Being from Cincinnati, I heard a lot of negative opinions about Brian Kelly. At the time, I attributed it to sour grapes over the way Kelly left the University of Cincinnati.
And, truth be told, the Kelly Cares Foundation was a client of our marketing agency and I have to say my limited experiences with the coach were fairly positive. He wasn’t the warmest individual in the world, but I thought he did good things on the field and, through the Foundation, some laudable things for the community.
So, my first reaction when Kelly abruptly left Notre Dame was disappointment. As I thought about it and saw how he handled things in his initial Louisiana State University comments, that disappointment grew deeper. But a few days ago, I saw Kelly’s true colors and they weren’t very pretty.
Here are a few of his comments to The Associated Press:
- “It’s been awesome (being at LSU) because you’ve got incredible facilities, you’ve got players that want to be great.”
- “I want to be in an environment where I have the resources to win a national championship. And I came down here because I want to be in the American League East.” (Whatever that means.)
- “I felt like that what I was looking for was student-athlete centered. And I was pushing for more for the student-athlete. And I wanted to see that piece. And we didn’t seem to be on the same path as to how that was going to get accomplished.”
Kelly went on to say that he’d wanted a chef dedicated to the football program and a new facility to replace the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, which currently houses the football team and does not have a dining hall. “We don’t have that,” Kelly said of LSU’s nutrition center, reflexively referring to Notre Dame as we. “We hand out food. That’s precooked.”
As petty and irrelevant as these perceived deficiencies at Notre Dame were, what was most egregious were his comments about wanting players who want to be great. Seriously? What did he think his ND players were? And I would submit that the average player at Notre Dame more genuinely embodies the spirit of a student-athlete than the typical LSU recruit.
Kelly’s lack of respect for Notre Dame and the players who gave their all for him is more than appalling. It is pathetic.