Jack Swarbrick Shoots Down Brian Kelly Rumors

Since the final gun sounded in last week’s season finale loss to USC, rumors have swirled around the status of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.   Reports surfaced he was looking to leave. Message boards lit up with “insider” posts suggesting Kelly was going to be forced to leave.  All the while Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick remained silent.  He broke his silence on Friday shooting down all those rumors and reaffirming Kelly will be back in 2017.

Swarbrick backed his embattled coach on the heels of a 4-8 record and mounting off the field issues that have been building since Everett Golson’s academic misconduct in 2013 that cost him his sophomore season and brought what looked like a promising season to a crashing halt that Memorial Day weekend.

This season was no different for Notre Dame.  It started with the off field issues of the arrests of a combined six different players in two separate incidents just weeks before the start of the season.  The incidents ended the Notre Dame career of Max Redfield and almost certainly that of Devin Butler.

Off the field issues aside, however, on field performance completely bottomed out this year for Kelly.  Notre Dame lost close  game after close game this season before getting blown out by USC last weekend.  Notre Dame careened to a 4-8 record after winning at least 7 games in every year of the Kelly era.

All of this created an ugly scene across the Notre Dame web this week.  Reports surfaced of Kelly talking with USC last year, Notre Dame lost 4-star linebacker commitment Pete Werner, and many in the national media loudly questioned whether Kelly and Notre Dame had a viable long term future.

How long term a future Brian Kelly has at Notre Dame still remains to be seen but at the very least we all know that Kelly will be back in 2017 and Notre Dame can officially move forward.  Kelly has no small task at hand as he looks to pick up the pieces from this year’s mess.  He has to find a new leader for a defense that has not been the same since Bob Diaco left to be the head coach at UConn.  He likely has to groom a new starting quarterback with almost every mock draft projecting Deshone Kizer as a top 5 pick. Kelly also has to evaluate his entire staff – especially the special teams – as Notre Dame suffered breakdowns on every level this year.

All the while, Kelly and his staff needs to find a way to close out a recruiting class that at one time looked like a lock for a top 10 finish and a likely top 5 finish.  The loss of Werner can be mitigated if Notre Dame secures a commitment from 4-star Ohio State decommitment Antjuan Simmons.  The commitment of Elijah Hicks is also hanging by a thread right now as well though so Kelly and staff have their work cut out for them.

After a week left twisting in the wind, we now know that Kelly will be back in 2017.  We don’t know if that is the right decision or not and we won’t until we see what the Irish look like in the fall.

Can Kelly rekindle that 2012 magic with a likely first year starting quarterback?  Or will Kelly go back to his well of familiar coaches, pick a defensive coordinator who he’s comfortable with, and have the kind of season next year that’s not awful, not great and still leaves us wondering if he is capable of taking this program where it needs to go?

Only time will tell.

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61 Comments

  1. who the hell are you people to think anybody should be fired? what the hell do you have to say about how notre dame runs its football program? arrogance personified!

      1. Hey, “tommyboy”,

        Who the hell are you to tell anyone what they can think or say?! Hillary Clinton?! Don’t like to hear criticism of ND football, do you? Get out of here and go somewhere else. You know the old saying. Don’t like what you’re seeing on the TV, change the channel.

        George,

        I think “tommyboy” is on meds!

      1. And you, the personification of idiocy, “HURLS,” know all these issues and more, I figure?!

        You, sir, are either in reality an anti-ND troll on this site or the biggest loser I’ve ever met. Is this clear enough what I think of your opinions?

        When not speaking undecipherable gibberish you are making excuses for the inexcusable. We don’t need “Burgy’s” archive of past posts to know all you do is make excuses for BK and his lousy coaching.

        Please go take your indignation and shove it! You and tommyboy can go on believing your fairy tales.

        GO IRISH!

  2. Although I’d be happy to see BK go, I can’t lay the academic scandal/forfeiting wins at his feet. What the NCAA is doing isn’t right.

