When Brian Kelly left his post as the head football coach at Cincinnati to take the job at Notre Dame back in December of 2009, he infamously waited until the end of a team banquet, hours after the news broke, to tell his players he would be ditching them. But this week, after Kelly suddenly escaped the Irish to fill the open position at LSU, his players were lucky just to get a few minutes of his presence, let alone a whole meal.
Just like he did before he departed Cincinnati, Kelly spent the speculative days ahead of his exit firmly denying any interest in open coaching jobs outside of South Bend, naming $250 million as the absurd figure that would only start to make him consider the choice with his wife. Given Notre Dame’s level of prestige in college football, as well as their still-visible path to the playoff, it was easier to believe these claims than it was when Kelly was part of the Big East. But LSU, with a deal that could reportedly be worth up over $100 million over 10 years, apparently got close enough to the magic number, and in the blink of eye, the Tigers whisked Kelly out of Indiana and on the road to the SEC.
Pointing out the hypocrisy of college coaches is fish in a barrel at this point, but the abrupt and rude manner in which Kelly abandoned his team still, even in this cynical age, boggles the mind. It starts with the message the ex-coach sent to the Notre Dame players on Monday night, before he flew back into South Bend. Most importantly, it starts with “Men…Let me first apologize,” which is perhaps an acceptable beginning if you got out of hand at a Vegas bachelor party, but doesn’t quite connect as well when you’re leaving forever. It goes on to give obviously empty platitudes like “my love for you is limitless” and, aside from referencing the eliteness of the Notre Dame program, promises to give more details on Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m.
So all these Notre Dame players had to get up extremely early in the morning just to go say goodbye and perhaps get a more in-depth explanation from their disappearing coach. What they actually got was a brutally efficient farewell, one that was over before the sun even rose, because apparently the limit on Brian Kelly’s love is about 11 minutes.
Kelly’s car was spotted driving away from the facilities at just 7:13 a.m., perhaps never to be seen again. Men…It’s been real.