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Stability prevails as Kelly signs two-year extension

Jan 10, 2012, 8:09 PM EDT

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Practice

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame have struck a deal that extends the head coach’s contract through the 2016 season, the university announced today. The school officially exercised an option to extend his original contract two years.

“While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past two years.” athletics director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition.”

While it’ll never top the extension that Kevin White doled out to Charlie Weis early in his tenure at Notre Dame, Kelly had nothing but pleasant things to say about the additional years.

“I want to thank Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for their unwavering support of me the last two years,” Kelly said in the same statement. “My family and I are truly blessed to be at Notre Dame and we are excited about what the future holds for the Fighting Irish football team. I also want to thank Father John and Jack for the commitment they made to the football program last week by renewing the contracts of our assistant coaches. I think we have one of the finest coaching staffs in the country at Notre Dame, and the confidence our administration has shown in us is truly appreciated.”

Kelly’s comment about renewing the contracts of the assistant coaching staff is the one area where you can start digging if you’re wondering about the timing of the announcement, which should give a boost to the Irish staff as they head down the home stretch of recruiting.

Swarbrick echoed the same sentiment in his comments as well, lending more credence to the fact that this was a measured response to Urban Meyer’s staff poaching and Charley Molnar’s departure.

“The quality of the assistant coaches that Coach Kelly has brought to Notre Dame is evident both in their performance and the interest that other schools have shown in them since the end of the regular season,” Swarbrick said. “Building on the foundation we have now created and maintaining continuity is critical to the future success of our football program, and that is why we have secured the continued service of our football staff.”

Some fans critical of Kelly’s performance these first two years are likely grinding their teeth at the university extending the contract of a coach with back-to-back eight win seasons, hardly “wake up the echoes” material. That said, this is business as usual in the college football world, where contract extensions are largely a show pony for program stability and recruiting.

You can’t blame some Irish fans for ducking for cover when any extension is announced, but most reactions are a product of that horrific extension given to Charlie Weis, a ten-year deal that certainly backfired, but was the source of some ridiculously inaccurate reporting.

We’ll likely find out the exact buy-out Weis had as Notre Dame rolls out their annual tax documents for public consumption, but you can be assured that it was nowhere in the $30-$45 million dollar range some media outlets were irresponsibly reporting. Likewise, with Jack Swarbrick in charge of the athletic department, a man who comes armed with a high-powered legal background, you can bet that any contract Kelly signed doesn’t guarantee the full value, and has plenty of protection for Notre Dame. That’s business as usual (or at least business as it should be).

Looking beyond the contractual minutia, from a program stability perspective, this is exactly the right time for this contract. Walking into a difficult 2012 schedule, the last thing Swarbrick wants to do is deal with questions about his head coach’s contract, which will be the first thing opposing schools point out when recruiting against the Irish. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this negotiation included some budgetary moves for the assistant coaching pool, with nobody at Notre Dame likely pleased that two coaches on staff were willing to make what appeared to be lateral moves to Ohio State.

  1. barneysbullet - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Awww, come on ND; you just HAD to go and jinx the best coach we’ve had in awhile…

  2. trbowman - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Oh God. This is terrible news.

  3. gtizzo - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    First and foremost Keith you last two articles have been great. Solid reporting backed up with solid facts and some good fan stuff also, I give you a well done sir! This is the right time for this Jack Swarbrick is backing his guy, he hired Kelly, he knows its been hard, but you gotta back your “horse”. Doubling down at this point isn’t a bad idea with a tough schedule ahead. When you break down what BK needs to be successful what do we always end up at…NEW QB. Kills two birds with one stone new QB, hopefully less turnovers. Reel in Ronald Darby (again) and life is good.

  4. dickasman - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Lol horrible but necessary evil unfortunately. I was dumbfounded at first but it is necessary due to recruiting and poaching. At least they didn’t try to hire O’leary again.

  5. danno27 - Jan 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    I don’t see how any non-hallucinating ND fan can not be happy about this development. Gives the appearance of security, shows support in a turbulent offseason, and moves us further down the road towards perennial BCS competition.

