The supposed interview that was to take place between Notre Dame and Brian Kelly never happened Tuesday, but speculation hasn’t cooled that Kelly will be the next head coach for the Fighting Irish. In fact, several reports have indicated that Kelly could be named as Charlie Weis’s replacement as early as Friday.
Reports surfaced Monday that Kelly was going to interview with Notre Dame on Tuesday in New York while he was in town for the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame dinner. ESPN’s Joe Schad reported Tuesday afternoon that the interview wasn’t going to take place but that the likelihood of Brian Kelly being named the head coach at Notre Dame was heating up.
The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh, a former Notre Dame beat writer for the South Bend Tribune, reported later Tuesday that Kelly is on the “brink” of being named the head coach with an announcement coming as early as Friday.
Cincinnati has its team banquet on Thursday and the current speculation is that Kelly does not want to be announced as the head coach of Notre Dame before he has a chance to address his team Thursday.
At this point, however, nothing is certain. Kelly told the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday that while he has had talks with Notre Dame, “I’m talking to UC, too.”
The Enquirer also reported on Tuesday that should Kelly leave Cincinnati before January 10th, he would owe the university $1 million.
It’s still unclear whether or not Kelly would coach Cincinnati in their upcoming Sugar Bowl showdown with Florida, but some reports are suggesting that there is a strong possibility that he would not coach the game and would take over full time at Notre Dame if he accepted the job.
The only that is clear at this point is that there is entirely too much smoke surrounding the Kelly to Notre Dame rumors that there has to be some fire behind them. Kelly has publically stated he is interested in the Notre Dame job and told Dan Patrick on Monday there he couldn’t guarantee that he would coach the Sugar Bowl.
Lou Holtz added a little more fuel to fire on the Colin Cowherd radio show Tuesday telling the host that he fully expected Brian Kelly to be named the Irish coach by Friday barring any unforeseen setbacks over the next few days.
The other names still being connected with the search, albeit with much less regularity or likelihood, include Randy Edsall, Tommy Tuberville, and Skip Holtz. None are considered serious contenders for the job at this point though with Kelly being the odds on favorite at this point.
As always, stayed tuned as the search continues and apparently starts to wind down.