Throughout a tumultuous 2016 season, Notre Dame has steadfastly maintained that Brian Kelly will be the Fighting Irish’s head coach in 2017. Could the coach, though, leave of his own volition?
According to Yahoo Sports‘ Pat Forde, that could very well be the case. “Kelly has reached out through representatives to explore coaching options outside Notre Dame,” Forde wrote Saturday night.
Kelly and his squad put the finishing touches on a disappointing, to put it mildly, season Saturday, with the loss to USC dropping the Irish to 4-8 on the year. Outside of a 3-9 season under Charlie Weis in 2007, it was the worst year record-wise for the iconic football program in more than a half-century.
After a 10-1 start to the 2015 season, the Irish have lost 10 of their last 14 games. This season has seen Kelly fire his defensive coordinator and throw his players under the bus for good measure. Former Irish football players sounded off and took aim as well.
Earlier this week, the football program was sanctioned by the NCAA for academic misconduct that occurred on Kelly’s watch. Saturday, one of Kelly’s players cast his program in a negative light by showing his ass.
So, is it time for a parting of ways? While Forde reported that Kelly will explore other coaching options, he also writes that “Notre Dame sources said Saturday night that Kelly has expressed no desire to leave the school.”
At least collegiately, Kelly’s options, when it comes to high-profile jobs, will likely be limited, depending on what happens in the coming days. Kelly’s name has been mentioned in connection to NFL jobs over the last few years, so that may be a viable option as well, and could be the direction in which his reps have been directed to explore.
Following the loss to USC, Kelly answered “absolutely” when asked if he thought he’d be back at Notre Dame in 2017. Whether that proclamation will hold true in the coming days and weeks is still to be determined.