Brian Kelly is a great college football coach. That is almost without argument.
Charlie Weis proved to be an average game day coach. The number of close losses makes that almost inarguable. On the surface, America has been led to believe that the Brian Kelly/South Bend marriage is not just inevitable, but a perfect situation. It could be. It also could blow up in both their faces, badly.
Charlie Weis succeeded where Ty Willingham did not: recruiting. He brought top talent to South Bend, and for that he needs to be commended. His demise was brought on more by who the Irish lost to than the fact that they lost.
It has been well documented that he took over a program with little to no depth due to the recruiting shortcomings of his predecessors. He has left the program with a good number of future Sunday players. The next coach will be coaching a good core of players and if he is a better game day coach than Charlie, Notre Dame can get to a BCS game next year.
Great right? Well, Notre Dame is not hiring a coach for one season. They need to hire a guy who has proven he can excel in all aspects of the college football game. And sorry to report, Brian Kelly actually has not proved that he can recruit yet. He turned CMU around in just three seasons, yes; but none of the players he coached to a MAC Championship were recruited by Kelly.
And he did not coach there long enough for a complete cycle to run through. He turned around Cincinnati in just three years. Again though, none of the stars of the last two teams have been his recruits. And if he leaves for South Bend, he again will not have stayed in one spot long enough for a complete cycle of players to run through the program.
Long story short, you have no clue if the guy can recruit, if he can sustain success or if he can reload a program.
Kelly has shown that he is a great coach, that he can compete with anyone in a one-time, one game situation and that he can graduate players at an acceptable rate. That is all commendable. But he is far from a slam dunk to succeed at Notre Dame.