    As Keith (probably) futilely tried to point out, a guy with a Stanford law degree, who is only too aware of the last decision to extend an ND coach’s contract, is going to build protections into the contract so that the school isn’t left holding the bag in case things go south. Unfortunately, we are a village of crazies, and I’m sure there are plenty of turd fergusons moaning today that this is some sort of repeat of the Weis debacle.

    three weeks till signing day – there’s plenty more fun to come! Darby, come Home!

  6. klownboy - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Hey ND fans, you like the move?

    I think Kelly is a good coach who has his team playing better. He needs to do a better job in recruiting, I think…

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      I don’t like it but I understand it.

  7. c4evr - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Means absolutely nothing… except that Kelly will still be getting a paycheck from Notre Dame while coaching at another school, LOL.

  8. domer77blowsgoats - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    lets all hope nudeman doesn’t get any extension to post more useless BS through 2016…

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      This is free country good/bad/ugly. Nudeman’s fine, I don’t mind reading his garbage.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        your patriotism is noted

        and also is your confirmation that its garbage…

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,U-S-A, U-S-A,

  9. c4evr - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Meant to say , “Where’s your proof, dmacirish?” Don’t want to sound like another rambling idiot on this board…

  10. tomknd65 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Good for ND
    1. Coach Kelly now has two mobile QB’s and an experienced backup.
    2. Stability
    3. The right attitude
    4. Has been building the OL , DL and LB (inherited woeful depleted lines)
    5. Working on recruiting defensive secondary to fill what is now adequate
    6. Will continue to build the skill positions
    7, Coach Martin should have been the OC all along but Coach Kelly was loyal to coach who did well with him in Cincy

    Most Important…he has a plan mapped out and has stayed with it…he is passionate and eager to succeed…we will see that…worried about yelling…he’ll deal with it when QB’s read and execute all at the same time.

    If you listened to some of the interviews after Monday’s game…you should be very happy with the quality of athlete he has recruited…their speech will not cause us to cringe..

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

      8. He also has 2 years each with 5 losses….NOW WHAT?

      • dmac4real - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:34 PM

        better than two years with 6

  11. 808raiderinparadise - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Kelly is a great coach.

    BUT you can’t win big in college football without a playmaking/star QB.

    Rees is cardboard. Throws costly picks at crucial points and the stage is too big for him. Not Mobile, bad touch, he is a back-up QB pedigree. You will never win big with Rees. Never.

    Hendrix seemingly gets a lot of support from fans and bloggers in here, but I think his mobility is not that great to overcompensate for his bad pocket precense and big arm. that is just a big arm. big arm means nothing.

    Crist better than both above and shafted hard for a sloppy rain game opener in one half of football. If he played the whole season this year I think ND would have been much better offensively.

    EVERETT GOLSON – undersized athletic QB recruited out of Carolina. Fast, quick and cat like agility, a natural running QB that has accuracy/passing skills that are superior to Rees and Hendrix for Kellys offense. he has had a learning curve digetsing the playbook and situational mentality of playing QB at ND. Although he is ready this year. He is Kelly’s prized recruit and face it, athletic QB’s win in college football. Look at oregon, stanford, baylor, wisconsin. Enough said. Look at Denard Robinson @ MICH … couldn’t play QB in NFL if his life depended on it, but he gets to the edge with ease and pullls up defenders and has easy wide-open throws at his disposal. Stat machine, and a winner. Fun to watch. Everett can take this team with this defense and offense to a BCS game in 2012. great pocket passers are much harder to find and develop in college. the Barkleys of the world are tough to find ….. you want to win …. and win now …. golson.

    or you can watch Rees who was spoiled with the best TE in the country and one of the best WR in the country, a great o-line and 2 RB’s with speed and playmakers all over struggle to score against pitt and BC.

    Rees is a joke.

    • dmac4real - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      Crist’s first half was very sunny vs USF…I was there…just saying. Rain was not an excuse for him

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Thanks for that. Regardless the weather, it was a terrible move and message sent from Kelly that set the tone for the season of QB play. It was stupid to talk up Crist as the type of leader he wants for this football team and then bench him after a poor half. That really was defalted by Gray’s fumble to blame for the waterfall of mistakes after. I do like Kelly a lot for ND he is a great and rare finding fit, BUT that was his low point.

