The news that coach Brian Kelly will be retuning to the Fighting Irish next season and not take up a coaching spot in the NFL is huge for the future success of Notre Dame football and its recruiting.
Kelly was reportedly interested in a coaching gig with the Philadelphia Eagles next season and looked set to leave the Irish this winter, according to ESPN.
Yet according to comments made earlier in the week, Kelly will in fact not be heading to the NFL but staying in South Bend. Per ESPN:
Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. 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 young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country.
We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead.
The fallout from Kelly's flirtation with a coaching move to the NFL, however, has not been as straightforward and easy to switch around.
Many are vehemently angry that the coach's switching has cost the team valuable commitments and potential recruits for next season, and that the entire football program could be affected by Kelly's actions over the past week.
And to some extent, those concerns are both justified and correct.
South Bend Tribune has already reported that Alex Anzalone has uncommitted from the Irish, though he wasn't completely committed to Notre Dame in the first place anyway.
There will most likely be more potential commits who turn their back on the program and the Irish due to Kelly's decision—some of which will never be known. But much of what we saw this year from the Irish will remain the same.
Kelly will be coaching next season, Notre Dame will be strong and it will have a very good team at its disposal—filled with good new players.
No potential coaching swap is going to change that, especially not when the coach in question has already reinstated his desire to stay where he is.
The likes of Jaylon Smith and Greg Bryant are still coming to South Bend and they will no doubt be very important players for the Irish next year—especially given that coach Kelly isn't planning on leaving the team anytime soon.
Because, after all, we are talking about a man who has won over 70 percent of his games as a head coach and who just led Notre Dame to the BCS Championship Game. Kelly is a great coach and at one of the best programs in the collegiate game, and the Irish must recognize how good they still have it.
Nothing will change next year at Notre Dame because of Kelly's flirtation with the Eagles—not when he's decided to stay on as head coach.
Kelly is clearly thought highly enough to be considered for a head-coaching position in the NFL, and the Irish should take confidence from that. They should take confidence that such a strong coach is remaining at the program and that they will have a genuine shot again next season.
One interview isn't going to change all that.
What do you make of Brian Kelly's coaching decision for 2013?
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