Brian Kelly: Great Coach, but Not the "Right" Coach for Notre Dame

Brendan CollinsCorrespondent IDecember 11, 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

The 1980 US Olympic hockey team pulled off the greatest victory in the history of sports when a group of college kids knocked off the best hockey team in the world: the Soviet Union. The team that had defeated them 10-3 only a week before the Olympic games at Madison Square Garden. The US went on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland 4-1 in the championship game.

However, all legacy's have their roots and for Team USA their foundation for success was laid by head coach Herb Brooks at the tryout camp, where Brooks cut several of the nation's best players before declaring his final roster. The lesson he taught was simple, "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right players." This was also portrayed in the motion picture Miracle.

Notre Dame could learn a lot from Herb Brooks when deciding on Irish's future head coach. Jack Swarbrick showed little to no vision in this job search as he settled for this years "hottest coach" after leading Cincinnatti to a 12-0 regular season record and conquering the Big East Championship.

Notre Dame Nation is excited about their new head coach—their fourth in 13 years. However, although Kelly has shown a successful 34-6 record at Cincinnatti, he has yet to beat a team ranked in the top 10 and his defenses have been far below average.

Kelly has very little experience in the spotlight coming from Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnatti, where he never played high-end opponents like USC year after year, or had to deal with intense media pressure.

It makes little sense why the Irish would pick an offensive coach when they just fired the best offensive mind in football today. Some infer that Kelly's "leadership" is far superior to Charlie Weis' however under Weis Notre Dame had the highest GPA and graduation percentages in the country.

Kelly is obviously a great football coach, winner the 2009 Coach of the Year Award by Home Depot, but he is not the "right" guy for the job. This past season the Irish showed their offense could play with anyone in the country, but at the end of the day their defense was not enough to save Weis' job.

So the obvious need facing the embattled Fighting Irish program is defense and this is not what they will be getting with the hire of Kelly. Regardless of who is hired to be the defensive coordinator, Notre Dame made a statement when they hired Kelly and that statement is that the administration still believes offense wins games.

So when Swarbrick told the University of Notre Dame that he was firing Weis to move the program in a "different direction" his words have proved to be false.

This is just another misstep in a history of bad decisions by the administration regarding its storied football program.


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