What Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said about Brian Kelly departure

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Notre Dame is on the search for a new head football coach after Brian Kelly shocked the college football world and left for LSU. LSU made the news official early Tuesday and will introduce Kelly on Wednesday afternoon.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick addressed the news on Tuesday morning during a press conference on Notre Dame’s campus. Here are the most significant things that Swarbrick had to say:

On program health

Sep 16, 2017; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly (left) and athletic director Jack Swarbrick (right) talk after Notre Dame defeated the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“I couldn’t be more pleased as I am today as I embark on another search. In my 14 years, this program has never been in better shape. We have never been in better position to take the next step in building this program into a consistent contender for national championships and I am excited with the opportunity to attract the next leader to do that. We are in that position, in significant part due to Coach Kelly, who did a marvelous job of helping restore the program at the University of Notre Dame.”

The athletes define the program

Apr 13, 2019; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick leaves the field following the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“But most importantly I am in an envious position as I go out now and search for the next leader because of our student-athletes. We have 118 of the best young men in American, who are the core of our program. I met with them this morning and I was reminded of that. And reminded of fact that the culture built in this program isn’t Jack Swarbrick’s culture, it isn’t Brian Kelly’s culture. It is the culture built by those young men and especially the leaders of that team. So I am most indebted to them, for what they built and they have my commitment that I will ensure that nothing that they build will be diminished or lost as we move this program forward.”

On naming an interim coach

Nov 24, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly celebrates with athletic director Jack Swarbrick after the game against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Notre Dame defeated USC 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“We haven’t made a decision on an interim yet and frankly we may approach it a little differently. This staff is so well structured and the responsibilities are so well understood, I feel less of a need to have a designated interim. But as the search progresses, if we feel the need to put somebody in that position, they would not a candidate for the job.”

Speed of naming a replacement

Dec. 11, 2009; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly shakes hands with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick as he is introduced at a news conference at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex at the University of Notre Dame. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“First and foremost is getting the right leader, I recognize the external factors if you will, the recruiting calendar, the transfer portals, but none of that is a reason not to make sure we run a process that get’s the very best person to lead this program forward, so that will be our focus.”

Who will lead the search

Oct 30, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; North Carolina Athletics Director Lawrence R. “Bubba” Cunningham, left, chats with Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick before the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“We will conduct that search, the University of Notre Dame and I will lead that search. If we use any outside sources it will be for administrative purposes, background checks, maybe, booking that might travel under a different name… No we will take the lead on the search.”

On Kelly’s decision to leave

John Swarbrick-USA Today Sports

“I was not surprised, there had been enough in the weeks leading up that gave me a pretty strong sense that there might be other things that were attracting Brian and then of course social media got very active during the day yesterday.”

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