Brian Kelly's departure from Notre Dame was brief and rather awkward. A video of Kelly's four-minute long farewell speech to his players got leaked Wednesday morning by Barstool Sports. Right after the short meeting, Kelly hopped on a plane to Baton Rouge to meet with his new players.
Kelly explained to his new team the reason he left South Bend to take over the reins at LSU and his answer was simple - he wants to coach and compete with the best.
"I'm here because I wanted to coach the very best players in the country, that are afforded the best resources in the country, and play in the best conference in the country," Kelly said. "That is an incredible challenge to a football coach."
Kelly, who is the most winningest coach in Notre Dame history said the purpose of his first meeting was not to win anyone over but to start building trust amongst one another which Kelly admits will take some time.
“I got a chance to meet with the guys yesterday. As I told them, 'look, this is the first meeting, I’m not here to win the first meeting, I’m here to just let you know I am so excited to be your head football coach. This is just the first meeting of many opportunities where we’ll build trust. It’s not going to happen today, but we’re gonna trust each other. And that trust will take time, Kelly said. "You’ll see it with my deeds, my actions, how we interact on a day-to-day basis, and we’ll get to that point where these meetings will be very, very productive and we’ll get a lot accomplished.”
Kelly has been a successful coach in the college ranks, posting a 145–61 record as an FBS head coach with stints at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame. The Massachusetts native has spent his entire career coaching in the midwest, which has been an area of concern for some fans about the hire, considering Kelly to be a bad fit culturally.
The 60-year-old head coach is going to be in for a huge challenge as many of the teams in the SEC are a step above any program the Fighting Irish have to face on a regular basis.
In the past, Notre Dame has not fared well against some of the big dogs in the conference including Georgia, who the Irish lost to in a thriller of a game back in 2019, and of course, Alabama, who always seemed to have Kelly's number in big games, first getting blown out by the Crimson Tide in the 2013 BCS National Championship game and most recently in the 2021 College Football Playoff semi-final game. Kelly will now have the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Nick Saban every year and with the talent level at LSU and Alabama being fairly similar across the board, Kelly will finally have a fair shot to dethrone Saban and eventually earn a spot in the CFP.
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