        He needs a QB to win.

        not happening in my opinion

        Golson fits HIS offense.

  12. gtizzo - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I want to share some research, that isn’t mine, but shows the value of waiting. There is a college football coach today that in his first five years his record was 22-32-1 and in his sixth year was 2-8-1 (before over time rules were in place). Today his program is one of the most consistent winners in college football, and has several BCS wins under its belt. Can you name him? (Jeopardy Music)

    Answer: Frank Beamer at Virgina Tech.

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      1. He was also hired way back in 1808 when you were given more than 5 years in some cases to prove your worth.
      2. Nobody cared/s about Virginia Tech. You’re scraping bottom of the barrel here. Bar is set way low. You’re comparing ND to VT? Brilliant!

      • ihatemistate - Jan 12, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        Ironically VT would have kicked our ass.

  13. joewyoming - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Love this News!! The arrow is up. Go Irish!

  14. joewyoming - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    And one thing is for sure… Kelly knows more about football and building a successful program than any of the blowhard commentators here. He’s only two years in and seems to be doing what he needs to do and in the right way. Glad to hear it.

    • dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      Joe, you must be hanging around the sheeps too much. As one of those so called “blowhards” that you sorely describe, I hope you sir are correct. I am just looking at the facts and 8-5 is 8-5, back to back or not. That’s all.

      I really hope you are correct though! Kelly will prolly make it up with a undefeated 2012 season though so cheers to undefeated 2012 season baby!

  15. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    “Stability prevails…” Did the ND/NBC slappy that wrote that “forget” the assistant coaching changes?

  16. takingbovadasmoney - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    hey arnold, wipe off the swarbrick man juice on tour face!

  17. irishfan2791 - Jan 12, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Kelly is the right man for the job, this program was left in such disarray that to expect a national championship in the first to years was ridiculous, there was a mindset and I guess there still is that ND can’t win, This is slowly changing I think Kelly is starting to build a winning mentality, he expects it, that’s why he yells and gets frustrated. I see NFL coaches do it all the time, why is it a problem when the coach of Notre Dame does it? You look at all the freshmen and sophomores that have played during his little coaching career here and they all are getting better, making progress. I think that Everett Golson or Andrew Hendrix will be the starting Quarterback, I think Kelly will make the decision much earlier in the offseason so the starter has time to gel with the receivers which you could obviously see was the case in the beginning of the season. This guy is going to win a lot of games by the time it is all said and done and I wouldn’t be surprised if when 2017 rolls around Kelly is still prowling the sidelines. 2012 is going to be a big year for the Irish.

  18. ndirish44 - Jan 12, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Yes Kelly is no Urban Meyer…or he would have quit after his 2nd 5 loss season to spend more time with his family. He did make a mistake with Rees over Crist…all things being even, Rees threw an interception at the worst time against Tulsa…and ND missed out on a field goal attempt and a win. That was how I felt going into the season…and Rees has proven over and over again that same behavior with crucial turnovers at crucial points in the game and on the field. I am still on board with Kelly…just wish his ego would allow him to say he was wrong. Good luck to Dayne at Kansas…Go Irish!

    • tomknd65 - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Crist benching was no mistake…he has great talent granted…but even Rees who is 50% of the talent had better game command…Crist had his time the year before…Crist is a great practice QB but never settled done on the game field….I hope he does better in Kansas…good kid

  19. 700levelvet - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    8-5 gets you a 2 year extension….???? Oh that’s right he beat Navy…..

  20. irish4me - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I’m ALL in on the Deal Jack made to extend Brian Kelly 2 years. It takes time to build a Football program form the shambles that Charlie Weiss left it in. Kelly has proved to be a great recruiter. This is only his second recruiting season at ND. The Irish Defensive front seven prove this to a man. Our defense has improved immensely under Kelly. Sure Kelly has made some mistakes, the QB situation is a perfect example, I’m hoping that Martin will sort that one out by having a Spring competition between Golsen and Hendrix. Those ready to throw Hendrix out due to one game against Florida St. after just a few snaps need to get a grip, we need to give one of these kids a chance and not expect Joe Montanna or Brady Quinn from the first snap. It’s a process, so relax. One thing I’m sure of is, we’re all IN for the Irish so go “Blue and Gold”. Kelly is here to stay so let’s calm down and see what happens, I believe Jack Swarbrick made the deal because he’s smart enough to know that a coach can’t be constantly looking over his shoulder, with next years schedule it was important to show support and I think Kelly deserves a chance to let it play out.

