Dreaded or not, most people would appreciate public display of support from their bosses. Brian Kelly, though, is not most people.
With Notre Dame off to its worst start since 2007, many an observer opined that Kelly could be on the hot seat this year, and most certainly will sit on it heading into next season. With speculation swirling, Jack Swarbrick looked to put the kibosh on such talk.
“Brian will lead this team out of the tunnel opening day next year,” the Irish athletic director said last week. “I can tell you I continue to have complete confidence in Brian. … I get to see the program day in and day out and I continue to have great confidence in Brian and confidence in our future as a program.”
Kelly had, to say the least, an interesting response to Swarbrick’s public backing.
“Well I was disappointed actually,” the coach told Matt Fortuna of ESPN.com “But anytime that your athletic director has to come out and say that, as a head coach you’re disappointed that any kind of comments like that have to be made. So I didn’t ask him, that was his decision, but I clearly understand what he was doing. He was probably sick and tired of being sick and tired, too.
“But for me it’s disappointing, certainly, that you have to make those comments.”
After a 10-1 start to the 2015 season, the Irish have lost seven of their last nine games. Included in that is a 2-5 start to a 2016 season that’s seen Kelly fire his defensive coordinator and throw his players under the bus for good measure. Former Irish football players have sounded off and taken aim as well.