Brian Kelly Explains Sideline Outburst with Assistant Coach

Photo: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire
Photo: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

Explosive plays were hard for Notre Dame to come by on the field on Saturday, but that didn’t stop the Irish having some on the sidelines.  Midway through the third quarter Brian Kelly was seen running towards assistant strength and conditioning coach David Grimes and grabbing him by the jacket.  Kelly downplayed the incident after the game, but based on early morning chatter, it’s something we’re sure to be hearing more about.

First off, in case you missed it, here is the exchange.

After the game, here is what Kelly had to say about the incident:

“David (Grimes) was going to get us a 15 yard penalty and I have to control the sideline. I wasn’t going to let that happen. He got a little too close and I backed him up out of the way to make sure we didn’t get a 15 yard penalty.”

Emotions were clearly running high for Notre Dame on Saturday night as the Irish were on the ropes against Temple throughout much of the second half before Deshone Kizer led his second game winning 4th quarter drive of his young career and it bubbled over on the Irish sidelines.

Brian Kelly has had a history of sideline outbursts in the past at Notre Dame earning the nickname “Purple Faced Kelly” on forums and blogs, but over the last few years we’ve seen a kinder, gentler Brian Kelly on the Irish sidelines before Saturday night’s exchange with David Grimes.

As this video makes the rounds on Sunday there is sure to be a lot of talk of this on the internet and on the air waves so we are likely going to hear a lot more about this.  Kelly is almost certainly going to be asked about it again on Sunday during his weekly Sunday presser as well and you can bet that he has had a talk about Jack Swarbrick about this since the conclusion of last night’s contest as well.   In fact, I’d be surprised if we didn’t hear Kelly make a comment apologizing for the incident and stating something along the lines of him needing to have more control of himself on the sidelines on Sunday.

You may also like


  1. I really felt sorry for the young coach that was manhandled by coach Kelly on the sideline. For me the incident oversaddowed the game and left a cloud of negative energy over the Notre Dame football program. The way you conduct yourself during the game is a large part of the development of these young men. As for coach Grimes, he showed complete self-control.

  2. Not the best way to handle the situation on National TV. My question is how many people do we need on the sideline?? Is the Asst strength coach really necessary on the sideline? Might wanna clean it up a bit.

  3. Exactly Shazam. I’ve been one, in the past, to criticize Kelly’s constant red-faced tirades every time is QBs come off the field with a negative result. Not because of the player’s feelings, but because it’s a completely counterproductive coaching method. He has improved dramatically in that area.

    One grown man, grabbing another grown man’s shirt to send a very clear message, when the game could be on the line? Oh the horror.

  4. JDH,

    I think Kelly handled it perfectly.

    Who wants a dead fish of a head coach.

    By its very design football is an emotional game.

    And sometimes in a close, tough game on the road, a spark is required, a fire needs to be lit under someone’s ass, some intense emotion needs to be displayed, the type of emotion that players feed off of, inspires them, allows them to refocus, and propels them to victory.

  5. If this was Lou Holtz, or more accurately the Holtz era, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. Could Kelly have handled it better? Probably. Are we living in an era of super-fantastic, precious feelings? Unfortunately.

  6. I saw it as having to “Escort” him away from harrassing an official. Cause and effect. Time constraints brought immediacy. Unfortunate, but had to be done. Sorry.

  7. Kelly should apologize. That was bush league behavior. I have no problem with yelling at the assistant coach, but laying hands on him was wrong.

  8. Are you guys not seeing how our captain Sheldon Day comes in and ushers Grimes away. Now THAT’s leadership!

  9. Completely agree Kelly did his job. That game was so close 15 yds could have been the difference.
    Cant believe these weak jokes complaining in this emotional situation.

  10. Kelly showed great leadership, even if it was physical, to back the coach away from the ref considering what that may have costed the team at that point in the game. I applaud Kelly for running over and doing that. In my opinion, there was no other way to handle that situation except physically move him away from the ref he was spattin at.

  11. If the assistant coach needed to be separated from the official, it should have been done without grabbing his collar while screaming and shoving. This was demeaning, and it casts ND in a bad light. Coach Kelly should be reprimanded.

  12. Couldn’t agree more with 45 and Patrick. If you watch the ref, it’s clear he’s talking to Grimes or Longo, probably warning that he’s ready to penalize. Who the hell does the assistant strength and conditioning coach think he is to be yelling at refs? That’s Kelly’s job. He knows how far to push, and has to be responsible for gauging that. If every angry assistant was free to vent upon the refs, it’d be pandemonium. Kelly did his job. Grimes should make the apology.

  13. Agree Patrick. No spinning involved. Grimes was the person stepping out of line. Kelly should be pissed that he had to take action. He will make it clear this will not be addressed again. So annoying when a person has to correct and hold another accountable for their own actions. Especially when offender should and does know better. Time didn’t allow for pussy footing either. End of story. Get over it. Good job Kelly. You saved another 15. Move on.

  14. I really like Coach Kelly which is why he needs anger management therapy before he does someting to get him fired like Woody Hayes did at the 1978 Gator Bowl.

  15. He was emotional. Plain and simple. He didn’t punch him. He didn’t submit him with an arm bar. Get over it.

    To me, this is no different than grabbing a players face mask and yelling at them. Which, Holtz did plenty of times – and I love the guy.

    The same group with their panties in a bunch would also be crying if Grimes was flagged and ND lost. We’d have to hear “Kelly can’t control his staff” and “Lack of control costs Irish game due to assistant coach.”

    Barring a punch, I have zero issues with this. Millions of dollars are on the line. As our millions of posts from whiny fans about why we can’t win tough games 😉

  16. This may have looked worse than it actually was…but a head coach is responsible for his actions on and off the field. The assistant, regardless of what he was saying, which did not look particularly volatile, could have been moved away from what appeared to be a discussion with an official by another coach in a less physical way. Should have, would have and could have been handled in a better way!

  17. That was embarrassing for Brian Kelly and the University of Notre Dame. Kelly needs to control his emotions. It is NEVER acceptable to put your hands on an employee. Not only did he assault David Grimes but he did it on a nationally televised game.

  18. It didn’t look good and spinning it won’t change it. He’s the head coach and has a higher standard of behavior. Politics is perception and this didn’t look like a leader in action, period.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button