Notre Dame could be close to zeroing on its next head coach with reports Monday that Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly would be interviewing for the open position in South Bend on Tuesday. Reports Monday stated that Kelly would meet with athletic director Jack Swarbrick in New York.
Kelly himself announced to his team and his Twitter followers that he was contacted by Notre Dame. “Just informed our team that Notre Dame has contacted me and I will listen to what they have to say,” Kelly tweeted on Monday.
Considering how hard information on the Notre Dame coaching search has been to come by since the dismissal of Charlie Weis a week ago Monday, today’s events would suggest that Kelly is the leader in the clubhouse at this point with no other candidates lined up for interviews at this time.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh would also be interviewing for the position, but that report was quickly shot down by both Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby and Jim Harbaugh himself. Harbaugh was interviewed during Monday Night Football while he was on the sideline of Baltimore Ravens where his brother Jon serves as the head coach.
All last week and through the weekend Kelly refused to comment on the Notre Dame position while his undefeated Bearcats prepared for what was in essence the Big Each Championship game against Pitt last weekend.
Even earlier in the day on Monday, Kelly was vague when talking about his future plans on the Dan Patrick Radio Show. Kelly did say that he would consider other opportunities outside of his current position but that it would have to be a unique circumstance but that he could look at another job. Kelly also said that he couldn’t guarantee he would be coaching Cincinnati in their upcoming showdown with Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Other reports on Monday said that Swarbrick could be making his recommendation to Father Jenkins by the middle of the week – again suggesting that Kelly could be the front runner for the position.
Notre Dame and Swarbrick hasn’t officially commented on the coaching search or whether or not they intend to interview Kelly on Tuesday, but if the reports were inaccurate it’s likely Notre Dame would have been quick to refute them.
Kelly’s name has been linked with the Notre Dame position for almost a year now as most felt he would have been the replacement for Charlie Weis last December had he been let go at that time.
We should know soon whether or not Kelly is the guy for Notre Dame according to his interview with Dan Patrick. Kelly stated he would know by the weekend what it was he planned to do regarding his future.
If Kelly isn’t the guy for Notre Dame, it isn’t clear where Notre Dame would turn. Randy Edsall has been a name linked to the Notre Dame position in various reports, but it’s unclear if he was or could be a viable candidate. Other coaches linked to the position include Skip Holtz and Al Golden but it’s unclear whether any of them are actual candidates either.
Stay tuned as it seems like the coaching search could be winding down.