Editorial

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly mimics corporate liar

ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.” — The Apostle Paul

“Now y’see. That’s what’s wrong with this country.” — Ross Perot on the presidential campaign trail in 1992

Brian Kelly

I was more than a little disappointed with the news that coach Brian Kelly is leaving Notre Dame to take the head coaching post at Louisiana State University.

While it is true that coached come and go and gravitate to the school or position that pays the best, this development merely proves that Kelly is just another corporate liar.

Kelly won an NCAA Division II football championship while my son, Robby was running track and cross country. I am an alum of GVSU as well.

He moved on to Central Michigan University, then the U of Cincinnati and then Notre Dame.

When he was granted the job to guide the Fighting Irish, he very publicly declared this was his “dream job,” something he spent nearly a lifetime striving to achieve.

Apparently not.

Kelly inked a deal with LSU that will pay him more than $95 million over 10 years, very similar to the terms Mel Tucker agreed to with Michigan State. So yet again, money is more important than team loyalty. And don’t believe a big-time football or basketball coach when he speaks and we unwashed masses hang on his every word.

Kelly is not the first to play fast and loose with the truth. I recall Darryl Rogers insisting publically and adamantly he was not coming to the Detroit Lions while coaching at Arizona State. But he did.

Yet sometimes these deceptions can be innocent little white lies that might have excuses.

I recall running into Wayland girls’ basketball star Stephanie Ainsworth in the summer of 2020 at Robinson Dental Care, when I asked her if Hopkins guard Kennedy Helderop was accurate when she told me Ainsworth was going to join her on the court for Cornerstone University.

Stephanie said no.

Several months later it was announced she would go to Cornerstone to join Helderop, her brother, Jon, and to try to help turn a women’s basketball program that has fallen on hard times.

I forgive Miss Ainsworth for not being truthful because she’s young and perhaps was telling me how she really felt at the time, then changed her mind, or had it changed.

Not so Kelly, who seems to have made a career with not being straight with his school, players and particularly the press.

Rick Mills, former editor of Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun, passed along this interesting comment:

“(It) reminds me of the day in The Embers basement (at CMU) at a weekly coach’s luncheon — that coach Kelly swore to myself, my publisher and sports editor that he’s not leaving CMU. He was gone by sundown.”

9 Comments

  • Thanks for your editorial, David! Sad to say, but these days, playing fast & loose with the truth is just another global pandemic. Like Covid, it’s widespread throughout the United States. And like their anti-mask/anti-distance/anti vax counterparts, only a small percentage of todays liars will suffer any serious personal consequences. Carnival barker salesmen of yesteryear attracted admiring crowds with open wallets through humorous bluster and snake oil promises. Today’s liars are often admired and rewarded for their personal narcissism, and for their open scorn for anyone who might beg to differ.

    I don’t doubt that money played an important role in Coach Kelly’s decision to abandon the young men he recruited to Notre Dame. But I also suspect he believes that he’ll have a much easier and better opportunity to win a Division I national championship at LSU, where he’ll surely enjoy lower recruiting, academic, and rules compliance standards. Whether we like it or not, that 1930s quote from then UCLA football coach Red Sanders may perfectly describe today’s prevailing public attitude: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

    • Mr. Bergeron,
      You are correct in your observations. Football coaches don’t like to comment on their job status. I’m sure those things you point out about LSU and their standards or lack of is enticing to a coach wanting to win a national championship before he retires. ND has standards for grades and behavior, LSU not so much.

      I suspect ND will be just fine with the quality of candidates mentioned to succeed Kelly. The Irish won’t miss a beat and possibly have a national championship before LSU.
      GO IRISH!

  • David:

    I’m curious how well you know Brian Kelly personally? Suffice it to say, none of us has any idea what the job at Notre Dame was really like. Perhaps it was his dream job and then when he landed it, he found that his bosses were not what they first appeared to be. Or the culture at the school was not how it was perceived from the outside. Perhaps having fulfilled his dream job he saw the opportunity to leave a legacy for his family that was greater than what he could leave behind had he stayed at Notre Dame. Why should we chastise a person for wanting to better their life and the lives of their family members? If a persons economic value is 9.5 million a year why should they settle for less if they don’t have a legal or moral obligation to do so? Would you leave your #1 dream job for your #2 dream job if you could double your income and still have a great time?

    Proverbs 14:30
    A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

  • You might say he’s like a politician, such as lying President Biden and government highest paid employee Dr. Fauci?

  • A friend’s nephew played in every game for Brian Kelly at GVSU as a true freshman wide receiver. He played in every D2 playoff game as a WR. The morning the team was in the field house waiting for the bus to take them to the D2 Finals in Florence AL, Kelly called him aside and informed him because he was a freshman and had more opportunities in the future he and the OC had decided to take him off the depth chart and move in a senior who was listed as a WR but had played sparingly on special teams “because it was his last chance to go the D2 finals.”

    Kelly told GVSU’s AD the talk of him taking the CMU job was just talk because no one would want to take a job that had that many problems with players having off field issues. The next day Kelly took the CMU job.

    He told CMU’s AD the contract he’d requested was in his desk and if he wasn’t offered the MSU job he’d be back at CMU. Forty-eight hours later, MSU announced Mark Dantonio was leaving Cincinnati to take the MSU job. Within 24 hours, Kelly was introduced as Cincinnati’s new coach.

    Kelly did say if Notre Dame ever offered he’d leave Cincinnati. Twelve seasons ago, ND offered and Kelly left Cincinnati for South Bend.

    While I’m no Brian Kelly fan, I think he understands the coaching business and he’s been a head coach for 30 years. He has been successful, but he understands he’s in a “what have you done for me lately?” existence. He’s been a good enough coach to give himself the opportunities to jump before he’s pushed.

    The idea of a coaches’ loyalty has always been a one-way street in the minds of fans and college ADs who lose their coaches to other schools. In the real world, loyalty is overrated. A coach loses and is fired, sometimes before the end of the contract, sometimes before the season is completed.

    Kelly coached Notre Dame football to more victories than any other coach has ever done. He left ND to LSU for a ten-year contract, more than doubling his ND salary. LSU has better football facilities (while ND dragged its feet on improving its football facilities) and this gives Kelly ability to recruit high caliber athletes who couldn’t get past ND’s admissions office but into other D1 schools including Michigan, Michigan State and all of the SEC.

    • Why even care…. it’s just a game already. We have much more important items on the agenda. Sports are the great distraction, glorified to take Americans eyes off the real issues.

  • DTOM, you calling Biden a liar is hilarious when your idol Trump is one of the biggest liars in the history of mankind. Do you have nothing better to do than to watch Fox News everyday and regurgitate what you hear on this platform? Give it a rest!

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