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Brian Kelly: Following the Dream

SOUTH BEND, IN - DECEMBER 11: Brian Kelly talks on his phone shortly after being named new football head coach at Notre Dame University on December 11, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana.  Kelly most recently led the University of Cincinnati to two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances including a perfect 12-0 record this past season. (Photo by Frank Polich/Getty Images)
Frank Polich/Getty Images
Ryne E. HancockCorrespondent IDecember 12, 2009

I posted on the fan page for the show and Web site today a column that my homie Matt Mowery wrote when we owned the Nasty Boys’ Sports Blog in 2007.

Back then, Bobby Petrino ditched out on the Falcons 13 games into the 2007 season, went back to the college ranks to Arkansas and now in his second season, has the Razorbacks in the Liberty Bowl.

But the story wasn’t the move to northwest Arkansas, it was the way Petrino did it, by writing a letter to his players in Atlanta and leaving it in a locker room, which made for a lot of criticism from the Falcons and the media.

In 2002, Petrino’s predecessor at Louisville, John L. Smith, was hired at Michigan State before their bowl game against Marshall and then after being hired at Michigan State, he tells his teammates.

So much for keeping it 100 percent.

For a few days this week, I was following Brian Kelly (who ironically shares the same birthday with me) on Twitter to see for certain whether he was going to be honest about his contact with Notre Dame concerning their coaching vacancy.

The last tweet he posted, Dec. 8, was about a good deli in New York City, which is where Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swabrick and the coaching search committee was meeting.

Two days later, after I went off the air for the last time in the semester, a tweet came via Sports 56 WHBQ in Memphis saying that Kelly would be named head coach at Notre Dame, something that Cincinnati native Daniel Wulker told me during the Bucs’ trip to Florida was going to happen.

“I knew it was going to happen,” he said in a text to me during the Bucs’ trip to Florida a few weeks ago.

But like Petrino and Smith, Kelly’s departure was a mess because where he said that he would tell the players if anything happened.

According to him, they would be the first to know.

Turns out, they were the last, hours after ESPN and other media outlets broke the news.

In a story for the Cincinnati Enquirer, senior Mardy Gilyard had this to say.

“We don’t care what he has to say anymore,” he said, “He can go and talk to his Notre Dame team.”

We all want our coaching heroes to stay in the place that they put on the map, a place where they can become icons like Bear Bryant at Alabama, Joe Paterno at Penn State, or Bobby Bowden at Florida State.

I mean, that’s how a perfect world works.

But like anyone else who has a dream and an opportunity to obtain it, much like what Calipari did when he left for Kentucky, chances are they’re going to take it.

Even if Cincinnati did the same thing that Memphis tried to do in keeping Kelly, the result would have been the same.

In the meantime, don’t hold a grudge against Kelly for leaving.

He’s following his dream.

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