OT- A vote of confidence for Brian Kelly

Submitted by BiSB on November 5th, 2010 at 4:10 PM

The ND Student body just received an e-mail from Father John Jenkins, the University President.  In it, he described their plans to investigate the death of Declan Sullivan (they're tapped Dr. Peter Likins, former President of the University of Arizona, to lead things).  At the end of the e-mail, he added this bit about Brian Kelly:

Finally, in light of what I believe to be unfounded and unfair commentary and speculation, I want to say something about Coach Brian Kelly. Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise, but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame. All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief. For those reasons I am confident that Coach Kelly has a bright future leading our football program.

So, take that for what it's worth. 


Hoken's Heroes

November 5th, 2010 at 4:13 PM ^

...because if it's found Kelly nixed any ideas of having practice go indoors in light of the winds, he might end up getting fired only to be rehired as UM's new DC! :P

oriental andrew

November 5th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^


Jack Swarbrick is an idiot.  I just read a scathing editorial piece in the Chicago Tribune citing Swarbrick reiterating his previous point that there was no wind the day Declan Sullivan died.  Of course, he followed that up by stating at the end of his press conference that he and Brian Kelly plan to be there for a while and not resign.  What a douche.


November 5th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

Yesterday (or the day before) someone here claimed to have spoken with a "wealthy and influential alum" and heard that Kelly was resigning today.

Why am I bothering to point that out?  Not sure ... I guess it was just so MLive I had to mention it.


November 5th, 2010 at 6:45 PM ^

Actually Blue I think it was a friend of his who heard it from a "wealthy and influential alum" so it was actually three degrees removed from actual fact.  And I'm not sure how one's financial success makes them more or less credible with rumors but what the heck.

Maybe a poor alum would have a better source!


November 5th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise, but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame.  All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief.

What could they have found in the investigation to confirm this? 


November 5th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

Expanding on your point, does Kelly really have a great reputation for integrity?  Not saying he doesn't have it, but I don't remember that being a big selling point before the hire.  Maybe some of the folks with more knowledge of his stays at GVSU/CMU/Cincy can expand on this.  I thought the reason they hired him was because they thought he could get the most out of their current talent right away. 

Captain Obvious

November 5th, 2010 at 5:09 PM ^

First, they better make damn sure the team they have leading the investigation is truly independent.  I see they hired someone outside the school, but I sure hope he doesn't have any personal ties to people in the ND administration.

Second, this vote of confidence is the absolute stupidest thing they could have done right now.  It has 0 upside:

  • Makes ND seem like they already have their answer as to whether BK will be held responsible in any way.  This taints the process in a big way.
  • It served no purpose.  Even if you don't believe point 1 to be true, it still doesn't help anything.  If the investigation finds BK responsible he will be out regardless.  You don't get bonus points for being able to go back and say "see, we knew he didn't do it!"
  • They will look really bad if BK is responsible and this statement makes it worse.  "He's a great guy!  No, wait, he doesn't care about safety and it led to a tragic death.  Out with you, BK."

This is why people say things like "no comment while we have an ongoing investigation."


November 5th, 2010 at 6:16 PM ^

When I heard this, I wasn't sure what to make of it. It can be construed several ways I guess. I think Kelly is a good coach, despite his current employer. It would be a shame that ignorance would possibly doom his carrer. Many Domers are eager to jump ship already, as the fan reactions during the Tulsa game were mostly "WTF!!?".

I enjoyed the game though.


November 5th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

I think ND made the right move affirming Brian Kelly.  He is a quality coach and a good person, definitely deserving of three years to prove himself.  Their fan base is hurting like ours, hating life because they are losing.  I don't blame them.  The best thing Notre Dame can do is keep Brian Kelly and let him rebuild after the Weis era.


November 5th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

Let's look at this realistically. Somebody's ass is cooked for this. But it's hard to fathom BK bears serious legal or moral responsibility for Sullivan's death.

Somebody on the ND staff is, or should have been, responsible for knowing the safety limits of the equipment and checking the weather to make sure those limits weren't exceeded. It's HIGHLY unlikely that person is Brian Kelly. That would be the job of either the head film man, or the director of football operations or one of his flunkies. If there wasn't someone, Notre Dame football is officially in violation of the biggest pain in the ass federal agency this side of the IRS.

