Brian Kelly Denies Reports He is Looking to Leave Notre Dame

Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports

It took about three or four hours from Notre Dame’s latest and greatest loss of the 2016 season for reports to surface that Brian Kelly is a least exploring options outside of Notre Dame already.  Both Yahoo and ESPN reported sources have told them Kelly is looking to bolt from Notre Dame following the disastrous 4-8 season that culminated in a 45-21 loss to USC Saturday night.  Kelly, however, has been quick to deny the reports.

Around 3:30 AM, Notre Dame released the following statement from Kelly:

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position.

I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I am fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

The timing of the release is interesting.  The lack of quotes from anyone other than Brian Kelly is also interesting.

Releasing that statement at 3:30 in the morning suggests that Kelly at least wanted to squash these reports as quickly as possible.  Not having anyone else quote – like say Jack Swarbrick – could be interesting as well.  To this point, no one other than Brian Kelly has said he will be returning in 2017 other than Jack Swarbrick back in October before losses to Navy, USC, and Virginia Tech.

The timing here is a stark contrast to Kelly’s flirtation with the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL following the 2012 season.  In that instance, days passed before Kelly and Notre Dame issued a joint statement that Kelly was returning to Notre Dame.  This time around, Kelly waited just hours to state that he was intending on coming back.

It could be a very interesting few days, however, as rumors began to circulate late last week that Kelly’s future at Notre Dame was anything but certain.  A 24 point loss in which one of his players – Jerry Tillery – publicly embarrassed the program and University in the process couldn’t have done anything to solidify his status for 2017.

Kelly was asked specifically yesterday following the 24 point loss tot he Trojans if his immediately returning to Notre Dame instead of staying on the west coast recruiting as he has in years past was any indication that his job wasn’t safe.  Kelly claims that is not the case and for some reason this year he is more interested in exit interviews with current players than recruiting in the short term.   That ought to help with any west coast recruits.

Anyway, for now Kelly is denying he is looking to leave and for now no one at Notre Dame has jumped to his defense that he is definitely returning.  Speculation will most likely not die without some sort of statement from Jack Swarbrick that Kelly will indeed be his head coach next year.


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      1. Especially if looking around means talking to USC! Real guts there, BK. But perhaps Burgy can spare some time off from Mike “Dumblin” to smoke on BK’s cigar?!

        Stay classy, like the late-great Freddie Blassie!

  1. The search for the next coach needs to get beyond win loss records or even schemes. It needs to get to what would motivate a coach to want Notre Dame to be a winning program vying for a national championship every year.

    Look at the records previous of Holtz, Devine, and Parseghian. Each had periods of great success and also some average or below average seasons. None were hot going into the Notre Dame job but each was highly motivated and did exceptional at Notre Dame.

    Therefore it might be interesting to look at coaches who have been successful but also have had recent setbacks. They may be the most motivated and among them might be one who specifically wants Notre Dame to reach the heights again.

  2. So many complainers who don’t know anything about football other than speak in cliches. And you kind of blaming him for Tillery’s actions is absurd. Every one in the country wanted Tillery and he became an even more popular figure after Showtime gave him so much air last year. He is one of the players that was featured as a model student. What ever supports your argument at the time you publish. What a joke. Kelly has more of a chance of turning it around next year with the players that much more experienced and mature. A lot of young guys were playing, at least not because of wholesale injuries this year, although there were a few key ones such as Shaun Crawford and one key offensive component missing all year in the form of Alize Jones. Kelly will turn it around next year and he deserves that chance. You don’t go from doing your best coaching job to becoming a bad coach or Ron Rivera would be gone from Carolina this year.

    1. Get out of here with this crap. Inexperience and injuries are the same exact excuses that people like you keep regurgitating Every. Single. Year. This was a FOUR WIN SEASON. So just stop. If you still think BK can coach, then fine, but support your argument without these tired excuses. Tell me why losing 8 games has you so optimistic.

      1. George,

        I’ve said it over and over: with these excuse mongering losers we don’t need trolls or ND haters on this site! They do the job for them.

        My God, if I did my job as poorly as BK does his, I would’ve been fired years ago. But, then again, I wouldn’t have anyone like Ray trying to justify my incompetence either.

        Another sad irony is that these same apologists who give BK a free pass on everything and blame everything on anyone but BK would then give him and him alone all the credit if he in fact turned things around. So, right now, the problem with ND football are the players and the other coaches. Not BK. Not one bit. But if ND were to go 12-0 next season, then we wouldn’t hear about what a great job the players and coaches did. No. We’d hear all about how great BK is.

        Today the rhetoric is BK doesn’t commit the penalties, miss the tackles, drop passes, or throw INTs. Tomorrow the rhetoric would be what a genius BK is, and nothing about the players making plays.