  21. dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    STAFFING UPDATE:,0,5916277.story

    Harry Hiestand?
    judging by the experience, it seems he would be a good hire. I am not worried about his coaching but rather I hope he knows how to recruit.

  22. ihatemistate - Jan 12, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    My how soon you all forget…just 3 weeks ago Kelly was the worst thing living in South Bend, now he’s a good coach?? He sucks. The only reasons that they signed him 2 more years is to avoid the “Weis debacle”, and they can’t get another coach much better anymore. They go thru coaches like underwear. Every time we have lost he directly or indirectly caused it. Mark my word, we’ll be singing a different tune in a year. I know I’m done spending every Saturday in the fall watching him scream at players like a madman. You don’t see other good coaches do that to the extent he does.

  23. arizonapetdoctor - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Does a two-year extension really matter to recruits when we see coaches leaving all of the time without finishing their existing contracts?

  24. joeschu - Jan 15, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    As I’ve said in the past, I have little to no hope, and I have seen ZERO evidence, that BK is the right guy, or that ND will be nationally relevant under his leadership (meaning BCS bowl victory).

    That being said, this is a necessary evil. There isn’t anyone out there that is both better AND willing to take the job. Moreover, the most consistent thing in this 15+ year disaster is churn. We can’t keep rolling over coaches and wonder why it isn’t working. Even if BK isn’t the guy, he has to be the guy a bit longer. It sucks, but it sucks less than the alternative of shaking things up again for some other guy who isn’t proven either.

    This had to be done. The only credit I’ll give Swarbrick here is that this is a 2 year deal instead of some ridiculous nut-job 5-10 year thing. At least we’re learning.

    I just hope they can convey to him that “get used to it” and “my guys” and “Rees is good” aren’t sounding too credible until he’s got a few double digit win seasons under his belt.

  25. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    My personal opinion is that Kelly did nothing to deserve the extension. He has not proven anything as far as his “coaching” goes. Quite the opposite. He’s shown us that he can yell like hell. He’s clueless on teaching quarterbacks. He’s clueless about making halftime adjustments. He seems to be a better politician than a coach.

    Coaching? Coaching? Coaching? What coaching?***Jim Mora Sr. voice***

    If anybody deserves any raise at ND Football program its Manti Teo, Aaron Lynch and Tyler Eifert. Let’s not get it twisted. Universities today are corporations NOT institutions(see Edited by Keith because Dickasman triggers my spam filter bowls). Its a business. But unfortunately, it’s also the lay of the land today.

  26. Jennifer - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Other than your ridiculous parentheses sentence, you make an arguable point. I’m sure this has to do with the recruiting angle, but I would rather the extension talks came at the end of the 2012 Season.

  27. dmacirish - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    dick – you are wrong about kelly. he is a good coach. i dont believe that he is, it has been proven that he is. his past records indicate that he is a winner and will prove to be the same here at notre dame. to speak on a few of your “points”, you cant have it both way – dont yell at the kids because they are kids but please pay the kids because they are professional athletes. one or there other there dicky.
    halftime adjustments – full season scoring 2nd half of game nd: 173 opp: 135. we won the second half. obviously we did not win all of our games but we were able to continue scoring after the opponents made adjustments (which implies we adjusted) and limit their scoring after opponents made adjustments (which implies we adjusted).

    go irish.

  28. c4evr - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Totally concur that it’s all big business. And as business decisions go, extending kelly ranks up there with the decision to go with New Coke. He represents the ‘New Irish’ – Rock music, Jumbotron, Ka-Chow shiny helmets. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next step is putting an electronic scrolling ticker on their jerseys that roll through the player’s name to the advertisements. Just glad I lived during the time when football WAS the message, not the medium.

