OT: Opinion Piece About why Kelly may Leave ND

Submitted by MGlobules on January 10th, 2013 at 5:04 PM


Not a fan of Dennis Dodd, but in this piece he gets at the reason why Kelly might well leave--he was lucky as heck to go 12-0 this season and will have a hard time replicating the feat: 


"[D]on't interpret Kelly's interview with Philadelphia as a “money grab. . He is/was going to get paid," Dodd writes. The reason why Kelly moved fast: "The bar has been set for him and his program. There is no going back. . . Ten wins won't be acceptable, probably not after this season. . . at the moment, there is more certainty that Kelly can get himself to the next level (NFL) than he can keep Notre Dame at its current level."

Anyone disagree with this assessment? Seems about right to me. 

Mod Edit: thought Kelly had decided to leave based on title. Edited said title. [zl]



January 10th, 2013 at 5:09 PM ^

and then at ND's  future schedules(ACC) I would say that Kelly is on track to a sustained run of success at ND.  

That said, Kelly, like most coaches, has supreme confidence in his abilities. If he goes to the NFL it is because he wants to prove that he can win at the highest level in football. It isn't about money, but ego.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

This. If Kelly leaves a destination job because he's afraid that he's going to be unable to maintain the level of success he's achieved after three years there, he'll be the first coach in the history of coaching to do that. If he goes to the NFL, it would be for many of the same reasons Harbaugh did: the challenge of coaching at the highest possible level, not because he's insecure about his recent success.

Charlie Chunk

January 10th, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

You have to look at every opportunity.  There's an opening for an NFL job and they are considering Kelly.  He'd be stupid not to interview.

It might not ever happen again!

Robbie Moore

January 10th, 2013 at 5:12 PM ^

Brian Kelly has always been good at gettin' out while the gettin' is good. He leaves Grand Valley after going 28-1 over two seasons. He leaves Central after going 9-4 (7-1 in the MAC). He leaves Cincinnati after going 12-0. Seems perfectly reasonable to assume he leaves Notre Dame after going 12-1


January 10th, 2013 at 5:23 PM ^

I think the premise of the article is a bit flawed. Usually a 12-win season buys a college coach at least a couple years of a honeymoon period--I would think that's especially true at ND, which has endured some rough seasons of late. I think most ND fans would be pretty happy if 10 wins becomes their new normal.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

Gene Chizik says the honeymoon is 2 years.  Different situation (Cam Newton), but once a fanatically unreasonable fanbase becomes highly optomistic at a flip of a switch, it is hard to subdue them. 


January 10th, 2013 at 5:39 PM ^

Chizik would still be at Auburn if he'd followed up their title season with 10-win campaigns. I don't see Kelly back in the national championship game next season but I don't think the bottom completely falls out at ND either.


January 10th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

I wasn't saying Kelly would necessarily win 10 games per year at ND.  All I was saying is that if Kelly does wiin 10 games per year at ND, I don't think he'll be fired for underperformance.  (Dodd was arguing the opposite in the linked article).

I agree with your assessment that 3+ losses is likely for ND next season, given their personnel and the schedule they play.   That's all the more reason ND fans should be satisfied with Kelly if he posts double-digit wins again in 2013.


January 10th, 2013 at 7:46 PM ^

with Dodd. But I'm not convinced Kelly is a great coach either, so what follows a 9-3 season, as I see it, is disenchantment, and sharply reduced possibilities as an NFL coach. It's not that Kelly sh*ts the bed, but that the NFL opportunities are ripest now; don't think Dodd gets that wrong. 


January 10th, 2013 at 8:10 PM ^

Without being a Michigan fan. It's hard because he's the coach of one of our rivals. But anybody that says Brian Kelly is not a good coach clearly does not know football. The guy has won everywhere he's been. Yeah, he might get a little "purple faced" once in a while with a player but so does saban. And ND has been putting some pretty good recruiting classes together too. Kelly can coach, and I'd be happy as hell if we didn't have to go against him on their sidelines next year


January 10th, 2013 at 6:04 PM ^

He went 8-5 last year and 3-9 this year (including a 49-0 loss to Alabama). I don't know how many wins would have kept him at Auburn, but I know it was more than three and probably 8 or more.

I think Kelly almost certainly does better than that.


January 10th, 2013 at 6:07 PM ^

Chizik's a bad comparison. Auburn didn't decline to 10 win seasons. They declined to a 3 win season. They were 0-8 in the SEC and lost their last 2 SEC games by a combined 87-0. They suffered a historic collapse for a BCS champion, and there was a convincing narrative about why Chizik as relatively unimportant to their success (Cam/Malzahn). 


January 11th, 2013 at 12:00 AM ^

Its not that Chizik was unimportant to their success, its that he vigorously ran off the guy primarily responsible for their success - Malzahn - and hired a guy to replace him with a philosophy so different that it essentially guaranteed at least a season of failure.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:30 PM ^

This has become a ritualistic dance for college coaches.

Why interview for the NFL? It's always the same thing.

1. Ego.  It says, you good enough to be invited to the game.

2.  Leverage for a pay raise.

3.  Prestige -- gives you an incremental reason to look better with recruits, asst coaches, etc.

4.  Why not?  Strike when the iron is hot.

5.  Most coaches probably look at the NFL as a fantasy job -- not only insane paydays, but, if you're a competitive person, why not compete at the highest level.  Harbaugh's the example of that.

So Kelly is probably subject to at least 3-4 of these reasons.  Whatever.  I can't be more clear:  There's nothing to see here.

