Report: Brian Kelly’s Reps Talked to USC Last Year?

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Hours after the Notre Dame season ended with a blowout loss at the hands of USC, reports surfaced that Brian Kelly was exploring his options.  Those rumors were refuted by Kelly in the middle of the night with a 3:30 AM early Sunday release.  A couple days later the circus surrounding Kelly continues.  A report from USA Today states that last year a conversation on Kelly’s behalf took place with arch rival USC last year during the Trojans search for a head coach.


Here’s the report:

The tension between Notre Dame, Kelly and his agent Trace Armstrong dates to last season when, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, there was at least a conversation on behalf of Kelly with Southern Cal, who ultimately gave the job to Clay Helton. After that, Notre Dame awarded Kelly a six-year extension, and you can’t blame the school for being upset that its loyalty is being repaid less than a year later by rumors that he’s looking to leave.

If true, that’s a bit of a bombshell that shockingly, no one is talking about today.  Some will say that it’s just an agent doing his job on behalf of his client, but at some point, loyalty needs to be a part of the job description for the head coach at Notre Dame.  The head coaching position at Notre Dame is not a launching off point or a bargaining chip and shouldn’t be treated that way.

Saturday’s fiasco with the news of Kelly exploring his options and quickly refuted felt orchestrated.   It should be noted that Kelly’s agent Trace Armstrong also represents new Texas head coach Tom Herman.  The same Tom Herman who was reported set to take the head coaching job at LSU on Saturday night before the Tigers promoted interim head coach Ed Orgeron Sunday morning.

None of this should be all too surprising though.  Kelly’s infamous flirtation with the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles on the heels of the blowout loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship almost four years ago suggested that Kelly wasn’t exactly fully committed to Notre Dame and that he could one day leave on his own.  Four years later, it’s entirely possibly  that Kelly might end up leaving involuntarily.

Kelly now sits alone in first place with the most losses of any Notre Dame coach of all time with 31 – one more than Lou Holtz.  Holtz, however with 100 games to go with his 30 losses and 1 tie.  Kelly has won just 59 games to his 31 losses in seven seasons at Notre Dame.  Average that out and you get a little over 8 wins a season and more than 4 losses.

SI Dubs Notre Dame Football THE New Offensive Line U

The hostility between Kelly and Notre Dame fans is also on the verge of reaching a boiling point and Kelly finds himself securely in first place on the Coaches Hot Seat Rankings.  All the while Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick has been quiet since the season ended.  Swarbrick gave Kelly the dreaded voted of confidence following Notre Dame’s loss to Stanford in October, but with rumors and speculation flying, he’s let Kelly twist in the wind since this disastrous season finally came to an end.

Swarbrick’s silence is not doing the Notre Dame recruiting efforts any favors.  Notre Dame just lost 4-star linebacker commitment Pete Werner this morning and the commitment of defensive back Elijah Hicks is reportedly hanging on by a thread.

All the meanwhile, some in the national media are loudly questioning how Notre Dame can continue to support Kelly.  As are some in the local media.  The question remains, however, if the powers that be at Notre Dame are questioning the same behind closed doors.  Without some sort of statement from Swarbrick reiterating Kelly will be back in 2017, rumors and speculation will continue to swirl.

For now, the silence is deafening though.



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  1. SubwayAlum 3 years ago

    @ C-Dog…you are my new hero.

    I wonder, are Burg and Shazzam…the same person? In the past I’ve asked both to say something positive in ND’s favor. Best I got from either was, … I’m positive, i hate ND!

    RB is a tOSU fanatic? No sh*t?

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  2. Mike 3 years ago

    There are confirmed reports that there is a private jet left South Bend going to Eugene Oregon. You can track it and everything. Hours after Oregon fired their head coach. It could be a coincidence. BK can be going on a recruiting trip. But it is curious timing…

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    1. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      Report out that they are willing to negotiste exit deal with bk

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    2. Damian 3 years ago

      BK would do ND a huge favor if he left on his own. That would free them up to use all their resource on the next coach, rather than being hamstrung by a large payout.

