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

Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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.

PFF Shares Ridiculous Kyle Hamilton Stat

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. @ 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?

  2. 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…

    1. 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.

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

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

    2. 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!!

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. @ 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

    1. C-Dog,

      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!

      1. 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.

      2. C-Dog,

        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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    1. 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.

  9. It’s simple
    Get rid of the guy that hired the coach with the most losses in nd history-Jack Swarbrick
    Set up a committee of consultants to hire an ad and Hc that know something about football
    Go get urban Meyer John Harbaugh or Les Miles
    You have to spend a lot of money to make up for incompetent ads that have given long term contracts
    to fools
    Reward Kelly for his loyalty fire him and refuse to pay him out negotiate him down or tell him to sue

    1. Bruce, you are like a broken record.

      D/W/W/K have all done serious damage to the ND brand. Unfortunately, guys like Meyer and Harbaugh would consider ND a step down from where they are at today. That is why they won’t come. Right now Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama…they are the pinnacle of CFB. Coaches at those institutions are not going to give that up for any price to come to ND. Salary is not the issue, prestige is, and 4 failed coaches have sullied ND’s prestige.

      What ND needs to do is find an up and coming coach with huge potential, say Urban Meyer when he was at Utah, if you will. Someone that will bring prestige back to ND. Yes, I agree, they will need to pay more for that, but that is how ND will come back. Most previous coaches at ND became elite at ND so don’t tell me it can’t be done.

      1. Damian,

        I was on this site back in 2008 and 2009. Everyone said get the up and coming coach BK. They went and got BK, I would say 90% of this site wanted BK. We are now 7 years later and no where near it. The administration hit and missed with Meyer. They hit and missed with O’Leary and it goes as far back as the firing of Holtz. The administration is the problem and not just the AD, all of them. The Board of Trustees, President of the University, and ADs. It’s a shit show period, I don’t care if you dig up Rockne he couldn’t win 10 games with the restrictions put on this program and how it’s run. ND brand means nothing to a 18 year old 5 star, making the NFL is all they care about, getting an education means nothing and I’m sorry, but ND can’t live in that environment and I don’t want them to try. It’s over Johnny! They will never win a NC while I’m alive and I’m 42. Each year the program will take a step down, until it hits the depths of Northwestern or other great academic institutions.

      2. Damian, you are spot on! 110 percent correct. I don’t think that ND will be a northwestern ole Pat Fitzgerald has that team doing well most years.

        Again ND may do well in the MAC, hell the scheduled Toledo Rockets, might as well get Bowling Green as well.

        ND football has been buried, I to am 42 and it is sad!

        One cool thing about Weis and why I like him so much. I was a Marine in Fallujah Iraq fighting daily and my commander was a ND alum, Charlie sent me a package with a bunch of ND football stuff and candies and stuff, after I wrote him, he also sent a hand written letter, BK wouldn’t do that. Wish things would have worked out for Weis

  10. I find this all so amusing.

    Anyone who didn’t know with 100% certainty by January 9, 2013 that Kelly was a complete fraud is an utter fool.

    And Ron Burgundy is also a jackass.

  11. Peter Werner reminds me of a smaller version of the mad stork. Maybe We can get him to change his mind. He could have run down Adoree Jackson!

  12. With the miserable record he has compiled so far @ ND, how can Kelly be a ‘hot’ coaching prospect anywhere else?

    If you’re going to fire him do it NOW and get after a new coach. With the talent there right now and the talent in the pipeline with signing day 64 days or so away, (I must admit that I am not familiar with any potentially hot names out there), but I for one refuse to believe that there is not a coach out there who would jump at the chance to coach at ND.

    Admittedly Notre Dame has not been a serious player on the national scene now for a number of decades, but Notre Dame is STILL

    Notre Dame.

  13. Shhh! How about BK becoming the new AD, then He gets the last laugh at all the naysayers! Strangervthings have happened!

  14. Les Miles…. sad when Purdue is shooting for higher coaching standards than ND.. only way BK can fix this is fire all his coaches but Sanford and by some miracle land a guy like Charlie Strong as DC.. until then we won’t have any elite defensive players and continue to fall behind the Michigan’s and Ohio States.. who actually went and paid money for big name coaches.


    Never !!

    That’s impossible…


  16. 1. Fire BK. Now! This crap is scaring off recruits who LOVE ND.

    2. Promote Coach Denbrock to interim HC, see what he can do with a good core returning. The kids
    seem to love him. I liked his smooth demeanor on “A Season With.” This interim status also would
    give ND an entire season to do a thorough search for a full time coach.

