Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Never Easy, But I've Seen Better Exits

On a day U.C. sold it's allotment of Sugar Bowl tickets, on a day U.C. celebrated an undefeated football season, and on a day electrifying wide receiver and return man Mardy Gilyard hoisted a team MVP trophy, all of the attention went to the proverbial "elephant in the room." The elephant being the head coaching situation. For a guy who practiced politics, I'm not sure Brian Kelly could have been more clumsy in the way he left his undefeated team behind. It's almost like he was taking advice from Tiger Woods' publicist. Sure, he had hoped to be able to keep a lid in things and tell his players first about his departure. He certainly did the right thing Monday by telling them firsthand he was going to listen to Notre Dame's offer. But it really got away from him Thursday. He had to know as soon as a deal was done it would start to seep out. It always does. Reports were seeping out of South Bend by late afternoon. Kelly had to know those reports were true. That very second he owed it to his team to tell them, and if that meant right before the banquet, so be it. Instead, players sat through the banquet while the rest of the world outside was learning Kelly was a goner and the undefeated Bearcats no longer had a head coach. It was very odd before the banquet to see young men giving interviews about the situation, the speculation, and the "elephant in the room" while their highly paid 47 year old coach with all of the answers walked in with a police escort but nary a word to say. I have no doubt Brian was sworn to secrecy by Notre Dame. That became apparent when, after the banquet, just moments after telling his players the news, he appeared on ESPN and would not admit he had accepted the job. It was numbing to watch. It would have been more numbing to witness him slipping out the back, without a single comment to the heathen media he chastised two and half years earlier for not covering his team properly. No question, Kelly did great work at U.C. and the program is much better off because of him. He set the bar high. But he left one thing behind that any coach will be able to improve upon: making a better exit.


  1. Brian Kelly has obligations-first and foremost is his family, then his team, then the fans. He made a decision that benefits him and his family as well as fulfills a dream. Everyone knew it was coming and should not be so offended by his departure. I keep hearing about loyalty, but I would like to see some of these players in the NFL one day staying LOYAL to their team and not following the dollar.

  2. Yeah, a lot of those tickets went to scalpers. You can still get em - I found mine through this helpful site where you can compare deals from the trusted vendors:

    They also have a hilarious blog too! Check this one out:

  3. I understand the desire to earn and make more money and have no problem with Kelly leaving, however, when a General leads his troops to take the hill, he leads them to the top. He doesn't get them to the last tier before the top then abandon the troops under the auspices of "they are in good hands." Those hands may be good, but they weren't the hands that led them forward all the while.

    Again, as a Capitalist, go Kelly - go where the work is and where you can advance your career. However, as man who tries to maintain character, Kelly remains a disappointment.