Kelly leaving cincy vs. Rich Rod leaving wvu - player reactions:

Submitted by blueadams on December 10th, 2009 at 11:11 PM

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4732205

...here are some quotes from the espn.com article that went up today. for those that remember the wvu player reaction to richrod leaving wvu, you'll notice that this is the complete opposite. when rich rod left wvu, the fans were all pissed, sure, but the players all understood why he left and wished him the best. i think its reflective of the kind of character these two coaches bring.

The news didn't play well with Kelly's current team. Bearcat players were led into a meeting room, where Kelly told them he was leaving and thanked them for making his opportunity possible. One minute into the meeting, the door opened and receiver Mardy Gilyard walked out angry and alone, save his MVP trophy.

"He went for the money," Gilyard told The Associated Press. "I'm fairly disgusted with the situation, that they let it last this long."

Players weren't told of Kelly's decision until the banquet ended, nearly three hours after the news first broke. A few blinked back tears as they left.

"We already knew what he was going to say. We weren't giving him a round of applause or anything," tight end Ben Guidugli said. "It's like somebody turned their back on us. We brought this whole thing this far. We've come this far. To have someone walk out now is disappointing."

"I don't like it," Gilyard said before the banquet. "I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he'd known this the whole time. Everybody knows Notre Dame's got the money. I kind of had a gut feeling he was going to stay just because he told me he was going to be here."

Quarterback Tony Pike said Kelly told them last week, before their title-clinching win over Pittsburgh, that he was happy in Cincinnati.

"The Tuesday when we were practicing for Pittsburgh, he said he loves it here and he loves this team and loves coaching here and his family loves it here," Pike said.

Gilyard said some players were angry that Kelly's leaving just as the program had become nationally prominent.

"Just blindsided by the fact that it's a business," Gilyard said. "People lose sight of that. At the end of the day, NCAA football is a business. People have got to make business decisions."

...then there's this about the cmu incident, for those that are interested:

Kelly was criticized in September 2004 for remarks he made to the Detroit Free Press about perjury charges filed against two former Central Michigan players after other CMU players were charged with second-degree murder in the fatal beating of a man. The death happened shortly after Kelly was named Central's coach.

"A number of them were African-Americans that had been in that culture of violence, and they're taught to look away," Kelly said. "You don't want anything to do with it. Get out of there. You don't say anything to anybody."

Then-university President Michael Rao called Kelly's remarks "completely unacceptable" and Kelly apologized in an e-mail to students, faculty and staff. Rao then came out in support of the coach, saying he has a good heart and a record that showed a commitment to diversity.

Comments

UMxWolverines

December 10th, 2009 at 11:22 PM ^

Well, I think I would be pissed too if I was a bearcat player. I mean, they're 12-0 looking to go 13-0, you can't do much better than that. There's no way you can argue that he didn't go for the money, because he obviously did. And I honestly don't know if he is going to make ND better or not. I mean they said the same thing for Charlie Weis "He's going to bring Notre Dame back". I'm not so sure. If I were him, I would have stayed at the school were I just went 12-0.

MWW6T7

December 11th, 2009 at 8:58 AM ^

Everyone is piling on Kelly but let's not forget there were 2 parties involved. I am not defending him by any means because he handled it in a bad way but I don't agree with the way colleges handle hirings these days. I understand that it is important to get a replacement in as soon as possible for recruiting and continuity but let the prospects finish their season before forcing them to give you an answer. It is disrespectful to the university and the players of the coach they are trying to hire. Three more weeks would not have made that much of a difference. These kids are going into one of if not the biggest game of their life feeling betrayed and let down because the man they looked up to all season lied to them and now will not be there.

wolverine1987

December 11th, 2009 at 9:46 AM ^

Kelly, as far as I know, never said "I am not a candidate for ND" and then went there. He even admitted several days ago that "if ND wants to talk to me, I'll listen." That's a siren flashing to everyone and not disingenuous to me at all. You can't expect a coach to say "yes, if ND wants me I will go there."