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    3. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

      There’s also a report of a Yeti sighting in Russia.
      Stay tuned.

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      1. Mike 3 years ago

        It’s Yenta, not Yeti.

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      2. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

        Nope, it’s Yeti.

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      3. Mike 3 years ago

        I assume you don’t know what Yenta means because there’s far more of them in the world than Yeti.

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      4. Shazamrock 3 years ago

        A midget Yenti is a Yoda…. there are very few of them…. on this planet.
        Most are indigenous to Sosmali

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      5. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

        Confirmed report of a private jet heading to the Dagobah system today, apparently to meet with said Yoda. Curious timing

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      6. Mike 3 years ago

        Who are you calling a Dago?

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    4. Patrick 3 years ago

      We can only hope that it was a one way ticket!!

      They can have BK. He is NOT a big time coach, he should head back to GVSU.

      Tomorrow by 1 in the afternoon, the AD needs to announce that the new HC at ND is Les Miles, and then we will begin winning again. He is a proven leader, and loyal! He stuck it out with LSU even after he knew they were talking about firing him. That is loyalty. You can’t blame him for this year’s season, imagine working and operating under that pressure and environment. BTW he is still loved at LSU and The Nola area. He was a great spokesman for that program. He would actually get the football program turned around.

      Knowing ND they will hire Fleck another Gerry Faust/BK type coach, he is NOT ready for big time! However once this train wreck is over ND won’t be in the big ten, the MAC will be more likely. I think there are some MAC teams that can beat Navy and Duke.

      This will be NDs last chance to return to realivance. ND may soon be a great historical footnote in college football history. In fact the train wreck that is happening right now, may have already started the process of the ending. What a joke this has turned into. And going from ND to Oregon, don’t look now but ND just became a jumping off point for coaches to get to a competitive football school.

      This sucks!!

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      1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

        Sing it with me Pat.
        The sun will come up tomorrow….

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      2. Patrick 3 years ago

        Ron B-
        Stay classy!!

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      3. Patrick 3 years ago

        Ron B- stay classy

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    5. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      I hear that the eagles sent a jet to pick him up and fly him back to grand valley prairie state?

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    6. DeafStorm 3 years ago

      Is today April 1st?

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  3. Jack 3 years ago

    I think that ND needs a culture change. Wine and cheese crowds don’t win football National Championships. The Administration at this University looks at Football as a necessary evil to keep the money rolling in. Many will say they have trust funds that will run the University forever, but I beg to differ. If ND fans are truly disgusted with the state of the program I have a solution. Stop buying tickets, stop buying sweatshirts, hats, jackets, shoes, any merchandise and stop donating. The only way they will change and realize their business model isn’t working is when the faithful stop supporting. Until that happens you will get more of the same.

    ND is no longer a visionary in college sports rather an imitator. Rockne change how football was played and forced the University to do things it didn’t want to do. I like the stadium rebuild, much to the disappointment of many on this site, but it needed upgraded. I don’t like the rigidness of the administration to not provide services for football players, such as academic, living quarters and other things other Universities offer to their players. I agree the education is excellent, but most of your players that are going to bring a NC to the University will way other things and many State U’s will get you a job after you graduate with alumni.

    So, ND needs to sell itself to it’s players and coaches. It doesn’t currently, it wants to throw it brand down and says we are ND. My response if I’m a player is as follows:

    Everyone plays on TV now
    You haven’t been relevant in any type of college football playoff or BCS games in my life time
    You get crushed in every major bowl game you play in
    You offer a great education, but I don’t see how you help players with classroom problems
    Your coach doesn’t want to be here and has sent feelers out for the past 4 years. You also paid a coach for many years that didn’t coach.

    Compared to other Universities your organization is run poorly.

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    1. Damian 3 years ago

      I tend to agree. There is room for ND to make adjustments. I think there are certain absolutes (ND shouldn’t have to sell its soul for an NC), but there’s plenty of wiggle room. There shouldn’t be a rigid set of standards.

