Brian Kelly has decided to leave No. 6 Notre Dame to coach LSU.
Twelve years ago, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick was on the hunt for a new coach after a disastrous 2009 season under Charlie Weis. Hired in 2010, Kelly stayed with the Fighting Irish for 12 seasons. It was announced on Monday that he was leaving Notre Dame to coach LSU.
Kelly led the Fighting Irish to the most wins in Notre Dame coaching history. Under Kelly, the team was 113-40. That’s not including 21 wins from the 2012 an 2013 seasons that the NCAA vacated. During his 12-year tenure he was able to lead his team to the BCS Title game in 2012. Additionally, they made playoff appearances in 2018 and 2020. This season, they are currently ranked No. 6 and are 11-1. Swarbrick thinks that the Notre Dame football team has never been in better shape in the 14 years he’s been there. He credits Kelly for their success.
Swarbrick says Kelly’s decision to leave did not surprise him.
Additionally, he indicated that Kelly never came to him to try and to have him match LSU’s offer.
Kelly had always talked about winning championships. This is something he wasn’t able to make happen at Notre Dame. The resources in Baton Rouge and the ability to reach his championship goal is what drew him in. That, and the 10-year, $95 million contract.
So, who’s Next?
After 12 years, Swarbrick is back on the hunt for Notre Dame’s next football coach. These are his thoughts on hiring an interim coach:
The University of Notre Dame will conduct the search, but he will look to the team captains for assistance. The main focus is to make sure Notre Dame gets the best person to lead the program.
Although they’ve been in this position before, it’s much different this time.
It’s too early to tell who will lead them next, but there’s no doubt that the legacy built at Notre Dame will attract many impressive candidates.