Friday, December 11, 2009

Notre Dame better get it right with Kelly

Brian Kelly is leaving Cincinnati to become the head football coach at Notre Dame.The not so Fighting Irish better hope they actually get it right this time.Since I've been paying attention to college football,Notre Dame has been atrocious at hiring coaches.There have been a few times they had it right.Such as Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.Let me run this down.After Devine retired they decided to go against the grain and hire a high school coach.Not just any high school coach,but Gerry Faust from the mighty Cincinnati Moeller.Surely a huge step up for anyone let alone a high school coach.Faust lasted for 5 uninspiring seasons before being dumped for Lou Holtz.That turned out to be a good hire as he kept the Irish in national championship contention,winning it all in 1988.Also Holtz who had a habit of staying one step ahead of the NCAA just about everywhere he coached,stepped down in 1996,making way for assistant Bob Davie.Now,Davie wasn't that bad,but he wasn't that good either.He brought in talent,but didn't seem to coach it up.After Davie,it was Tyrone Willingham's turn at the helm of this sinking ship.Willingham came in with a bang with a 10-3 season beating higher ranked opponents Michigan and Florida State along the way.After that was a disaster, as he went 11-12 over the next two seasons,and wasn't bringing in highly rated recruiting classes.His class of 2004 recruits was judged to be the worst in 20 years at Notre Dame.He subsequently was let go and bought out of his contract.That gave us the Charlie Weis era or should I say error.Weis came riding in with his Super Bowl rings and NFL championship pedigree.That didn't seem to matter to the rest of the college football world.Weis go off to a fast start,going 9-3 and going to the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.He helped improve the offense, Brady Quinn especially,as Quinn wnet on to break numerous school passing records.Wesi went 10-2 in his second season,but was walloped in the Sugar Bowl against LSU.After that the bottom dropped on the program as he went 3-9,7-6,and 6-6 in the following seasons that sealed his fate.Thing was Weis wasn't their first,second ,or third  choice for the job.The man they wanted most,Urban Meyer packed his bags and went to Florida.Now that brings us to the next "hot" name in the coaching community,Mr.Brian Kelly.After winning two national championships in his 13 years at  Division II Grand Valley State,Kelly took his show to Central Michigan and made them relevant in the Mid American Conference after the tumultuous Mike Debord reign.He coached the Chippewas to the 2006 MAC championship before taking the job at Cincinnati.He coached the Bearcats to a winning effort in the International Bowl.He then turned the Bearcats into a major player in the Big East with 3 10 win seasons and back to back Big East titles and BCS bowl berths.Now he has the task of building Notre Dame into a national contender once again.He has won everywhere he's been,so he's more than able for the job.But will the academic guidelines and someimes tough schedule derail his efforts.We'll see.He's gonna hit the ground running because he won't be coaching Cincinnati in their Sugar Bowl game versus Florida.The players will get to South Bend,the only question that remains is will it all translate on the field.Bottom line, this hire will have to be a grand slam or he too could be gone within five years.

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