Posted by DonJuan   
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 June 2013 )
Kelly and His Coaches
Posted by 2Lakes   
Friday, 13 December 2013
I know there is a segment of our fanbase calling for a big name to be hired. By that, I think those people mean someone with a great deal of credibility and a recognizable name and resume.

For the most part, I believe Coach Kelly would agree about the credibility part. His definition of credibility is probably much different than that of the average fan, however. We think in terms of names that are out there in the press: guys who reporters constantly site as premier position and assistant coaches. Coach Kelly, on the other hand, looks towards other coaches to tell him who is credible.

Take Hiestand, for example. Coach Kelly was reported, more than a few times, of having told how he polled a number of coaches about who would be good to coach the offensive line. Time and time again, he heard Harry's name as being someone very highly regarded.


"When I was searching to fill this position, I asked some of the most respected offensive line coaches in football whom they would recommend and Harry's name was routinely mentioned as one of the best. His history of developing NFL-caliber offensive linemen speaks for itself, and I know our linemen will learn a lot from him."


Fortunately, Harry was available. It did not matter to Coach Kelly that he was not well regarded at Tennessee or that he had been let go of by the Bears a few years back. According to our head coach's very wide network of colleagues, guys like Chip Kelly, Bill Belichick, and Urban Meyer, he was the guy; and regardless of how much the average fan bitched and moaned about it, Kelly was bound and determined to make him our next OL Coordinator.

 photo d82bde49-2037-4763-a82f-6b95fd332775.jpg

Kelly, Hiestand, Hoge, and Elliott

Expect the same thing now. If anything, Coach Kelly has more contacts than he had back when he selected Diaco while at Cincinnati, or decided to retain Alford when he came to Notre Dame, or chose Harry a couple years ago. He will take his time, talk to all those insiders that he has met as he climbed his way up the ranks, consider the talent he currently has on his staff, and choose a couple coaches who he believes will best compliment his current staff.

It will be coaches who can recruit, who can be team players, and who will fit in at Notre Dame. It will not be some Jon Tenuta experiment or a darling of the media. It probably will be a guy who makes you and I about as happy as fans were when he brought in Diaco, Martin, Elliott, and Hiestand. In other words, not very. Thank God for that.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 December 2013 )
Being Brian Kelly
Posted by Greg Tuel   
Sunday, 11 August 2013
The essence of Brian Kelly is not his keen intelligence or football acumen. Guys like Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer have far greater football IQ’s. No, what Coach Kelly possesses is far more rare and admirable.

With Coach Kelly, it is all about the perseverance of a man who has worked his way up from a completely unknown Division II graduate assistant to being the celebrated Head Coach of a team playing for The College National Championship. It is the confidence of a man who has learned to succeed by doing what he thinks is the best thing for himself and his football team, regardless of what others think. It is the veneer of hard fought self confidence, undeniable will, and a fierce desire to lead which defines the things he does and illuminates all that he has accomplished.

Going from a Division II head coach to become a successful coach at Notre Dame (and can any of us really deny that he has been successful so far?) is impressive enough; but let us for a moment consider the work he put in just to reach that humble “starting point.”

“This isn’t about the glory on a Saturday, it is about helping the kids.” Brian Kelly, 1991

 photo brian3.jpg It was March 22, 1991, and a thin, twenty-nine year old Brian Kelly had earned the job of Head Football Coach at Grand Valley State just four years after coming in as a graduate assistant. Consider how quickly he rose up: his rise at Grand Valley State would be akin to Scott Booker ending up the Head Coach at Notre Dame in 2016 (albeit at a much lower level). Still, as impressive as that rise was, it was just a natural progression from what came before and a ramping up to the meteoric rise to glory that followed.

Consider what Brian Kelly had already accomplished by 1991. Coming out of St. John’s Prep high school as a 5’10”, 185 pound nose guard and offensive guard who played very little until his final year, Kelly did not exactly have the measurables to be considered a “power player” much less the skills to be recruited as a “big skill player.” No one came calling, no college football scholarships were offered, and so Kelly joined the club team (funded by student government) of tiny Assumption College.

Now the race begins. Ready, set, go…

At Assumption, Kelly’s work ethic, leadership skills, and careful planning earned him the starting linebacker spot almost immediately, made him a four year letter winner, and ended with the honor of being a two-time captain who led his team in tackles those final seasons.

Graduating from being a player, Kelly was awarded the job of Linebackers’ Coach at Assumption, then Defensive Coordinator, while juggling the role as the Head Coach of the softball team. While “moving up” to Division II as a graduate assistant at Grand Valley State in the fall of 1987, Kelly did not waste his summer. Referred by Jay Toporoff, who worked in the Assumption College residential life office, as the “only one for the job,” Kelly became the head counselor for Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, a nearly 100% Jewish sports camp in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Incidentally, one of the eleven year old campers he mentored that summer was Jedd Fisch, the current Offensive Coordinator of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars (http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news...hs-jewish-past ).

So now, fresh from camp, we have arrived at Division II Grand Valley State. As a graduate assistant. Coming in from a school that played club football. And yet by that time, as we’ve seen, Kelly had already made tremendous strides; and he would continue to make incredible progress, moving from Graduate Assistant to Defensive and Recruiting Coordinator two years later, and then Head Football Coach two years after that.

Most of us know the rest of the story, two National Championships at GVSU, setting the Division II all-time scoring record, going 118-35-2, and then moving up to Division I MAC school Central Michigan. But let us stop here a moment, and gaze back at the photo, and more importantly, the picture we have painted of Coach Kelly.

Middling high school athlete, club team captain, tiny club school coach, summer counselor, Division II graduate assistant, Division II assistant coach, Division II head coach… Can you sense how determined and hard working Kelly was for those first 12 years of his life as an adult? Do you still doubt him?

Go Irish. Go Coach Kelly.
Last Updated ( Monday, 12 August 2013 )
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