Brian Kelly’s stunning move ruffled a few feathers.
The 12-year Notre Dame head coach bolted for the LSU opening Monday for a reported 10-year deal in excess of $100 million. He will replace Ed Orgeron, who agreed with LSU in October to part ways following this season.
The decision appeared to blindside both his current players at Notre Dame and members of his staff. Kelly opted to inform his team over his departure late Monday night, according to an image obtained by The Athletic.
“Men… Let me first apologize for the late night text and, more importantly, for not being able to share the news with you in person that I will be leaving Notre Dame,” the message read. “I am flying back to South Bend tonight to be able to meet with you in the morning but the news broke late today and I am sorry you found out through social media or news reports.”
Kelly promised to provide a full explanation during an early-morning meeting Tuesday.
“I will have more to share when we meet tomorrow at 7 a.m. but for now, just know that my love for you is limitless and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished. … I will share more in the morning when we meet,” the message continued. “Again, my sincere apologies for not being able to be the one to share the news directly with you.”
The ramifications of Kelly’s decision reached the recruiting trail. He reportedly ghosted his assistants in the final hours, some of which were busy with recruits at the time and only heard about the decision from the news and social media: “The news broke when I walked out of the house, so I look like a f–king asshole,” one assistant told The Athletic. Administrators and boosters also had no idea the move was coming, according to the report. Notre Dame will potentially lose recruits who had committed under the assumption Kelly would be their coach. Oklahoma lost three recruits Sunday when news broke that Lincoln Riley was leaving for the USC job, and lost two more on Monday.
Kelly himself shot down the idea of leaving just one week ago. “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,” Kelly told reporters. “I’d have to run it by her.”