The first question I received when it was first reported that LSU was targeting Brian Kelly was what are my thoughts. Simply put, not a fan of this sort of move. Let’s get into the idea of a marriage between Kelly and LSU.
Does it make sense?
Kelly is a well-established head coach. The win-loss record currently sits at 92-39 at Notre Dame and 263-96-2. He wins a lot more than he loses. The other part is does he have a championship pedigree? Well, two College Football Playoff appearances mean he has been close. They lost both matchups but the hardest part seems to be getting there on a consistent basis. LSU has been once.
Kelly won two national championships at the Division II level, so he has been to the pinnacle. Both times he went to the CFP, he lost to Clemson in 2018, 30-3. Last year they fell to the eventual champions in Alabama, 31-14. Kelly brings a resume, so you can check off the box.
Why doesn’t it make sense?
The first you look at is his resume, where has he been? Brian Kelly is a midwest guy having coached in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan for the entirety of his coaching career. He has no ties to the south. Notre Dame’s recruiting is different as a national brand. Their academic standards are higher than that of LSU.
It could prove difficult for a coach with no ties to the area or the SEC to come in and recruit. The state of Louisiana is one thing, LSU essentially recruits itself in this state. Outside of Louisiana is another. They do well in Texas as well but they are fighting with plenty of others in the state. The name Notre Dame means something nationally, so I am not sure how well he can recruit.
The other topic of discussion is his age. Kelly is close to retirement, he even discussed the possibility of leaving South Bend just last week according to our colleagues at Fighting Irish Wire.
“No, I mean, look, I think Mike Tomlin had the best line, right? Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250 million check, my wife would want to take a look at it first. I’d have to run it by her.” – Brian Kelly
Sure sounds like you would have to fight Mrs. Kelly to get Brian out of Notre Dame. It would also be a tough sell for one reason, how long would Kelly realistically stay in Baton Rouge.
Early in the process, Kelly was lukewarm to the idea of coming to LSU according to Adam Hunsucker of The Daily Advertiser. Nick Shepkowski of Fighting Irish Wire tells us that Kelly is wanting more money for assistants and facilities, getting his name attached to LSU could speed up the process on that with Notre Dame. One positive note is that it could get Marcus Freeman to LSU as a succession plan. However, it feels like this is an agent’s play.