      I also agree the stadium upgrades were necessary. Kids today look at things like that, and they are going to look down at a stadium that looks old and dated to them. Throwback, classic (such as the slashes still in the end zones), that’s ok. No names on the uniforms for most games has that classic feel as well. But it can’t look old and dated. I do think they did a good job threading the needle on that.

      Another improvement was the training table, but they have to keep moving forward. They need to look at things that Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC all have that attract kids. ND can adapt those sorts of things to attract kids to ND without sacrificing itself as an academic institution.

      But all that being said, ND has still pulled in good recruiting classes. I think changes can improve recruiting, but the problem this year was coaching. Maybe we were dreaming that ND was a NC caliber team this year. BUT, they had the players that they should be a nightmare 4-8 team, not by a long shot. IMHO they should be no worse then 10-2. They need to settle the coaching now. At this point I want BK gone, but if they are keeping him, then they need to say so now, not later. This hanging in the wind is hurting ND and hurting recruiting more than the record already is.

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    2. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      Well said they seem to be invested in their mistakes and refuse to denial no leadership from anyone

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    3. MikeT 3 years ago

      I doubt that’s how the mind of an average 18 year old kid thinks.

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    4. SubwayAlum 3 years ago

      @ Jack. I suggest you take a ‘rifle’ rather than a ‘shotgun’ approach when you comment negatively on ND. It’s not ND, it’s Swarbrick and Kelly you should be attacking. We should all refine our focus. It was once a 3 headed monster (w/BVG). It’s now down to only two heads. ND will always be relevant, just in some years, more so than others.

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  4. DeafStorm 3 years ago

    Loyalty goes both ways.  The team and the fans should be loyal to the coaches as the coaches should be loyal to them and the school.  It was apparent that there was trouble when BK made the comment about “his” players.  He also broke his loyalty when he went to talk to the Eagles.  No coach that is looking out for his team would ever consider doing that.  But instead of being reprimanded, he was rewarded.

    This past year his play calling came to disbelief.  Was he deliberately trying to lose?  Is he playing games?  Trying to make a point?  What is going on?

    This team had enough talent to win more games.  Why didn’t they play to their potential?  Much of this falls on the coaches.  I can’t believe what I saw though.  Stepping on an opponent’s hand?  The attitude of some of the players.  Are they above playing for ND?  Are they so good that they don’t need to try?  Show what you can do with your performance, not your mouth.

    If BK is really a ND man he needs to do the right thing.  Do what is best for ND and leave so they can start over and repair this mess.

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  5. jeff 3 years ago

    Oregon wasted very little time showing Helfrich the door. His success/failure in his short stay at Oregon was similar to BKs. Helfrich will receive in the neighborhood of $11 million still owed to him. What are you waiting for Swarbrick?

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  6. C-Dog 3 years ago

    Kelly is Duranko’s boy and shame on all of you for forgetting your mindless loyalty oath to Duranko and his version of reality.

    Where are you now Duranko?

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    1. SteelFanRob 3 years ago


      I guess “Duranko” has gone the way of the dodo bird.

      There used to be another “duranko” on this site years ago when I first started here. He was a really decent guy. I don’t know what happened to him.

      But don’t fret, C-Dog. We still have “Shaz”, “HURLS”, and “Burgundy” to entertain and enlighten us with their wit and wisdom. Plus, don’t forget about “bb” and his all-encompassing knowledge of football. After all, he knows the difference between the pro set and spread option. Who else here can match his peerless knowledge of the game?! He’s also smarter and a better writer than me, don’t dare forget that nugget of wisdom from “bb”.

      And then there’s the priceless “bruce johnson”. I’ll give him credit for being among the first to call out BK for being a fraud. But his endless calls for Urban Meyer are just too much to handle. It’s like “Groundhog Day” listening to him.

      GO IRISH!

