Following a 12-0 regular season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been named the 2012 Home Depot Coach of the Year, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly named Home Depot Coach of the Year. First two-time winner of that.— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) December 5, 2012
Kelly previously won the award with Cincinnati in 2009, when the Bearcats went 12-0 in the Big East and played Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Kelly wasn't on the sidelines for the bowl game because he had just taken the head-coaching position at Notre Dame.
Of course, there will be no job switching for Kelly this time around. He is preparing the Fighting Irish for a showdown against No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 7 in one of the most anticipated BCS games ever.
The turnaround that Kelly has led at Notre Dame is remarkable, especially considering where the program was before he got there. His job as a recruiter, talent evaluator and leader has brought stability to a program that has been searching for answers since the end of the Lou Holtz era.
This once-proud institution was coming off its worst three-year stretch since the 1960s, winning only 16 games from 2007 to 2009 under Charlie Weis and missing the postseason two of those three years.
Kelly had an immediate impact, winning eight games in each of his first two seasons before everything clicked in 2012. This is the first undefeated regular season for Notre Dame since 1988, which was also the last time the program won a national championship.
The Home Depot Awards Show airs Thursday night on ESPN. Kelly will be honored with the award during the telecast.
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