In the end, and after hiking up his skirt to show the professionals some leg, it was much ado about nothing.
First announced via a tweet from the Twitter account of the school’s media relations director, Notre Dame confirmed that Brian Kelly will remain with the Irish as their head football coach. Kelly, who just completed his third season at the school, released a surprisingly candid statement addressing the overtures and flirtations with the NFL:
“This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach,” said Kelly. “Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame.
“This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country.
“We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead.”
Kelly had met with officials from the Philadelphia Eagles regarding their vacant head-coaching position on Tuesday, one day after the Irish lost to Alabama in the BCS championship game. A second meeting between the two sides had been scheduled for this weekend, after Kelly returned from a vacation with his wife; at this time, it’s unclear if that meeting came to fruition.
There is no word yet on what type of enhanced contract for Kelly and/or his coaching is involved, although even before the rumors surfaced connecting Kelly to the Eagles the university vowed everything was on the table to retain the coach. In his statement on Kelly’s decision, athletic director Jack Swarbrick expressed confidence that this would be Kelly’s decision all along.
“I was always confident that Brian would continue to lead our football program, I am very happy to have that confirmed and share Brian’s excitement about what lies ahead for our program,” Swarbrick’s statement read. “I appreciate the Eagles reaching out to request permission to speak with Brian, and I also appreciate Brian keeping me fully informed throughout this process. We all look forward to what’s ahead for Notre Dame football.”
It should be noted this was the third time a coach from the collegiate level was connected to the Eagles’ vacancy, and the third time the coach returned to his school — Kelly, Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien — likely armed with an extension and a raise.