After one of the most chaotic weeks inside the Gug resulted in a victory, Jack Swarbrick publicly discussed the difficult week for his highest-paid employee. And in case you weren’t sure, Swarbrick’s belief in Brian Kelly is unchanged.
Speaking to the South Bend Tribune, Swarbrick gave not just a vote of confidence to his seventh-year head coach, but talked about the thought process that went into removing defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.
“My message, publicly and privately, is the program is in great shape,” Swarbrick told the South Bend Tribune. “When there are big program problems, that’s harder to deal with. When you just have to start playing as well as you can, it’s a narrower search.
“‘How do we fix that?’”
The commitment to Kelly isn’t surprising. It’s also not the first publicly supportive stance Swarbrick’s taken—he spoke with ABC57 in South Bend last week as well, an interview that’ll touch on more than just the current struggles on the football field, but also the larger ambitions of the Campus Crossroads project and the athletic department.
While some wondered if Swarbrick triggered the move by Kelly, it’s fairly clear that the relationship between head coach and athletic director is one where a big decision like the dismissal of your highest profile assistant isn’t made lightly, but done after significant discussion.
Swarbrick and Kelly identified what was broken and then made the move.
“We’re 1-3, everybody wants to know you’re doing something,” Swarbrick said. “You just can’t say, ‘We’re not going to change anything.’ Regardless of friendships; regardless of how much someone may like somebody; the message you send when you make some changes (is) that you’re willing to do what you need to do to win.
“From a staff and player perspective, notwithstanding the personal sorrow about it because of their relationships, they’re glad to see you’re doing it. ‘OK, we’ll follow you’re direction. Let’s go.'”