LSU hires Brian Kelly: Notre Dame coach takes on long career for SEC after 12 seasons with Fighting Irish

LSU Sources told CBS Sports ‘CBS Sports’ ‘Dennis Dodd’ Dennis Dodd has hired Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly to fill the vacancy. It is believed that the Tigers switched to flirting with Kelly after insulting Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, who was instead hired by USC.

Kelly has led Fighting Irish since 2010, becoming the winning coach in this season’s show history. He is 113-40 overall at Notre Dame with two College football Playoff berth and appearance in the 2013 BCS Championship Game. The Irish have a chance to advance to a third playoff this season. However, Notre Dame has struggled in post-season appearances. It lost 30-3 first Clemson in 2018 and next 31-14 Alabama in 2020. In the match against Bama 2013, ND lost 42-14 in one of the heaviest defeats in BCS history.

LSU’s appeal to Kelly is obvious. The Tigers’ three most recent coaches – Nick Saban, Les Miles, Ed Orgeron – were all national champions. Kelly will be able to take her recruiting to the next level and will likely be well compensated for it.

However, Notre Dame has found new life on the recruiting path since Kelly hired Marcus Freeman from Cincinnati as defense coordinator. Fighting Irish has a top recruiting class expected in 2022 for the first time in a decade and will have an even hotter start to 2023.

When asked last week if he was interested in other jobs, Kelly strongly declined. Obviously, things have changed.

“I mean, look, I think Mike Tomlin has the best lines, right?” Unless that fairy godmother comes along with that $250 million check, my wife will want to see it first. I have to run it by her,” Kelly said.

LSU contacted Kelly early in its process with Kelly initially turning down the Tigers, according to The Athletic, first reported LSU targeted Kelly on Monday.

With Riley off the board and Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher once again turned down an interest in LSU, athletic director Scott Woodward turning to his next big-name target. Woodward is famous for his swings. He’s the coach that brought Chris Petersen to Washington and Fisher to Texas A&M.

LSU fired Orgeron after 5 years and a 51-20 record. He led the show to a perfect 15-0 season and national championship in 2019 but went 11-11 in his last two seasons.

Woodward caught his big fish

Throughout LSU’s search for a coach, Woodward’s tendency to attract big names has been a storyline – and part of why the vacancy through Monday is partly a surprise. However, the patience worked because Woodward tried it again. But even hearing Kelly’s name was connected to the search, it came as a surprise.

Kelly is one of the most consistent coaches in the sport. He’s won at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Notre Dame and he’s sure to win football games at LSU.

This is one of the best college football jobs with endless resources and accessibility to recruiting terrain. Woodward made a calculated decision that the Tigers did not need to take advantage of the opportunity. This is the sensational hire everyone has come to expect from Woodward.

The best fit is quirky

Kelly, a Massachusetts native, has never coached in the Southeast. Only seven of his 27 recruits to the class of 2021 come from the South. Only two players on Notre Dame’s roster are from Louisiana.

Being a head coach at LSU means immediately jumping in and competing for those rookies, but at least Kelly is a different type of coach. Since his national championship in 2013, Notre Dame has not had a top-five team. (It’s worth noting, however, that Notre Dame’s Class of 2022 ranked 4th nationally and Class of 2023 ranked 2nd, according to 247 Sports.) Fighting Irish placed a respectable 12th in the category. General talent sports 247, but that would rank sixth in the SEC, excluding Texas and Oklahoma newcomers.

The SEC is a different animal. Kelly went from being a football coach at Notre Dame to being an active recruiter at LSU and quickly making new connections across the south at age 60. Yes, LSU self-recruits to a degree. some degree. However, not to the extent of championship.

Chase a bigger prize

Notre Dame has reached the College Football Playoffs in two of the past three seasons. Fighting Irish has finished in the top 12 for four consecutive seasons and is well on its way to finishing fifth. By all signs, Notre Dame is having its best days since Lou Holtz.

But for all its success, Notre Dame has failed to achieve championship-caliber status under Kelly’s supervision. Going south to the pulse of college football gives Kelly the best possible chance to fix that problem.

We hope to learn about what went down to Kelly’s decision in the coming days. Let’s be clear: he entered a job where the previous three coaches had all won national championships. If he plays his cards right, Kelly could also win at the highest level he has ever been an elusive ring.

The coaching carousel continues to send shockwaves throughout the college football landscape. Cover 3 Podcast offers instant reaction and analysis on LSU’s hiring of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. LSU hires Brian Kelly: Notre Dame coach takes on long career for SEC after 12 seasons with Fighting Irish


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