December 10, 2009
Let the South Bend Tribune be the first to break the news:
According to two university sources familiar with the search process, University of Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly will be named Charlie Weis' successor at Notre Dame.
Kelly is expected to meet with his team Thursday night before the Bearcats' football banquet to inform them of his decision. The media were suddenly banned from the banquet Thursday afternoon.
ND site Irish Illustrated adds to the chorus. The media banishment from Cincy's banquet is a nice detail given what we already assumed, which is that Kelly was the slam-dunk choice before Weis' chair was cold and had only to iron out the details before bidding his team adieu tonight. Through all the Urban Meyer/Bob Stoops/Kirk Ferentz chatter, there was never a realistic chance it was going to be anybody else.
Kelly is inheriting the weirdest, toughest job in sports, one that's swallowed up three straight coaches who all left with winning records and BCS bowl games on the resumés and brings with it labyrinthine social and political obligations. But when you've won championships at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati, of all places -- a basketball school that had never finished in the final polls before Kelly's arrival, and has finished there three years in a row since in a rocket ascent into the top five -- a stinking rich spot like Notre Dame is going to seem like the Valley of the Kings. Just ignore all of your mummified predecessors, coach, and you'll be fine.