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      1. C-Dog 3 years ago

        Well Maybe Duranko will be the next head coach. He will demand loyalty akin to a certain German dictator.

        And Burghy can be the top assistant. He will have no ideas of his own. But he will walk the sidelines making snarky useless comments to the players.

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      2. SteelFanRob 3 years ago


        Brilliant idea. “HURLS” can be the AD, while “Shaz” will take over for Fr. Jenkins as university president.

        That way the hierarchy would be:

        “Duranko,” HC;
        “Burgy,” DC (can you picture “Burgy” doing his best BVG impression?);
        “bb,” OC (he knows the difference between the spread and pro style);
        “HURLS”, AD;
        “Shaz,” President (that way he can appoint Hillary as his provost)

        Real collection of top-flight talent! ND will be “great again” for sure!

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  7. NDscotsmen92 3 years ago

    BK….looks constipated ..agitated…ok

    ..blames coaches..players..NOT OK….Games that COULD have been victories…many ,many times falls on the coach.When the team is up against the wall over and over…the result falls on Coaches. By the way…as the article states Lou Holtz had 30 losses….but also stated Lou had 100 wins…I NEVER THOUGHT OF LOU AS ONE WITH THE MOST GAMES LOST….CLASSIC WINS…UNFORGETTABLE….Miami.USC..:Florida…Florida State…Remember Penn State 92…17-16 w or.conversion with 25 seconds left …????? I wish we had that kind of excitement in the stadium today. The difference between loose and Brian Kelly is that Notre Dame could win any game week after week. Under Brian Kelly it seems as if we should lose so many games week after week. There’s something wrong with the chemistry of this team on the field off the field in the locker room and definitely during game time. I’m tired of the excuses Kelly needs to get his players and I’ve heard it over and over and over and over we all have. There is someone out there… who could do this job and do it well. Something needs to happen soon or we won’t see a national championship until 2088. It was good while it lasted mr. Kelly. Clearly you’re unhappy and the way our players played and showed bad sportsmanship during the last USC game is a clear indicator the program is going in a really bad way. What I saw with Notre Dame at USC in 2016 was not the Notre Dame I grew up with attended and have loved. That kind of stuff starts at the top and it is crap. It’s time for it to go we’ve been fed a load of crap 10 pounds worth in a stuffed in a 5-pound bag and told that 9 -3 is the best we can have. If we even think we can begin to compete with the likes of Alabama we need to turn things around the sooner the better. I love the Irish but I don’t love what’s happening right now and it will continue to happen unless there’s a change so let’s quit pissing around and do something. We deserve to lose that game at USC and now we deserve to lose a coach and find someone.

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  8. Evan 3 years ago

    Malik is now transferring. BK needs to be fired asap and they should hire PJ Fleck. A motivator like fleck will net immediate results. Even if fleck is a 3-4 year coach, we should get him for a good value and the program would likely be in a better position than if we bring back BK for 1-2 more year. He’s a lame duck HC for ND and the recruits and everyone knows it. BK staying will be another 3-4 year setback on the program whereas a Fleck can get maximum from our highly rating recruits. I am not 100% sold on Fleck but at this point I think it is the best option we have and I believe BK will continue to cause the program to slide each day with more negative press

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    1. bruce johnson 3 years ago

      Pj fleck is a joke

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    2. Damian 3 years ago

      Unfortunately losing Zaire was pretty much a certainty and not at all a surprise. A shame, because BK totally mishandles his QB’s. Golson, Zaire, Kizer…..all highly rated QB’s that fell flat under BK. One failed QB, ok, maybe I can excuse that. Not everyone worth their stars. But over and over again (maybe all the way back to Dayne Crist, though you could argue that one)? I feel bad for Winbush because he is the next one that will suffer under BK’s tender care.

      I wish Zaire luck. I believe he is a better QB then his performance next year and hopefully he finds a coach that can utilize his talent properly.

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    3. George 3 years ago

      Thanks for the update on Malik. I’m still in shock.

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      1. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

        Mind blown

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