Saban turning down the NFL is more newsworthy than Kelly, or anyone who just made a BCS case, in talking to the NFL.


January 11th, 2013 at 12:12 AM ^

Actually focus on football and eliminate a ton of university politics (boosters, academic requirements, NCAA rules/tracking, Ath dept BS, etc).

The univ burden is huge and most of these guys "just want to get paid for coaching football." I would guess the crapola is super thick in South Bend with all the pretentious alumni & church ties.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:30 PM ^

His stock will never be higher. This team overachieved, and as I've stated several times on this blog, he was overrated before. If he intends to go, now is the best time.


January 10th, 2013 at 6:06 PM ^

What? The beat Pitt because Pitt missed a chip shot field goal, they beat Stanford because a clear TD was ruled as coming up short, they beat us because we had 5 turnovers and they beat USC because instead of Matt Barkley they played a frosh in his first ever start. They finished the season by losing to Alabama as bad as anybody all season. Their only real win was against an Oklahoma team that was very clearly overrated (and who also beat nobody).

I'm not saying ND isn't a top 25 team, but they were lucky to be top 10. If Pitt hits that FG or we don't implode or Barkley plays, ND is outside the top 15 I bet.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:39 PM ^

Really? We are supposed to believe that someone at this high a level is going to leave a job because the expectations are too high? These college football coaches get to where they are by going up against unfairly high expectations their whole careers. Plus, are you kidding me? The NFL? Because the expectations aren't high in the NFL are they.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

ND beat Purdue by 3, Michigan by 7, BYU by 3, Stanford in OT, and Pitt in 3OT, all at home.  They beat USC, without their starting QB, by 9. 

And it isn't like any of those programs had great years, outside of Stanford (and they had issues on offense all season long).

If Te'o hadn't come back, what is ND's record this year?  With him leaving, not to mention a bunch of key components on offense, and the schedule probably getting more difficult before it gets easier, I'm sure Kelly sees a difficult task in front of him, especially when you consider 9-3 and missing out on a BCS bowl would probably be viewed as a failure. 

Especially with the way the title game went, a few 8-5 seasons could easily put him back on the hotseat in South Bend.  I see that as more likely than continued 10+ win seasons. 

Looking at it from Kelly's point of view, he can stay at ND where he will have to maintain an extremely high level of success from here on out or potentially get canned in 2-3 years (let's not forget how quickly fans forgot Chizik's success, and he actually won a national title at a school with no history of doing so in modern times).  Or he can get a raise to go coach in the NFL where he only has to focus on X's and O's and where 4-5 losses a year is considered a great season.  And even if he lands in a bad spot and fails to win games, he can always go back to college where he'll still be a highly prized asset.


January 10th, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

If he ever had designs on going to the NFL, this is probably the best chance for him.  He has taken a team and greatly improved them year to year which culminated in an undefeated regular season.   Take that plus the extraordinary amount of NFL jobs available and it stands to reason his position would never be better.    Thats why he would go, not because of the pressure to duplicate his efforts again because its only going to increase in multiples once he deals with NFL fans (and increase exponentially if those NFL fans reside in Philly)


January 10th, 2013 at 5:50 PM ^

Not sure what their turnover margin was this year either, but I'm sure it was astronomical and unlikely to repeat.  Teo had like 7 INTs alone.

But Kelly is a good coach and has been successful everywhere he's been: GVSU, CMU, Cincy, NDame.

Notre Dame would lament this loss, but I think more kudos should be given to the Eagles for considering it. 

So far Kelly has proven to be very opportunistic with new job offers, but I have the feeling he has unfinished business and will stay with the Irish.



January 10th, 2013 at 6:01 PM ^

The only reason why Kelly would leave for the NFL is because he would have high expectations for himself. You always want to progress forward, move forward.


January 10th, 2013 at 6:19 PM ^

He strikes me as the type of guy who gets irritated rather quickly. I imagine dealing with boosters and parents probably aren't his favorite things about college coaching. 


January 11th, 2013 at 12:14 AM ^

Kelly is pretty darned good at handling the wider support communities involved with the program. Its something he took seriously each step of the way.

GVSU was pretty easy and Mt Pleasant did require a little more of his time. The jump at Cinci was huge and the AD there made sure Kelly knew it was an important part of the job. BK stepped up and did by all accounts a marvelous job on the banquet circuit.

In fact that success contributed to an amusing level of griping when he left for South Bend. As though Cinci boosters could somehow begrudge him that job. BK's sales job convinced them he really wanted to stay for the long haul.


January 10th, 2013 at 6:27 PM ^

Urban didn't go to ND before because they won't relax the academic standards for the football program.  Urban tried to get that deal and they said no.   He's not stupid, he coached against Miles and Saban, he knows you can't compete aginst that kind of talent unless the Administration looks the other way when it comes to restrictions and high standards.

Heck, we're going to have a very tough time getting anywhere near Bama's stature because, it's win at all costs down there. Signing 4-6 more kids thanh everyone else and booting the lower end schollie kids that don't make the championship cut.  Every year Saban signs 3-5 more kids than we do and has more 5-star and 4-stars than we do.  Stars don't guarantee anything, but the potential for greatness is higher and the pct is on his side.

Plus the school will let him hire ANY assistant he wants at any $$$.  It's tough to compete against that all the time.

Kelly is fighting for more $$ for assistants so he can get a better defense.  That's what ND needs, they'll get the recruits.

Why do you think Brandon let Hoke get whoever he wanted on defense?  You have to spend the $$$ to be able to compete today.  The playing field has decidely tipped the SEC's way and it ain't leveling out any time soon.