    Unless I got the facts wrong, here’s what happened:
    -ND self-reported the incident
    -This violation no longer exists under the NCAA rules & regs. If BK did this tomorrow, he’d be in no trouble.
    -As soon as this incident was reported, all the players involved were suspended until the conclusion of the investigation. All of them missed at least half the season. All players were punished at least half of a season no matter what was uncovered.
    -As soon as the investigation was reported, ND as part of its policy removed the head coach from the process. ND did its investigation and then told BK their findings upon its conclusions. He had no hand in any cover-up or any misdeeds once the incident was reported.

    I’m curious to see what happens with this upon appeal.

    1. I believe that’s correct. Perhaps BK created an environment that allowed this to occur, but ND did do everything right once they found out.

      The NCAA are a bunch of hypocrites. They’re laughable, I mean, look at UNC where there was actual collusion with the school.

  3. An honest question. I started the season fully in BK’s camp. Like other BK apologists, I made what I see now as foolish excuses for his shortcomings. The Duke game was a splash of cold water for sure, and it only got worse to the point where I think BK has to go.

    Where did it go wrong? Honestly. Almost any other coach with BK’s history would have continued being successful. There is too many successful seasons BK has had at his prior stops for me to say he was a one trick pony. He made Cincinnati relevant when he was there, no small feat. He got players to play above his level there and even got players to shift positions and be successful. What was it at ND that he was unable to replicate that success?

    I do ask that honestly because I think ND needs to do some self-evaluation too. Are there unnecessary stumbling blocks that ND puts in the way. Make no mistake, I blame this year 100% on coaching first. But that doesn’t mean ND shouldn’t look within itself as well.

    Let’s be honest, every coach starts somewhere. Urban Meyer won NC’s at Florida and Ohio State. But he didn’t wake up a ND head coach. He spent years as an assistant and then as HC of Utah, hardly a CFB powerhouse a la Florida or Ohio State when he started there. Nick Saban, too, had to work his way up. All signs pointed to BK continuing to build on his success when ND hired him. It’s easy to lay 20/20 hindsight and say he’s a bad coach. But when ND hired him it was lauded as not just a good hire, but a home run hire for ND. The media, hardly a group to sing ND’s praises, thought finally ND got the man it needed to win NC’s. Where did it all go wrong?

    1. Sorry for the typo, I meand to say Meyer didn’t wake up a NC head coach, not ND (Freudian slip perhaps). Also he got players to play above their level. (I wish there was a way to edit posts)

    2. Watch the video again. It is clear winning is not a priority. Having an AD who thinks this way might be considered an “unnecessary stumbling block.”

      1. That’s certainly an argument. But it still makes me wonder why BK failed at ND when other coaches with the same history he had coming in would have been successful (maybe not NC year after year, but at least in the conversation).

        I’m not totally anti-Swarbick. I believe there are things they have done that have been positives, mostly from a structural standpoint trying to bring ND to the 21st century. But he is floundering when it comes to BK. But I wonder how much control does he really exert over football at ND. Is there someone above him that’s preventing him from making a move? There are obviously economic considerations, and he is at fault for signing BK for a contract extension. But there is a lot of behind the scenes things that go on at ND that we don’t hear a lot about (which maybe interfere some with ND football success as well). Honestly, I don’t know the answer there.

    1. You can’t be to hard on swarbrick.
      During his time:
      He let Weis go and did not negotiate a lower payout
      Declin Sullivan
      Lizzy seeburg
      Weed
      Gun
      Traded grass for plastic
      Hired the biggest loser in nd football
      History
      Academic scandal
      Forfeited two seasons
      Put up with the worst defensive coordinator in nd history
      Traded winning for fancy shoes uniforms and helmets
      Confirmed that mediocrity is acceptable
      And that we should get used to it

  4. I think Swarbrick and Kelly should both be fired. I am convinced that Kelly, for whatever reason, cannot properly prepare his team to play fast, fundamentally sound, physical football in all three phases (special teams, offense and defense). Strength and conditioning needs an upgrade starting now, as the Irish couldn’t “bring it” for four quarters throughout the season.