LJ

December 10th, 2009 at 11:47 PM ^

I think it's hard to say that he's just going for the money. He just went 12-0 and didn't get to the BCS championship. If he goes 12-0 at ND, he's getting in much easier than at Cinci. None of us were saying that RR should stay at WVU where he just went 10-2 and was on his way to a BCS bowl. Let's not continue to kid ourselves--ND is a bigtime, elite job, and I can't blame him for taking it.

Blue Bunny Friday

December 11th, 2009 at 10:12 AM ^

Cinci didn't get invited to the MNC game because 4 other teams went undefeated this year. I'm pretty sure ND wouldn't have jumped Texas (13-0), and certainly not the SEC champ (13-0), with the schedule ND played. It's a big job that pays a lot of money and comes with some recruiting advantages (assistants and players). I don't blame him for taking the job for those reasons. I do think your argument is bogus given the current state of the 2 programs.
If it were about playing for a NC then he should've stayed at Cinci. Win the BCS game this year and Cinci would likely have the 2nd best chance at the big one next year. ND, even with the name, is 2 miracle seasons from that.

Lordfoul

December 11th, 2009 at 11:56 AM ^

I disagree here. ND would have been ranked ahead of Texas far before the end of the season and Texas wouldn't have overtaken ND at the end. Voters for both human polls would have rode the wave of Undefeated ND WOO!!! hype early on and the road would have been paved for their "Return to Glory." Now I have to stop this thought process since undefeated = Fat Charlie makes me laugh too hard.

mjkaiser09

December 10th, 2009 at 11:51 PM ^

i don't necessarily think that it speaks to their character. i would feel betrayed if i worked my ass off for some coach and he just bolted on me. these are competitive college athletes, how do you expect them to respond? sure you'd like for some of them to be happy for him to get the opportunity to coach at ND, but at the same time you've got to be realistic and think that some, if not most, players would be upset.

blueadams

December 11th, 2009 at 12:16 AM ^

i disagree. after my junior year of high school, our head coach left to take a college job. he handled it the right way.

there were rumors going around, and he addressed them in practice. basically said, "this college has offered me a job and i am still not sure if i am going to take it. regardless, i am going to be 100% committed to this team for the rest of this season."

we made a hell of a playoff run. then the morning after our last game we had a meeting and he told the entire team that he was going to take the job because it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

we all loved him before. we all loved him throughout the process. we all still love him. he handled a tough situation like a class-act. we understood his decision. we respected his decision.

readyourguard

December 10th, 2009 at 11:50 PM ^

He could have ruled the Big East for who knows how long (which also means an automatic BCS bowl birth with every Big East title).
He's undefeated in just his 3rd year and made Cincinnati relevant.
He was in a state full of quality recruits.
He generated enthusiasm and support for the school and community.

It's easy for me to sit here behind my keyboard and Seagrams7/Coke Zero and say he's making a hasty decision, but what do I know?

LJ

December 10th, 2009 at 11:56 PM ^

Do you think that any coach is happy that going 12-0 in a BCS conference means you will get to the sugar bowl? If you're an elite coach, you want your shot at the adults table. I think his move was based much more on a chance at more prestige and a better chance for winning big than it was about money.

He was in a state full of quality recruits, but no matter what he was always going to lose the best ones to OSU. Now, he'll have a shot at anyone--few schools have the national recruiting power that ND does (thankfully, UM is one of those schools)

mjkaiser09

December 11th, 2009 at 12:02 AM ^

exactly. at Cincy, he's just a stone's throw away from OSU. no matter what he accomplished in Cincy, he would always be overshadowed by big brother. as bad as that may sound, its true. OSU is and always will be number one in Ohio, even in years when Cincy goes undefeated like this year.

Rad

December 11th, 2009 at 11:48 AM ^

He could've owned SW Ohio, which is a recruiting hotbed in its own right with a lot of powerhouse programs (Moeller, St. X, etc.). OSU may always be #1 in Eastern and Central Ohio, but I think it's safe to say Cincinnati could have been something special had he stayed.

jmblue

December 11th, 2009 at 8:36 AM ^

Do you think that any coach is happy that going 12-0 in a BCS conference means you will get to the sugar bowl?