  29. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I used to be one of them traditional purists like many of you on this board but things change. Times change. We don’t have to like it but we have to recognize it and accept it sometimes, even though we don’t like it. I used to be completely 10000% against paying the student athletes but I am finally seeing the ridiculousness and the hypocrisy of it all. Coaches bounce around like a pinball machine year after year after promising kids he’ll be there for 4 years. Means nothing. I don’t think it’d hurt to pay the source of income a little, like 1500 per mo stipend. Yes, I know they get scholarships.

  30. papadec - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    Jen – emmmmm nah – gotta disagree with you here. Exercising a 2 year option, two years into a five year contract is administratively appropriate. It is certainly better than that whole Weis mess. I would guess that there are 2 year options, every two years. That would be prudent on the part of ND.

  31. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM


    I’ll just take your word for it because I don’t see what you see. I thought he was before he got here. I liked him at Cincinnati better after seeing 2 years of what he has done but I’m willing to give him another year. I only call it as I see it. If his record is better than 8-5 next year, I might call him a good coach. I guess he’s good enough of a coach to get a 2 year extension but that ain’t saying much. Anybody can get extended at ND. ND throws dough around like it’s communion bread.

    We’ll see how next year pans out. But so far in my eyes, he’s got long ways to go but I’ll be rooting for him.

  32. c4evr - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Where’s your proof? The Big East and Div. 2? Give me a guy that’s never coached and has come up through the ranks and been mentored by the best (a la Urban Meyer/Lou Holtz) over a guy who’s won at lower tiers. By your reasoning, Gerry Faust should have a statue outside the stadium by now. I’m sorry, I may be sounding harsh… I think you have a point. Kelly’s current team could definitely vie for a Div. 2 title next year.

  33. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    OMG ND fan w/ a sense of sarcasmic humor!!!! You sir are like a Knute Rockne of ND Fans, high five!

  34. dmac4real - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    So basically you want Charlie Weis, a guy who was never a head coach but was mentored by the best…yea that makes sense.

  35. dmacirish - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    disclosure – i did not leave that thumbs down.

    as you say notre dame has a lot of money at its disposal, sign the guy for two years – if he sucks after one give him the boot, no big loss. the upside is to at least present the idea of being confident in the coach, let your recruits feel as though there is a sense of continuity here. basic arguments would shut down the “2 years!?! why the @#$% did we sign him for 2 more years?”
    beyond that i do think he is a good coach. we can all agree that these kids are not new to fundamentals – hold onto the ball, don’t force throws, etc. but these were not properly executed during the season resulting in at least 3 of our losses. people like to push the blame on the coach in one breath and then mention that these kids deserve to be treated like minor league football players. it is not the coaches fault, not at this level. the mad hatter is a great coach and has lsu playing at a pretty good level. they sucked it up at the nc game, is that the coaches fault? really would you need a coach to get you ready for that game? no, it is on the players.
    coach needs 2 more years to coach these players to play as a team, to follow the path to unconscious competence – after that then we can discuss looking for a new coach if necessary.

  36. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:35 PM


    I could careless if you left that thumbs down…I’m a big boy, I can take it but thanks for letting me know, XOXO! 2 years you say? Boy you must live in a paradise or hickville usa… I’m in Chicago, I’ll give him another year and that’s it. Pretty sure most ND fans are willing to give him another year but not sure about 2 more yrs of mediocrity!

  37. dmac4real - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Dickasman—These last two years have been better than most recently. Im not sure where you’re getting this sense of entitlement that ND should be getting 10 wins every year. Lets be honest, the last 20 years have been mediocre. Id consider all of this an upgrade over the last few years.

  38. dickasman - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    dmac, you got a point there, you’re right ND SUccckkkkkkxxxxX! 😉
    sad part is that Alabama now has more championships than ND. I guess I am living in the past…

  39. Jennifer - Jan 12, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Right you are, Papa ~ I shot that off too fast w/o much thought. Mea Culpa!

  40. Jennifer - Jan 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    papa ~ thanks for the correction. Makes total sense, of course.

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