  5. Well if they want to keep Kelly.. I’ll keep my money and my Saturday afternoons free. I’m just one man.. but it’s guys like me and many of you who drive or fly across country every year to see them play. I’ve spent 1000’s on tickets..parking.. hotels.. gear.. all to see the Irish play for 27 years. If they accept mediocre seasons and coaches.. them that’s not good enough for me anymore. Their standards and attitudes are too high in the clouds to ever be elite again.

  6. I guess being 60 years is a curse and a blessing. I got to see Notre dame win 4 national championships. I also have that to compare to the last 22 years of mediocrity. Watching the championship games this week it was so evident to everyone except Jack how much better coached all the teams are than Notre dame in every facet of the game, defense, offense, special teams in game and half time adjustments. I guess we can only hope Kelly. Can make some good hires and make some good changes within the program. I do believe Notre dame has really good talent it just isn’t being used and developed.

    1. Well I’m 66 and I have seen more than you and can easily see that it is a far different era than the “Era of Ara” or even of Lou Holtz, who had 4 consecutive number one recruiting classes and won one title though he was in the hunt in two others. I loved both Ara and Lou, Ara for his classiness and Lou for his preparation and spunk but it is way more difficult to achieve consistent success today because of the limitation on scholarships and the players leaving early for the NFL. The only two that have been able to achieve this consistency have been Saban and Meyer and both of them are dealing with a different set of parameters when it comes to recruiting. Kelly truly dug us out of a hole and has sent players to the NFL who are performing well and were nothing until he helped develop them. This year is somewhat on him but also a lot on the execution by the players who were very young. Next year should be different if they keep the faith. If the negativity from this year seeps into next year then a change may be necessary but I think this was just an aberration this year with our young players unable to execute at crunch time. I do not care how much NFL potential a player has, it does not mean he is a mature enough player yet to handle the pressure of winning. This usually comes over time and I expect if the players keep the faith with the coaches it will happen.

      1. Kelly dug us out of a hole by embarrassing the University in several ways, including a wretched four win season. Boy are we fortune. Just keep the faith and it will all work out.

  7. Notre Dame is the team of green goons. Save the money, rescue a dog, let him wear a kilt, and you have better representation of Irish. Therefore, chill. Tooucg red faced panties in a bunch. The players need love, and a coach that respects the English language, no swearing please. They need dignity.

  8. BK is a garbage coach, and ND is perfectly content with him. Yet BK is the one out exploring other options. But it turns out that no other teams want him, college or pro. Therefore I’m starting to think BK will be at ND for long, long time. The players would need to conjure a mutiny to get him out, as it sounds like Jack values player happiness well above wins and losses.

    Somehow I knew that women’s basketball would surface during this interview. Very telling.

  9. So Jack is satisfied with absolute incompetence on the field because the players developed a bond, showed enthusiasm and a willingness to practice. Talk about low standards. But hey, Jenkins rubber stamps it all, and apparently none of the boosters or trustees have a voice. The future is bright. Blind leading the blind.

  10. All you naysayers you will get your Christmas gift afterall. Bk will probably resign after He gets the new signees in early Feb. You gotta be patient.

    1. Yup, almost thirty years without a NC. You gotta be patient!

      How revealing that when the Cubs goy bought by an owner who wanted to win and got a FO, led by Epstein who knew how to win, and spent the money on talented players, they broke a 108-year old drought.

      Perhaps the Ricketts family can buy ND and make Epstein the president. Then ND might actually win something!

      I’m joking of course to make a point. The ND administration is now where the Cubs organization had been for decades. So long as Wrigleyville was full, everything was OK. Same thing in S. Bend now. So long as the stands are full the ND administration doesn’t care to win.

      Then again neither does “Magic Mike” from the look of it.

      1. Big difference we can’t pay players and they have to mature as players after we recruit them and we don’t always get the best players.

      2. Bottom line is this: If the excuse makers are right and ND can not longer compete consistently at this level, then it’s time for the university to move on from football or join the Ivy League. This mediocrity is unacceptable regardless of the explanations or excuses that can be had.