Auburn went unbeaten (in the SEC!) a few years back and got snubbed. Cincinnati's problem wasn't so much that voters didn't respect them as that there were two teams ahead of them in the polls all year that never lost.

MGoTarHeel

December 11th, 2009 at 9:42 AM ^

I think the fact that he just went 12-0 actually informs why this was a GOOD decision for him. You're right, it doesn't get any better than that. He went 12-0 very impressively, won the Big East even with Pitt having a good year and some not-too-bad other programs, and STILL was left out of the MNC. So it's kind of that end-game that some coaches talk about, when they've taken it as far as they can with a school, be it a title (like Nick Saban at LSU) or an undefeated season (Urban Meyer), except Kelly took it as far as he could and realized that there really isn't anything more he can do with Cincy right now.

I don't fault him for leaving. As the player said, it's a business. If any of those players had been offered to go to USC or ND, most (at least some) would have taken the same chance to go there over UC in order to win more, win more often, and win bigger when they do.

Congrats to Brian Kelly. Thanks for the great Laker years.

bdubya

December 11th, 2009 at 3:45 PM ^

This is literally the same way that he left CMU. There was some stuff in the news paper about how he loved it in Mount Pleasant, and that he wasn't going anywhere because his family loved the area. The players were convinced that Kelly wasn't going and they took it pretty hard when he finally did leave. If you ask players that were on the CMU team he coached, they don't have the most complimentary things to say about him.

TATEisGREATyo

December 10th, 2009 at 11:33 PM ^

Anyone in their right mind to get an opportunity to make more money is gonna jolt to that. Now I don't agree with him saying to the players he isn't going anywhere. False promises suck, he should have just kept it to himself. Must be the thing to do in coaching these days.

scottcha

December 10th, 2009 at 11:35 PM ^

Spin away, media folk. Spin away.

To think that this says anything about Kelly's character might be a bit shortsighted. There are players all around that would readily throw their former coach under the bus if such a thing were to happen to them. They feel betrayed and rightfully so.

I'm sure there was some good to be said about Kelly in the whole mess of things, but that's just not interesting enough. I don't want to seem like I'm on the BK bandwagon and want him to bring ND back to the promised land--I want him to fall flat on his face just like the last three Irish coaches have--but we should know better than anyone how easy it is to spin players' quotes.

Aequitas

December 11th, 2009 at 10:07 AM ^

"how easy it is to spin players' quotes."

Arguably their best player gets up and leaves while Kelly's still talking and says he's "disgusted" and you call that "spin"?

Everyone in this thread, including me, has an opinion on the situation and the truth is, our opinion of Kelly is always going to be less informed than that of the actual players that played for him and spent time with him.

Rodriguez left under less than ideal circumstances and I don't recall a single player reaction similar to what the Cincy players are showing.

IMHO, the WVU players respected Rodriguez, his decision, and how he handled the situation more than the Bearcats did Kelly.

scottcha

December 11th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

Kelly's getting ripped pretty bad from most of his Cincinnati squad, so you're probably right about him garnering much less respect at UC than Rodriguez did at WVU.

However, let's not overlook how sexy an article without the "he went for the money"s and "hopefully he packs his things up and gets to South Bend in a hurry"s looks next to one that does. That's where my take on "spin" comes from. Were there no players at all who understood why he left and respected his decision?

Like you say, our opinion of Kelly is less informed than that of the actual players, and quite honestly, I have a little bit of trouble jumping to conclusions about his character based on quotes taken from super-emotional kids after yet another coach walked away from their program.

MGoJen

December 10th, 2009 at 11:39 PM ^

Brian Kelly is first and foremost, and maybe just completely all about Brian Kelly. I feel badly for the players because even though they probably knew in the back of their minds that he was leaving, they were part of this amazing team that had a hell of a run this year.

If I were one of his players, I'd want to believe he'd stay, too.