    3. Promote Sanford to OC. Give him full control of offense.

    4. Hire an experienced college defensive coordinator. No room for error here.

    1. So your plan to save recruits is to have a lame duck interim head coach. Kids love committing to a school where they have no idea who the head coach will be.

      This should work great, thanks!

      1. That strategy worked great with Devore and Ara. Of course, freshmen were not eligible then…so they never really played for Devore. Nonetheless, it’s a very bad strategy today. Make Charlie Strong ‘interim coach” with a contract that can give him the head coach job after a ten win season (including the bowl). I’d buy that.

        Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82’

        (I could not resist reading this uhnd post!)

    2. Yeah, I’m afraid I have to agree with Ron on this one. Recruiting would take a major hit. They need a bona fide head coach.

  17. I keep eagerly awaiting an ESPN headline saying BK was fired or left. His tenure has run its course. There is zero excuse to have this record, with this talent, 7 years into a program. None. And with the “rumors” of him talking to USC? His time is up.

    I’ve read articles on here and other places, the next hire needs to be a home run – and I agree. However, ND needs to recognize what other successful teams (college and pro) do to become successful. Don’t be cheap! I’m not saying offering Meyer or Saban 25 million a year. Not at all. But to ascend to the level of yearly playoff talk, it will require expertise, and that comes with a price tag.

    If the Cubs can break the streak, the Cavs can beat the Warriors after down 3-1, and any other number of ‘cellar to championship’ examples, ND can do it.

    But a new man needs to be in charge.

  18. All, Notre Dame has been and will continue to be irrelevant until both Kelly and the AD are fired.
    There is much more at stake here than wins and losses, integrity and NDs moral compass have been shattered!

    The best thing to do is hire Les Miles RIGHT now. He is a proven winner, the SEC is the most competitive conference in college football. Is there any true ND fans that would complain about a 10 plus win season? Miles had very few issues at the helm as far as academics or miss conduct, there will always be outlier’s these are college age young men. Who can say the were a wall flower at this age?

    The new AD needs to find a way into the BIG 10 conference immediately!! The days of independent conference are over, ND needs to affiliate quickly. Look if the football team does not win the tv contract is gone, the network needs wins as well to attract an audience.

    Lastly knute Rockne’s subway alumni idea is on the ropes. Those of us that are not alums, but are Irish Catholic, or just root for ND is dying a violent and quick death! I blame BK for this, I for one cannot even stomach watching games anymore, he is a terrible coach for so many reasons. The fact that he is still the coach is mind boggling! Willianham and Weis would have been gone yesterday, instead we now have commits, 4 star commits taking their talents to the big ten, of all teams Michigan. Why Harbugh gets these young guys, BK simply does not.

    I will always love thee ND, however I will not watch and or root for them until BK is gone, he has destroyed the sterling reputation of the university of Notre Dame, and the AD is his accomplish!

    BTW does it surprise anyone that BK is NOT loyal, look at the way he left Cincy!! Just saying

  19. This is turning into a car wreck.

    Talking to your rival about a head coaching position while still under contract. And then he gets a contract extension. How many more stories are going to surface before the powers-that-be realize that BK and Swarbrick are turning ND into a joke?

    Cut ties with both of them and start over.

      1. I hope so Damian but it seems like BK is Swarbrick’s guy. Although Swarbrick has remained pretty silent over the last few days. Maybe he’s taking the pulse of the situation. We shall see.

  20. A huge concern I have goes back to having 4 (or 5 if you include O’Leary) failed coaches in a row. ND is now starting to be looked at as a jumping off point for coaches. Now BK is likely only going to be able to use to jump to a lower school now because of the record and other problems. But I have real concerns other high profile coaches are looking at ND as a step on the way to something better.

    That is a big reason I disagree with some that think Meyer, Stoops or Harbaugh (a Michigan man who would laugh at the idea of coming to ND frankly) would ever come to ND. Unfortunately they would see ND as a step down, not a step up. Davies, Willingham, Weis and now Kelly have all done real damage to the ND brand.

    1. Well written, and so true!!

      ND football and the head coaching job have become a historical footnote.

      Well said and written Sir!

  21. I have been for keeping Kelly all along, but with these stories of him looking for other jobs getting confirmed, HE NEEDS TO GO!

  22. BK is not going anywhere, there are very few good college jobs open Purdue Baylor and the University is not going to create another Charlie Weiss mess. Somewhere during the season he lost the team probably because of his constant yelling, it is embarrassing. Kisser is gone although he needs another year but then what do you do with Winbush. Ara where are you when we need you?

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