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. tommy651 3 years ago

    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!

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    1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

      Yeah, you go Tommy!

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    2. George 3 years ago

      Grandpa’s off his meds again

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      1. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

        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!

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      2. George 3 years ago

        tommyboy has been eating paint chips

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    3. HURLS 3 years ago

      I’m with tommy651. And I’m disgusted with all you idiots who don’t understand there’s more to this or any issue than you know.

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      1. SteelFanRob 3 years ago

        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!

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      2. George 3 years ago

        Stop embarrassing yourself

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  2. Mike 3 years ago

    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.

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    1. Damian 3 years ago

      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.

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  3. Damian 3 years ago

    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?

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    1. Damian 3 years ago

      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)

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    2. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      Many of your assumptions and sweeping generalizations are false

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    3. George 3 years ago

      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.”

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      1. Damian 3 years ago

        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.

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  4. mike burns 3 years ago

    Maybe Swarbrick should have been asked if his job was secure.

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    1. George 3 years ago

      Why wouldn’t it be? Everything is going great at ND.

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    2. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      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

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      1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

        You forgot global warming and unrest in the Middle East.

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  5. Alley O'Cat 3 years ago

    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.

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  6. Jeremy 3 years ago

    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.

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    1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

      Initiate your Plan B.

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  7. pete calco 3 years ago

    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.

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    1. Ray 3 years ago

      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.

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      1. George 3 years ago

        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.

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  8. bruce johnson 3 years ago
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    1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

      This is Santa’s email, correct?

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  9. Jack Lamoge 3 years ago

    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.

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    1. George 3 years ago

      Completely inappropriate usage of the word “therefore.”

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  10. George 3 years ago

    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.

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