Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Reportedly Eyed by LSU for Head Coaching Vacancy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2021

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 20: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is seen during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Notre Dame Stadium on November 20, 2021 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In the same week that USC pried Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma, LSU is attempting to steal another high-profile coach away from his current program. 

According to The Athletic, the Tigers are making an "aggressive push" for Notre Dame's Brian Kelly to fill their head coaching vacancy.

Brody Miller of The Athletic reported that LSU "reached out to Kelly very early in the search but after some thinking Kelly told LSU no. Now, after the Riley situation, LSU's push continues."

As for why Kelly might ultimately consider LSU, The Athletic's Pete Sampson noted that Kelly reportedly "believes Notre Dame can do more in facilities and mental performance, which would include brick and mortar upgrades to the Guglielmino Center. It's not clear the Notre Dame administration would back such investment, at least immediately."

LSU could also potentially offer Kelly the dollars—and prestige of SEC football, which will only grow when Texas and Oklahoma join the conference in 2025—to entice him to switch allegiances. Without those two factors, it's fair to argue that going from Notre Dame to LSU would be a lateral move. 

Trevor Sikkema @TampaBayTre

Brian Kelly is sitting on his couch this weekend waiting for other teams to beat each other up so his team can potentially make the playoff for the third time in four years.<br><br>He gonna trade that to face Saban once a year? Nah, just give the man his raise. <a href="https://t.co/9H1VUbYzh8">https://t.co/9H1VUbYzh8</a>

Jessica Smetana @jessica_smetana

Brian Kelly at LSU feels like a really weird fit to me. He's coached in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan his whole career and seems very comfortable at ND. Nothing would surprise me at all, but this would be a weird one.

If it did happen, it would be a major coup for the Tigers. The 60-year-old has gone 113-40 in his 12 years at Notre Dame, leading the school to two College Football Playoff Appearances and the BCS Championship Game in the 2012 season, where the Fighting Irish lost to Alabama. 

Under Ed Orgeron, the team won a national championship in the 2019 season, led by Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, now quarterbacking the Cincinnati Bengals. But LSU has gone just 11-11 since, a major fall from grace that resulted in Orgeron and LSU mutually agreeing in October to part ways after the 2021 season. 

"The last couple of years are not the standard of LSU," he told reporters in October. "But I have no regrets. I know I went to work as hard as I could every day, tried as hard as I could every day, and that's all you can ask."

Hiring Kelly would be a major statement from LSU about just how high its standards remain.