Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Tuesday that outgoing coach Brian Kelly didn’t give him a chance to match the offer that he accepted at LSU, adding that Kelly won’t coach the Irish in their bowl game.
Kelly was officially named as LSU’s new head coach Tuesday.
Swarbrick said he feels “less of a need to have a designated interim” but will designate someone on the staff to make head-coaching decisions as the Irish prepare for a possible College Football Playoff appearance. At worst, Notre Dame will play in a top New Year’s Day bowl game.
“I have every confidence we will be fully prepared for what I hope is a CFP game,” Swarbrick said. “Brian will not be a part of that for us.”
Regardless, any interim would not be a candidate for the permanent job, he said.
Notre Dame sits 11-1 and was No. 6 in the CFP rankings last week. However, the Irish could move into the top four after No. 2 Ohio State’s loss last week.
Swarbrick said he sensed a “certain restlessness” in Kelly the past few weeks, saying “it felt like somebody who might be open to a different opportunity,” including Kelly making “Freudian slips.”
Swarbrick also said he did not speak with Kelly until after the news broke Monday night.
“He did not discuss with me the conversations he had with other universities,” Swarbrick said. “We are always talking about the program’s needs. There was nothing identified at any time that was something we could not meet.”
Swarbrick said he has not reached out to any potential candidates yet, and said it’s about the right fit. He will not utilize a search firm. He also said he does not keep a list of potential candidates, instead plans to build characteristics of the next head coach.
Swarbrick’s comments come in the aftermath of a messy exodus by Kelly, who texted his team late Monday night only after media reports came out that he was heading to LSU.
“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,” Kelly’s message read, per The Athletic. “Our program is elite because of your hard work and commitment and I know that will continue. I will share more in the morning when we meet. Again, my sincere apologies for not being able to be the one to share the news directly with you.”
Further, The Athletic reported that Kelly ghosted his assistant coaches, some of whom were on recruiting trips.
Kelly reportedly met with his team Tuesday morning and left after roughly 11 minutes. According to the LSU press release, Kelly was flying to Baton Rouge on Tuesday afternoon.
Kelly, 60, became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, passing Knute Rockne, and won 113 of 153 games in 12 years at Notre Dame. He took the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff twice.
–Field Level Media