After some soul searching in the Bahamas, Brian Kelly has decided to remain as the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame.
“This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach…” Kelly said in a statement. “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 Philadelphia Eagles had interviewed the Fighting Irish head coach and it was being widely reported prior to Kelly’s statement that the two sides had planned to meet again early this week.
According to multiple sources, including CBSSports.com and the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kelly and the members of the Eagles front office, including owner Jeffrey Lurie, met for several hours last Tuesday less than two days after Kelly’s Notre Dame team was demolished by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship Game. Apparently during the sit down last week the two sides discovered that there may in fact be a fit in Philadelphia for Kelly and a second meeting has been scheduled for when Kelly returns from a previously scheduled vacation in the Bahamas this past weekend. However, given Kelly’s announcement it seems that returning to Notre Dame was the best fit for Kelly.
Kelly led the 2012-13 Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season record and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. Unfortunately for Kelly and the Irish, the Alabama Crimson Tide routed them 42-14 in that BCS title game on Monday night. However, it was Notre Dame’s first appearance in the national title game in 25 years and this season is widely regarded as a hugely successful one by Notre Dame fans, administrators and alumni. Kelly owns a 28-11 record in his three seasons as the Irish head coach.
The interview came at curious time for Kelly as just a week ago when asked by members of the media about his interest in coaching in the NFL, Kelly shrugged off the question and responded, leaving Notre Dame, “is not an option. I don’t even think about it.” Kelly continued, “I think from my perspective I’ve got the best job in the country – NFL, college, high school – it doesn’t matter. I just look at the place that I’m at and I’m thankful for the opportunity that I have.”
Also interesting to note is that less than a year ago Kelly signed a two-year contract extension with Notre Dame that would keep him in South Bend through 2016. No details of that extension were ever released to the media by the Notre Dame Athletic Department, so it is unknown what Kelly’s buyout dollar amount would be for any NFL team that hired him away from Notre Dame.
The Eagles appear to be looking for an offensive minded head coach to replace Andy Reid who was fired 10-days ago after a 4-12 record in his 14th year at the helm of the Philadelphia franchise. To date the Eagles have now interviewed three college coaches for their head coaching vacancy and a total of nine candidates overall. Numerous NFL sources are reporting that the Eagles front office is still not done with the interview process and will bring in several more candidates for sit downs.
Kelly certainly would have fit the description of an offensive minded coach that the Eagles are allegedly looking for, but obviously he is no longer an option. So the Eagles will continue on with their lengthy and thorough search for a new head coach. It’s no surprise to many that Kelly spurned an advance by an NFL team as he has been down this NFL road before and has yet to say, “yes” to any suitors. In his short time at Notre Dame, he had previously turned down NFL offers from Cleveland and Tampa Bay.