Tommy Rees Spurns Brian Kelly and LSU to Stay at Notre Dame

Brian Kelly attempted to lure Marcus Freeman and Tommy Rees with him to LSU when he left Notre Dame abruptly on Monday night. Both have rejected their old boss’s offers, with Marcus Freeman taking over as head coach and Rees deciding to stay at his alma mater instead of chasing the money that LSU and Brian Kelly offered.

There were reports that LSU offered Rees over $1 million a year to run the Tigers offense. Instead, Rees will continue to run the Notre Dame offense, seemingly with more autonomy without Kelly at the helm, on new head coach Marcus Freeman’s staff.

Before news broke that Rees was staying at Notre Dame, the Notre Dame quarterbacks started tweeting #PayTommyRees with pictures of their offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach. Obviously a sign of players who wanted to continue to play for their coach. Reports surfaced before the Irish QBs tweeted their support that Notre Dame was working hard to keep Rees from following Kelly’s money trail to Baton Rouge, but seeing how much the Irish QBs wanted their coach to stay probably made Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame feel even better.

Rees and Freeman not following Kelly to LSU is massive for Notre Dame, and it means that Kelly will basically be building a whole new staff. However, he did say he was looking for a new challenge earlier today, so have fun with that, Brian. For Notre Dame, keeping both Freeman and Rees means this year’s recruiting class should likely stay largely, if not entirely intact, with just two weeks until the early signing day.

Rees, like Freeman, is seen as a rising star in the coaching ranks and will now get to put his stamp on the Irish offense with input from a head coach with an offensive background.

In addition to Rees and Freeman, Notre Dame retained strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Balis on Tuesday – the first significant domino to fall in all of this. There were no reports that Kelly attempted to lure Balis to LSU too, but head coaches usually want to bring their S&C coordinators with them. Kelly did when he left Cincinnati for Notre Dame with Paul Longo. Balis was one of the most vital pieces of the Brian Kelly 2.0 reboot in 2017 that revitalized the program. Keeping him was a huge win for Notre Dame.

As more and more assistant coaches announce their intentions to stay at Notre Dame, the less likely it is that the College Football Playoff committee will hold Kelly’s departure against Notre Dame should things fall like the Irish need them to this weekend.

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  1. Two aphorisms come to mind given the ND staff not following BK to LSU:

    “Don’t spit up”

    “You meet the same people on the way down you meet on the way up”

    BK seems to be a piece of dung as a human being and inspires no loyalty because he has no loyalty to anyone not named Brian Kelly!

    I’d love to see BK to turn to BVG as DC because he has no one left to turn to!

    1. Yeah, you know before now it was never really personal for me when it came to BK. I didn’t think he was elite coach material, but in the past it really didn’t go beyond that. If ND had won a NC under BK, that would have been just fine with me. And I recall you have said the same thing in the past.

      But the way he left this time? He really showed his true colors. I predict he will flop at LSU. He can’t coach at an elite level and LSU expects to actually win NC’s. And every assistant that spurns his offer of more money to go to LSU is more evidence that he wasn’t such a great boss. Rees has to be the real kicker. He was seen as being particularly groomed by BK, and for him to spurn BK has to sting. And I love it.

      I don’t think it will happen, but I would love for this ND team to actually win a major bowl game now that BK is gone. BK will try to claim some credit, but it will fall on deaf’s ears. We’ll all know they did it because he left. You know the players who feel slighted will want to give it their all as well. Don’t know if it will be enough. But I hope they play asses off in the bowl game.

  2. Though many here took glee in adding to the interminable diet of shit Rees had to take from Kelly, Rees has proven his mettle.
    A true ND man.

    1. Yeah, you know I wasn’t always sure I liked Rees as the OC, though I’m not sure how much of that was BK interference (Rees should pretty much have free reign now since Freeman is more a defense guy, so Rees might like the autonomy).

      But right now Rees is one of my favorite OC’s in the country. BK’s very own golden boy spurned his offer, including for likely more money, to stay at ND. That just brings a big smile to my face.

      1. Rees as QB was a scrappy, tough gamer. He fought with the tools he had, and got more out of them than many kids with far more.
        That required always thinking, not simply relying on athletic ability.
        An anti-Jameis Winston.

        Rees has gotten further in football than any fan would have imagined.
        A successful, bigtime OC. At 29.
        Rudy may have gotten the movie, but Rees is a better story.

  3. Yes I would love for Notredame to make the playoffs and then win it all and stick it to Kelly. Then in a year or 2 play LSU in the playoffs and wallop them 52 to 14.

  4. BK being spurned alone makes it all worth it. Rees, BKs chosen one, rejected him. Gotta love it.

    Looks like most everything will remain intact sans BK. Wouldn’t it be great if this team went all the way after BK leaves. Proving perhaps that it was BK all along standing in the way.

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