        Either modify your student-athlete requirements or modify your expectations to something like Northwestern football year in and year out. It’s clear that ND’s talent is just not there. Sure, player development stinks. That’s all on BK and his staff. But no ND coach now or in the future can be expected to win regularly with ND’s requirements. I’m not saying become State U. Just go back to whatever was happening under Lou. No one can tell me that Rocket Ishmael, Tony Rice, Rickey Waters, and Jerome Bettis were all rocket scientists!

      3. SFR, I’m not sure recruiting is the major problem. They always hauled in decent recruits even going back to Weis. I’m not saying they shouldn’t make adjustments in some areas and adapt. But with the players they have and this year’s schedule there is no excuse for a minimum 10-2 season, minimum. I blame this abomination on coaching, frankly, 100%.

        I think ND should always look at ways to adapt to the changing CFB landscape. At the same time, I don’t want them to overcompensate for what is most clearly a bad coach. BK needs to compensate for his obvious shortcomings (unfortunately I don’t see that he has that ability, though as a fan of ND, I hope he proves me wrong)

  11. Thank Jack this was the correct call. Next year will prove you right, however, we do need an exceptionally good DC. DomerBill

  12. I was really hoping BK was going to leave on his own. Our only hope is BK does a complete top to bottom re-evaluation. I honestly don’t see that happening, but it’s all we have. I certainly don’t hope for another year like this one so I have to hope BK cleans things up and somehow turns things around. I do believe next year will be his last chance. Another year like this one and he will be gone next year. But we are stuck with him for one more year, which I sort of expected unless he left on his own.

  13. One of the best coaches in the country is looking for a job… Les Miles.. and we will be stuck with the red faced screamer that hasn’t won diddly in 7 years! And before anyone says he brought ND back.. look at his record against actual good teams and ranked teams! What a joke ND football has become.. and will continue to fall.

  14. Kelly will be back for another year. This is great news for the fighting irish. This team was really close this year. Next year will be Awesome. Loads of talent coming back and with Kelly returning the top tier high school talent will be lining up to get to ND. Wait till next year.

    1. I think you’re delusional Jeff… but I swear, I hope like heck you’re right.
      However, I believe one more year will only delay the inevitable.

  15. Kelly starting next season will result in the same if not worse record than this awful season. He has made changes in all the wrong areas with reference to ND culture… fake grass…goffy team apperal…team wearing sweat suits instead of real suits when going to mass and then the walk to the stadium… this might seam petty but this has changed the core values and fabric of ND. It is what sets ND apart from all the other schools! Kelly simply doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about ND culture.
    Simply time for Kelly to go! Sooner than later please!

  16. Clearly there’s very little emphasis on winning football games at this university. Jack says winning is important, BUT…. And that this year’s team was remarkable in terms of its identify. What a meaningless rationalization. He’s thrown in the towel (assuming they were ever trying to win in the first place).

    1. They don’t need to win. Too many people are willing to fork over obscene amounts of money for a slightly better than average team. People are paying big bucks when they could buy a DVD or a coffee table book reliving long past glory. And then folks are effectively playing the lottery that each next year will be the year.
      So why does the team need to win? The administration wants money for the pampered lifestyle on a campus that makes a country club look like a ghetto. Championships are tough.

  17. ND Football is too much for Brian Kelly. He is out if his depth, does not fill the shoes, the pants are too large.

  18. I just lost my appetite reading this. Brian Kelly and Jack swarbrick look like weasels. Just look at them in a picture together. Brian Kelly with his fat chubby face and Jack swarbrick with his big nose. I just can’t take another season of these Jokers don’t know how anyone could back them or support them. I’ve never been more ashamed of Notre Dame that now. Brian Kelly Lacks a major important quality has no morals whatsoever. Complete fat lazy douchebag! Brian Kelly please leave leave now. I’ve talked to many former players about this loser and cannot believe he still able to recruit Elite Talent. What’s the point of having Elite Talent when you’re coaching is absolutely terrible.

  19. Makes me sick to my stomach!! I will be selling my football tickets for next season. Brian Kelly and Jack swarbrick need to go they make me sick and make the program a joke.

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