Brian Kelly and Rich Rodriguez: Laying Foundations Or Setting Footers?

Scott PauleyAnalyst IDecember 11, 2009

Now that another Big East school has lost a coach that brought much success to the football program, it seems fitting to bring up the Rich Rodriguez name again—only because it relates.

“It was the most difficult decision I’ve made in my professional career”, said Michigan head football coach, Rich Rodriguez, concerning his departure from West Virginia to coach the Wolverines.

Using much of the same jargon that he used in ’06 after turning down the coaching job at Alabama, Rodriguez pleased Michigan fans while accepting the job in Dec. ’07.

Brian Kelly said it is “cool”, when he was asked about being the new coach at Notre Dame.

Kelly, the former head football coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats, waited his turn for the call that offers the “dream job” that every coach longs to receive.  Then, he bolted!

No matter how one may look at these two coaches, who used the Big East as a stepping stone, the fact is, they both were very successful in the conference.

I am reminded of a hit tune from 1968 entitled “Build Me Up Buttercup” released by singing group, The Foundations.

Included in the song’s opening line is this; Why do you build me up buttercup baby, just to let me down and mess me around…

If there were to be a new video for this song, I would suspect that Rodriguez and Kelly would both have a starring role in it.

Allow me to explain.

Both coaches built their teams into Big East powerhouses and BCS contenders by seemingly laying a firm “foundation” within the football programs.

Both coaches were named coach of the year and won the Big East title—more than once.

Both coaches were well respected by the players, school administrators, and the fans.

Nevertheless, both coaches let their teams down, by leaving, following their best seasons.

I am also reminded of Kelly's departure from Central Michigan, following three years of success and right before the Motor City Bowl.

It’s obvious that these coaches did not really lay foundations at their former schools, but merely set footers.

I wonder if Rich Rodriguez wishes he would have coached the West Virginia Mountaineers for two more seasons.

One can’t help but think that Rich Rod would love to be in the shoes of Brian Kelly, as the new coach of Notre Dame.