Kelly has gotten some heat for deciding to have a practice in those conditions, as if to demonstrate a callous disregard for the cameraman. But those conditions are not at all dangerous for anyone except the film crew. It probably didn't come to his mind that one/two of 150 people involved with the football practice would be at risk from the weather. That's why it's somebody else's job to ensure these details.

If there's one thing that bothers these type-A coaches, it's having details they don't want to deal with brought to their attention. All staffers pretty quickly get a sense of what a coach wants to be made aware of and what he'd prefer other people deal with (wrt recruiting, compliance, practice schedules, the buffet menu, you name it).

Kelly is ultimately responsible for the operation of the football program, yes. But in what universe does a coach say "hmm, can the kid go into the camera hoist? No? Let's move practice inside." What should have happened was somebody comes up to Kelly and says "we can't get elevated film for this practice, too much wind." Kelly then either changes the practice location or deals with the lack of tape.

Now, if somebody says in a deposition they DID have that conversation with BK, and he called the kid a wuss or in any way dissauded him from standing up for this safety, then Kelly is majorly f*%$ed. I seriously doubt this took place though.

It's dumb for ND to release statements of non-liability re: certain members of their staff, but I really doubt BK had any minute to minute knowledge until it was too late.

The sick parts are:

-The foreshadowingly morbid and disturbing tweets from Sullivan prior to the accident

-The way lots of NDNationers are openly hoping BK will be held responsible so they can fire him and hire the next Tyrone Willingham/Charlie Weis/whoever who will really bring them back to glory.

-The vague exploitation of the investigation by Swarbick to give BK some positive press material.


November 5th, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

But in what universe does a coach say "hmm, can the kid go into the camera hoist? No? Let's move practice inside."

In this one.  Jim Tressel gave exactly that justification for moving a practice inside last week. 


November 6th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^


Below is a post in one of the Brian Kelly threads from last week.  Your post is valid and well thought out, definitely.  I just can't help think of the way D-I programs are run and not believe Kelly had some hand in that kid being in that lift.  You refer to it in your post, and I bolded the same circumstance below.  What if it was the atmosphere of "fear" that Kelly had created among football staff that is preventing people from addressing serious issues of safety with him?


It's the coaches decision to practice outside.

Look, I've been a student manager at UofM and I have a very high appreciation for how these things are run.  There is not a lot of delegation when it comes to (1) where the team practices on a given day and (2) who is filming what, when.  Yes, there is a film coordinator who is an adult on full salary, but he takes his cue from the coaching staff who take their cue form the head coach.  I find it VERY hard to believe that someone in that chain didn't express concern over sending that kid up there, to eventually have Brian Kelly say "I don't give a shit, we're practicing outside because I say so.  I want that film, just do your job."

Nothing I ever had to put up with resulted in someone's death or injury,  but I was put in some precarious situations loading and unloading massive trunks or setting up goal posts or doing a million other ridiculous tasks in not-so-safe conditions JUST BECAUSE THE COACHES SAY SO!

Whether it's right or wrong, no one in these types of programs has the balls to stand up to the top guys.  You're expendable ESPECIALLY as a student manager and if you don't want to do it, they will find someone that will.  D-I football programs don't run like a corporation....there is no oversight by a board or labor law that defines how the workplace is run (in practice...I know it still applies).  These are dictatorships with the dictator, in this case Brian Kelly, involved in 99% of the decisions.

We don't have all the facts yet, I admit that, however I would bet a large sum of money that the ultimate decision to practice outside was on Kelly AND (although he may not have explicitly stated that this kid had to be 50ft in the air) the implication of an ass reaming by Brian Kelly was the major reason for this kid being in an absolutely unsafe position.

At the end of the day, if these things are even partially true, Brian Kelly should lose his job becuase his decision made in negligence casued the death of a kid...simple as that.


November 5th, 2010 at 8:16 PM ^

Great post by Topher.  The subtext of it is, "did RIchrod make M practice over the limit or was this a delegated detail by a type A personality coach?"  An interesting mirror for Michigan and ND fans to peer into.


November 6th, 2010 at 5:21 PM ^

Crist faced concussion like symptoms...induced by a collision, head ache, memory loss, eye sight problems...and he went back in the game.  Granted they said it was an occular migraine, but that doesn't explain all of those the same as a concussion does.  Denard was held out today for supposedly having some of these.

Then with the wind tragedy, it seems as if someone is gambling with health - fair or not to reach that conclusion.