Cincinnati Bearcat Players, Brian Kelly, and ESPN: Someone's Story Won't Hold

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIDecember 9, 2009

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 27:  Brian Kelly the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats is pictured during the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Nippert Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

"But two Bearcat Players said Kelly told the team on Thursday that he wouldn't leave Cincinnati."

These are the words of ESPN's Brian Bennett. On Dec. 5 Bennett wrote an article for ESPN entitled, "Players Say Kelly Reassured Them."

Bennett quoted wide receiver Marty Gilyard.  Gilyard said his coach was emphatic about not leaving in his talk to the team on Thursday. Bennett quoted safety Aaron Webster.  Webster told Bennett that Kelly said, "It's not an issue; I'm not going there."

Bennett is a good writer. He's on top of the Big East like white is on rice.  He's not one of those guys who goes out and tries to shock his readers and he's not one of those guys who uses the term "unknown sources say."

I believe Bennett wrote what he was told on Saturday, but someone's story doesn't hold water.

I believe that Gilyard and Webster told Bennett that their coach told them he was staying at Cincinnati, but someone's story doesn't hold water.

I'm not sure if Brian Kelly recently told his team he loved it at Cincinnati and he had no plans to leave, in such a way that it could have been taken as fact.  I'm not sure he was sqauare with his players and told them he wasn't leaving.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

I'm not sure whose story is fact, whose story is embellished and who's just telling lies—at the moment, Kelly is still the coach of the Bearcats.  No lie has been told.  

Over the years, we've become accustomed to coaches lying to the media.  We've just about come to the point where we believe it's their prerogative.  We've bought into their explanation that, "they didn't want to disrupt their team while the season isn't over."

Nick Saban stated clearly that he wasn't going to take the Alabama job when the South Florida media pinned him down. He spoke through a smoke screen.

Urban Meyer, as late as Nov. 15, 2004, told the Utah media he loved his job and hadn't talked to anyone at Florida. On Nov. 28 he broke the news to his team that he was Floridabound.

It seems that the norm for coaches is to lie.  Lately, they can't seem to find reward in coming cleanin laying their cards on the table.

But lying to playersthat's another thing altogether. I don't know what and how Kelly told his players, but if he lied to them, if he mislead them in any waythat's not right.

If he couldn't come clean with the guys that broke their backs, played with broken arms and won championships for him, something is wrong with the man.

Brian Kelly didn't recruit Tony Pike and Marty Gilyard. They were there when he arrived.  Kelly's a good coach but who really knows how much was coaching and how much was jumping on the shoulders of these two All-Americans?

Rich Rodriguez has nothing to do with this. His situation has nothing to do with any success or failure Kelly will have if he leaves, but as fine a coach as Rodriquez was at West Virginia, who knew how much was coaching and how much was jumping on the shoulders of Pat White and Steve Slaton?

When the dust settles, someone's story isn't going to hold up, because in contrast to Bennett's piece, Joe Schad, another fine ESPN reporter, today wrote, "things are heating up" with regard to the likelihood that Kelly becomes the next Irish coach.

ESPN broke another story today in which they claimed, "Lou Holtz believes Kelly will be named Notre Dame's head coach by Friday."

It's pretty clear Kelly has been in serious contact with Notre Dame. It appears, from the looks of things, he is extremely interested in becoming their next coach, although this cannot be verified.

Did Kelly reassure his player's he wasn't leaving Cincinnati? Did his players misinterpret his message? Unless one was in the room when Kelly spoke to the team, regardless of what the media suggests, it remains unclear.

Did Brian Bennett make up make up a story?  Is Joe Schad premature.  Is this just more of Lou Holtz's wishful thinking disguised as doctrine?

I like to believe that Brian Kelly told his players he staying put and I like to believe his players told the truth to Brian Bennett.  I aslo believe that Brian Kelly wouldn't lie to his players.

Honorable coaches just don't lie to the players that spilled blood on the field for them.  If things are heating up, as Schad reports, I think it's Kelly using every bit of leverage to negotiate a better contract at Cincinnati. He's probably pulling out all the stops so the Bearcats will offer him as much as he's asked for.

I say this because honorable coaches, although they might lie to the media, they just don't look their players in their faces and lie.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.