It looks like my prediction of Brian Kelly’s tenure at Notre Dame is wrong. Before Kelly coached a game at ND, I predicted that he was over his head. Despite turning around a Cincinnati program into a top-five team, I had my doubts whether or not Kelly could do the same at Notre Dame, it appears he has.
I felt there were similar aspects of Kelly to ND as there was Rich Rodriguez to University of Michigan. Though I correctly predicted Rodriguez’s demise at Michigan, it looks like Kelly has not succumbed to the Peter Principle and has Notre Dame in good shape for a championship run.
In a 1969 book, by L.J. Peter and Raymond Hull, the hypothesis is that people will be promoted until they reach a position that they are incompetent to complete. If you are competent at one level, you will be promoted to a higher one and if one is competent there, another promotion occurs until one reaches a level of incompetence. In my analysis, Kelly had been promoted to a position where he did not have the competence to complete. I was wrong. The same championship swagger Kelly had at Cincinnati has been brought to the Irish.
I felt that Kelly did not bring in the right assistants with him, bringing coaches that he knew and many who followed him from Cincinnati. His staff is almost entirely composed of men who have worked for him, or who he has affiliation with, at his previous schools. But, Bob Diaco has proven to be an outstanding defensive coordinator and Notre Dame has built a championship defense.
Notre Dame has had five head coaches win championships: Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz. All but Rockne won their first national championship in their third year of coaching ND. This being Kelly’s third year, history maybe repeating itself.
At the beginning of the year, I was almost positive this would be Kelly’s last season at the helm of Notre Dame, but after watching them play the Sooners toe-to-toe, I was wrong. The Irish are back.