I'm sure they're hurt and feel betrayed. I know Kelly wasn't going to stay at Cinci forever, but he could've at least stayed long enough to FINISH something well. I'm not sure there's ever a good or painless way to leave a program you turned around for (allegedly) bigger and better things.

blueblueblue

December 10th, 2009 at 11:41 PM ^

I am really having a tough time finding convincing evidence that Kelly is such an asshole. So he went for the money, big deal. We live in a capitalist society people - our culture is built on "going for the money." He just made his family that much more comfortable with his new job. And perhaps the prestige, recruits, and resources at ND also had a little to do with the decision.

Plus, he may have said to his players he was staying at Cinci, but perhaps he believed it then. Regardless, a coach shouldn't drag it out buy telling his players - oh, I may leave and I may stay. That is not the best thing for the team. Lying to them until the end was perhaps the best approach for their season - and he takes one for the team at the end by being the villain.

And I might be an asshole, but I also am having trouble finding fault in his statements while at CMU.

ZooWolverine

December 10th, 2009 at 11:49 PM ^

I'm a little shocked by the players' reactions. It's been pretty clear for a while that Kelly was looking for his next big job--that's not great but there's nothing particularly wrong with it either.

What is a coach supposed to say when he's interested in another job? He was pretty honest: "I love this job" is not saying that he's not going to leave. In fact it's a nice way to avoid the question, especially compared to a jerk like Saban who feels free to just out-and-out lie.

I can't blame the guy for leaving Cinci. It's not just the money at ND; he'll probably never go undefeated at ND and left out of the championship game (hopefully he'll just never go undefeated period). He hit the lid for what is possible at Cinci--even with a potentially great team it was never up to his team: they had to hope that other teams lost and in the end that didn't happen.

That said, I wish him no success at ND. And if he has success, I wish for him job offers from the NFL :)

EZMIKEP

December 11th, 2009 at 12:17 AM ^

with the state of the team emotionally as well. At WV they had just come off a loss to Pitt & lost the chance to play in a NC so the bowl game had lost a little luster. This team is looking at a 13-0 season where they just came off an emotional win & they feel like they should be playing in a NC and have something to prove to the world. Now the coach abruptly leaves & these kids feel slighted. Plus a situation like that can get compounded by someone without personable attributes. Something I think RR has and Kelly doesn't have as much of from watching interviews etc. over the last few years.

Thats another reason why I can't stand all the people who keep saying RR is a dick & treats people bad. Seriously folks, how the fuck did you come to that conclusion?!? Ya didn't. Most people let the media and gossip make that judgement for them. In my opinion I see Rich as a pretty honest, genuine yet no nonsense guy with a lot of character.

Its obvious he has character. Look at what the guy has been through since he got here. And he is still upbeat and smiling. I swear when we win a NC in the coming years, and I really feel like this is going to happen, its going to be so much sweeter than anything I have tasted before as a fan & I am sure it will be a million times more for RR and the players.

WolvinLA2

December 11th, 2009 at 12:49 AM ^

To respond to many of the above posts, of course no one blames Kelly for taking a better job. He advanced his career, no doubt about it.

However, when a person advances in his or her career, he rarely does it alone. He got the ND job because he had a lot of success at his previous stops, and the players he coached there were a big part of it.

He knew a week ago that it was possible, if not likely, that he would take the ND job, and he lied to his players outright. I think this is why they had the reactions they had and why so many people are making the character judgments that they are making about Brian Kelly.

I think that this shows a lot about Kelly's character and I wouldn't be surprised if this comes back to bite him somehow.

Irish

December 11th, 2009 at 12:13 PM ^

Your right he didn't do it alone and he obviously knows that since he is bringing the majority of the staff with him. And the players he won with he recruited, he brought them into UC, he identified, recruited and signed them. Its not like he is throwing his players out of school or telling them they can't play football anymore.

Until someone can provide an actual quote from Kelly, to say he "lied to his players outright" is just plain stupid to say it. Have you guys even stopped to think about what your saying?