Urban Meyer Shows Notre Dame the Way To Brian Kelly

Marc HalstedCorrespondent INovember 24, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Brian Kelly of the Cincinnati Bearcats looks on against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Dolphin Stadium on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Somebody needs to send a thank you card to Urban Meyer for helping the University of Notre Dame prevent the ever-embarrassing disappointment of repeated first refusal.

Amidst the coaching carousel that has become the Notre Dame football program, the pains of junior high awkwardness have taken up permanent residence.

If you look closely during the Friday night dance, you'll see the confidant Texan left all by himself, the little man from Stanford who’s as attractive as leprosy, the lying sonofagun from Georgia Tech who's cowering in the corner, and everybody's last choice, the brazen hometown kid who nobody wants to dance with for reasons too many to count.

It started with the Bob Davie experiment, and a first-time coach with a great defensive background, and “pound the ball” offensive mindset, but the offensive creativity of a Pop Warner coach.

There was the George O’Leary episode with more half-truths than a Jack Bauer interrogation.

There was the once-promising Age of Ty (Willingham) that began with national title hopes and fell into a mess of poor recruiting, horrid losses, and a cabinet barren of developed talent.

And then there was Charlie Weis. The ND grad drove a veteran Irish team to two BCS bowl games (only to get massacred by far superior programs) before leading ND to one of the worst three-year stretches in the history of the program.

Now it’s time to look forward to a new age in Fighting Irish football. The names have come fast and furiously from the NFL (Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden), major college powers (Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer), and mid-major upstarts (Chris Peterson and Brian Kelly).

This CAN’T go poorly. Nobody wants to be the wallflower beside the snack table, awkwardly sidling up to the next pretty girl in line only to be laughed at, publicly humiliated, and left alone, once again, to stew in their ill-perceived greatness.

In short, move fast, Notre Dame. Urban Meyer did you an enormous favor by twice publicly derailing any rumors, or speculation about a switch from Florida to South Bend. Urban has spent the last 24 hours declaring himself a true Floridian and ending any hope of a papal sojourn to South Bend.

Good, check that name off the list, and thank Urban for the inadvertent guidance.

Ignore the NFL. Unless Tony Dungy comes walking past the Grotto in the next 15 minutes you don’t want any part of the Gruden drama, or the frighteningly familiar thought of a well-regarded offensive or defensive coordinator.

Please do not go through back-channels of the NCAA ego-world and let Stoops, Kirk Ferentz, or Jim Harbaugh embarrass Notre Dame with a loud, public denial of interest.

They just love to boost recruiting by loudly proclaiming their love and dedication for the fine institution they currently coach at. Don’t let them promote themselves at the expense of Our Mother.

Don’t beg, don’t plead, don’t even ask.

Don’t send an undercover agent or special liaison to Gainesville, Norman, or Iowa City and risk a leak to the press that could make ND look even more befuddled or foolish.

No more junior high dances. No more ungainly or clumsy front-page stories. No more bad press. Charlie failed, the talent has not been developed, the Big East losses have piled up, and Jimmy Clausen just got punched. Enough.

It’s time to come strong.

The University of Notre Dame needs a man who has a distinct background, dignified presence, and a defining win-loss record of mostly wins. Most importantly, he must have a definitive devotion to the Dome.

Get the guy who wants to be at Notre Dame. Do it fast. Don’t make a mistake. Calculate your first choice and make it happen, and fast.

Brian Kelly is an Irish Catholic of good New England stock. He’s battled his way from Assumption College to the BCS rankings. He wins. He develops talent. He can talk a blue streak. 

Brian Kelly can make Demetrius Jones a linebacker, Tony Pike a quarterback, and Cincinnati the best team in Ohio. I swear, if given the chance he could could sell humility to Rich Rodriguez and arrogance to Mother Teresa.

The man can coach, recruit, and deal with the demands of major college football.

Urban Meyer has done Notre Dame a favor. End the embarrassment now, Jack Swarbrick. Get Brian Kelly on board by next Tuesday night, on the practice field by next Wednesday, and get him to the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise in time to lead the Irish to victory over BYU in late December.

Move quickly, Jack. The future of Notre Dame football is depending on it.