he was looking forward to using his offense with real talent.”

    prowlerguy (ecbc75)

  30. UC has been ripped for years since Huggins came to town and provided an opportunity for athletes that few other colleges would consider. As such, UC became known for recruiting ‘criminals’, young kids from desperate lives who had someone become a father figure to them.

    A few years back, UC football had a coach that took them to their first bowl game, only to jump at a offer in Michigan.

    This year, Kelly had a team that believed in themselves and the system. What do you say to these young men who were beginning to believe there was a different world than the one they had known all their lives.

    This is a tragedy, not for the university or the city, but for those young men who were misled into believing life can be fair.

    rookwood (39ee7e)

  31. This is a tragedy, not for the university or the city, but for those young men who were misled into believing life can be fair.

    Comment by rookwood — 12/11/2009 @ 7:26 pm

    I think you got lost on the way to HuffPo.

    Matador (176445)


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