Bye-you Brian


Pike Temple, Sports Writer

A week ago, talk of potentially making the College Football playoff buzzed around Notre Dame Football. Then at 8:00 p.m. on November 29, news broke that Head Coach Brian Kelly would be heading down south to Baton Rouge, Louisaiana to coach LSU football. Brian Kelly is officially the LSU Tigers head football coach. After leaving the home of a recruit, the rumor floated around the internet, terrifying ND fans. A little after 10.00 p.m. Brian Kelly messaged his team:

Men…Let me first apologize for the late night text and, more importantly, for not being able to share the news with you in person that I will be leaving Notre Dame. I am flying back to South Bend tonight to be able to meet with you in the morning but the news broke late today and I am sorry you found out through social media or news reports. I will have more to share when we meet tomorrow at 7 a.m. but for now, just know that my love for you is limitless and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished. Our program is elite because of your hard work and commitment and I know that will continue. I will share more in the morning when we meet. Again, my sincere apologies for not being able to be the one to share the news directly with you. Coach Kelly” 

The message sent by Brian Kelly made it clear that he would be taking the job at Louisiana State University.  He did not wait to see how the CFB Playoff would shake out for the Irish, even though they were very much in the hunt before this past weekend. Interestingly, Kelly’s form of departure follows a similar pattern. After his first head coaching job at Grand Valley State, he left Central Michigan before their bowl game against Middle Tennessee in 2006. Then he abandoned the number three ranked Cincinnati Bearcats set to make an appearance in the College Football playoffs in 2009. He has now departed number five ranked Notre Dame before their Fiesta Bowl matchup against ninth ranked Oklahoma State.

The morning after Kelly’s announcement, he held a team meeting at the Irish indoor facility. The meeting lasted around eleven minutes, discourteously short at best. A week after announcing that he would not be leaving Notre Dame any time soon, the winningest football coach in the school’s history was headed off to Baton Rouge. Kelly’s lack of commitment is a bad look for him and the rest of the CFB world. 

Kelly landed in Louisiana the very same day. He met with his new players and held his first press conference as the LSU Tigers head football coach. Kelly told his players that they were going “to work hard and have to bond as a team…” The typical orientation speech. However, one topic Kelly ironically touched on was trust, and learning to trust him as their new coach. Then, Kelly addressed the media. In his introductory press conference, he said, “I’m here because I wanted to coach the very best players in the country, that are afforded the best resources in the country, and play in the best conference in the country, ” and added, “That’s an incredible challenge to a football coach. I get that here, and I get a chance to work with the best athletics director, president, all in alignment to get to the end of winning a national championship.” This quote is almost a direct shot at Notre Dame and ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick. Under Brian Kelly, the Notre Dame Football program has made the CFP twice in the last four years, first in 2018 and then in 2020. According to this quote, Kelly was tired of the school’s limitations regarding recruitment and lack of investment in the program, and found the position at LSU impassable. According to Kelly, he “came down here because I wanted to be with the best. The standard of expectation. You’re looked at in terms of championships here and I want that. I want to be under the bright lights. … That’s part of the draw.” When asked if Kelly’s departure was surprising, Swarbrick replied, “There was a Freudian slip or two along the way that grabbed my attention. Whether that was intentional or not, you felt like it was somebody who might be open to a different opportunity”

Brian Kelly told reporters during his days at GVSU, “I found a diamond in the rough. I have what I consider the finest job in college football. I have the opportunity to compete for national championships and not have the trappings of the Division I arena, the incredible pressure to win at all costs. I have absolutely found the job I want.” This is the same man who is now a DI football coach, faces incredible pressure to win in the SEC, will make around 100 million dollars over his contractual 10 years at LSU, and is now the third highest paid coach in all of college football, set to make around 9.5 million annually. 

The latest LSU Tiger inductee is still making headlines. Coach Kelly, during halftime at an LSU men’s basketball game, spoke to the crowd in a newfound southern accent. Brian Kelly, a native of Everett, Massachusetts, is already feeling at home in Baton Rouge.

Marcus Freeman was awarded the Head Coaching job at Notre Dame a few days later. The former ND defensive coordinator’s first game as head coach will be against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl. Freeman is a players coach, he builds connections with his players and should get the most out of the talent at Notre Dame. Coach Freeman, the Head Football Coach at the University of Notre Dame, is “ready to lead this program to the greatest heights.” Tom Rees, the Irish offensive coordinator, is staying in South Bend as well. Both men are committed to building a dynasty of their own, one that will kick off New Year’s day in Glendale, Arizona.