        Utter hypocrisy!

        Go Irish!

      2. Shazhole,

        My advice is try pissing on another tree.

        There’s an old adage that it’s better to keep quiet and have people think you’re a fool rather than speak up and confirm people’s suspicions.

        Try keeping your mouth shut, Shazhole. You’d be doing yourself and everybody else a favor!

      1. Better soggy fries than the stale shit you serve up, Shazhole!

        How’s the crap smell so far up your own ass?! At least you must be used to it by now.

        Keep on trying, though, little man.

  3. The program is a sinking ship. Drastic changes must happen. At this point I would take any coach over BK. At there would be a glimmer of hope then, as opposed to the certainty of more of the same next year.

  4. Notre Dame takes a lot of money from good people for what?
    Notre Dame has been average or worse the last 20 years. Ticket prices have soared. Parking is now more expensive than tickets were in the 80s. An obscene addition to the stadium for the country club set. Throwing out several traditions.

    How does the University justify the increases and expenditures with such mediocre performance. Build a museum and charge for that. Build a Frank Leahy playland to folks can dress up in 1940s clothing and relive the glory.

    That’s all there is until someone proves otherwise.

  5. This isn’t the 1st instance of him looking elsewhere while being the head coach at ND (like the article referenced). I don’t think I’m naive in thinking that the ND job isn’t a stepping stone position. It’s a destination position. Enough already with this. For me, I say cut ties and give the guy at Western Michigan a shot.

  6. I hope he does go. If I’m Notre Dame I would take a real look at Les Miles. Why Miles. 1- he coached and had good success in the toughest conference in college football. 2- has recruiting ties to fertile South- Louisiana in particular. 3- players loved and respected him. 4 – good game day coach. Teams always were good on defense, special teams. 5- many years of d1 coaching experience. 6- Midwest ties. 7.. the only drawback and he admits to this is he should have run a more modern offense. Said in an interview he would be willing to hire a big time o coordinator . His teams always ran the ball well.

    1. Do you really think Les Miles is the one for this job? His time and clock management are horrendous. His offense is in the prehistoric days of football and he can not develop a qb. No, I see no Les Miles in ND’s future.

      1. I think Pete makes some excellent points. If Miles were hired and left Sanford in place and in complete control of the offense you’d see a much better all around team. He’s had quite a bit of success in the toughest conference in football. A head coach doesn’t need to be a n offensive guru if he’s got the right Offensive Coordinator and LSU has always had tough defensive teams.

      2. He beat Saban and has .780 win percentage at an SEC west school in 13 yrs… that’s all we need to know.. oh and he recruits second to none!!

    2. Finally… someone can see how obvious Miles is as a home run candidate… the man WINS and recruits like crazy! Plus he’s just a damn good guy!

      1. Les Miles, Brian Kelly and Gerry Dinardo are three recruiters of exemplary quality. Kelly for quarterbacks, Miles for pass defense, Dinardo for tailbacks.

  7. Seb, I retired from operating a Catholic gift Shop. I sold a lot of St. Sebastian medlas to young Mothers. i was curious to know what He was the Patron Saint of. “unruly children”

  8. BK leaving would be a huge favor by BK to ND, letting them off the hook so ND can expend all its resources on the next coach, rather than being saddled by a big payout over the next several years.

    ND absolutely must strike gold next time around. I thought BK was our last chance, but I really think 2012 (NCAA penalties notwithstanding) gave the Irish one more shot. By proving ND could win every regular season game in a tough schedule (don’t let anyone tell you 2012 was an easy schedule, it was one of the top 5 toughest schedules that year), it showed ND is at least capable of being an elite team. Even if we haven’t crossed that threshold yet. It will give potentially good coaches something to think about. But ND is going to have to consider their salary. You won’t get top talent at bargain basement prices. If all those that bankroll ND’s football success want ND to be elite again, they are going to have to pay the right coach the right amount of money.

    Again, a huge reason why BK leaving on his own would be a big help.

  9. I don’t blame Kelly for not staying California for recruiting purposes. Not after this year. Not after the way the Irish played against USC, and especially not after the way Tillery/Jillery acted.

    It’s clear that Kelly has lost the team. He has lost the fan base. He seems like a defeated man.

    The 3:30am tweet eerily brings to mind another person destined for epic failure – Donald J. Trump.

    1. thank you mrs. clinton. now back to notre dame. the brian kelly regime is where quarterback careers come to die. he is an overrated ass! i have been saying it since the day he was hired. NOT THE GUY FOR THE JOB! too much talent on this team to be 4 and 8! the staff (other than denson the rb coach) sucks out loud! the only thing i can figure is brian kelly has blackmail photos of the AD!

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