On the same day that Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly secured his 200th collegiate win, per the program's Twitter account, the Fighting Irish secured an assurance for a whole lot more.
According to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, the Irish—shortly after a 28-6 win over Temple—agreed to a contract extension with Kelly through the 2017 season:
Sorry, NFL owners. It's time to put down the telephones—if those even exist anymore. One of the most sought-after coaches on the collegiate market is no longer available.
This won't end the continuous speculation. Kelly was previously locked up until 2016, but his flirtation with the NFL still hit an all-time high this offseason when he interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles. But even if the NFL talk does remain, the mere fact he was willing to sign an extension exemplifies his commitment to the Irish.
That, and these comments he made a few days ago, via the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton:
Being here, for me, regardless of what the record is, accelerates that conversation. We're building a program, not just one year. One record should not be about how you run a program. This is more about how to run a program year in and year out.
Throw it all together, and it's pretty safe to say Mr. Kelly is going to be wearing Gold and Blue—at least figuratively—for a very long time.
And that should have Irish fans categorically ecstatic.
Throughout his career as a head coach at the collegiate level, Kelly has approached King Midas status, essentially turning every program he touches into gold.
His first year at Central Michigan was a tough one, going 4-7. But it took him just two years after that to take the Chippewas, who had won a whopping 33 games in the nine seasons (3.7 per year) before his tenure, to a 9-4 record and a spot in the Motor City Bowl.
Then he stepped up to the Big East, taking over the reins at Cincinnati.
Granted, the Bearcats were in better shape than Central Michigan before the hiring of Kelly, going 7-5 in 2006, but he still managed to instill massive improvement.
After stepping on in December to coach the Bearcats to a win in the International Bowl following the sudden departure of Mark Dantonio, he quickly took them from good to "BCS good," earning an appearance in the Orange Bowl during the 2008 season and the Sugar Bowl after an undefeated 2009 regular season.
Then, of course, he was off to South Bend, where it took him two seasons before leading a supposedly mediocre squad to a 12-0 season and a spot in the national championship against Alabama.
I'm no expert at math, but I believe Kelly is hitting a solid 1.000: three schools, three program turnarounds—with the ceiling of each turnaround being raised exponentially.
Now that we know what he can do with less talent, imagine his ability to build a program with a little bit of time to recruit and develop talent—according to 247 Sports, Kelly brought in the 19th-ranked class of 2012, the fifth-ranked class of 2013 and currently has the No. 9 class lined up for 2014.
Not only is the present rock solid, but the arrow is still somehow pointing straight up.
The days of Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz in South Bend have seemed like distant memories with the inconsistency at head coach over the past decade.
But Brian Kelly is finally bringing prestige back to the position that was once so highly regarded.
And with prestige comes long-term success.
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