Amongst other footballs featured in his office, Brian Kelly's 200th career win ball is centered in a case.

Brian Kelly: If His Walls Could Talk

Oct. 30, 2013

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What do you find if you walk into the office of a University of Notre Dame head coach? What’s on the walls often provides some insight into the past, the interests and the philosophies of each of those individuals. During the 2013-14 athletic season, we’ll take you into each of those offices and show and tell you about some items of significance and why they are meaningful.

The second-floor Guglielmino Athletics Complex office of University of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly befits an individual who has been a head coach for 23 seasons, coached into the postseason in 14 of those years and won national coach-of-the-year honors at three different stops.

One of the first things you notice in Kelly’s office is the ledge near the ceiling that facilitates a landing place for 11 helmets and eight footballs that represent the football playing and coaching careers of the Irish head coach.

The helmets represent his stops at St. John’s Prep (his high school in Massachusetts), Assumption College (he’s a 1983 graduate and former linebacker), Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, the University of Cincinnati (two helmets) and the University of Notre Dame (five helmets, including the Shamrock Series editions from the 2011-12-13 games).

The footballs represent a variety of his teams’ accomplishments:

— One from then-Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci noting Kelly’s 2002 NCAA Division II title at Grand Valley State.

— A game ball from that 2002 win over Valdosta State (31-24).

— Central Michigan’s 2006 Motor City Bowl appearance against Middle Tennessee

— One noting Notre Dame’s unbeaten 2012 regular season–including BCS and Notre Dame’s 125th seasons of football logos.

— Cincinnati’s 2007 International Bowl win over Western Michigan.

— The Bearcats’ 2007 Bowl win over Southern Mississippi.

— Cincinnati’s 2009 Orange Bowl appearance.

— Notre Dame’s 2010 Sun Bowl victory against Miami.

In addition, you can find:

* A large color aerial shot of the Irish football squad walking on game day down the library mall toward Notre Dame Stadium, with mobs of fans surrounding.

* Two mounted Louisville Slugger baseball bats–one from the Notre Dame Club of Boston representing his May 2013 stop at Fenway Park, and the other a black one from Shane Victorino of the Boston Red Sox.

“The Victorino bat is one of the cool gifts I’ve received,” says Kelly, an ardent Red Sox fan. “That gives me a little bit of my Boston connection in here as well.”

* A surfboard presented to him by the Notre Dame Club of Orange County.

“The first thing I would point to is the surfboard. You have recruits and their families come in here from all over the country, and they see rings and coach-of-the-year honors and footballs and different trinkets. But, who has a surfboard? Only at Notre Dame can we get a surfboard. So that was a must–that had to get on the wall,” says Kelly.

* A three-shelf bookcase that includes American Football Coach of the Year medallions from 2008-09-12, several dozen military medallions, a framed family photo, a Lucite case with a football from Kelly’s first win at Notre Dame over Purdue in 2010, two mounted Schutt helmets designating coach-of-the-year awards from 2001 and 2008, plus the orange and green adidas shoes the Irish wore in Dublin in their game against Navy in 2012.

* A framed copy of a June 2011 feature story on Kelly published in the Grand Rapids Press and featuring the dedication of the Kelly Family Sports Center.

* A plaque signifying his Associated Press National Coach of the Year award for 2012.

* Kelly’s framed honorary degree from Assumption College from his commencement speaking role in May 2012.

“I put that up so I can brag I have an honorary doctorate,” says Kelly with a smile.

* His Notre Dame Monogram Club scroll from 2013 signifying his honorary monogram.

“I take a lot of pride in that,” Kelly says.

* A large, color, framed family photo taken in Notre Dame Stadium.

“You’ve got to have a family picture,” Kelly says.

* On a side table, a Lucite box containing an inscribed ball from his 200th career victory in 2013 against Temple.

On a back wall are two AFCA plaques from coach-of-the-year awards in 2002 and 2012.

Next to them is a huge replica of a 1976 Indiana license plate featuring the tagline IRISH.

“I saw that in an art gallery, and the one thing I didn’t want this office to look like was every other coach’s office. I thought it gave a nice look, and I wanted something that was a little bit different,” Kelly says.

In front of that is the Home Depot trophy from his 2012 coaching award.

On a table in the sitting area is a wood-and-glass case featuring 11 rings won by various Kelly teams from various seasons. Also on that table are Lucite-encased game tickets from 2010 versus Purdue (Kelly’s first game with the Irish) and 2012 versus Oklahoma (arguably the best road win during the Kelly era).

Notre Dame’s head coach hopes the success of future Irish seasons will help add to his collections.

– John Heisler,

Senior Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations