Dec. 11, 2009
JACK SWARBRICK: Good afternoon. Thanks to all of you for joining us here today on a very special and exciting day, not just for the Notre Dame football program but for the University and the Notre Dame family. I well understand that I’m the undercard in this program, but I hope you’ll bear with me and let me take a couple minutes to acknowledge a few people and give thanks to them.
First of all, our coaches and student-athletes. The transition of this nature is never easy, and it’s especially challenging for them, and they have handled it like the champions they are. And so I want to thank them.
Special thanks to Akron’s new head coach, Rob Ianello, for doing such a great job in the interim, and Rob, congratulations to you. You’ll do a great job.
Special note to a couple of the players, one of them Golden Tate, to congratulate him on winning the Biletnikoff Award last night. We’re extremely proud of Golden. We wish him and the guy who helped make all of that possible, Jimmy Clausen, the best of luck as they enter the draft, two extraordinary players and two great leaders who have helped create the foundation for this program to go forward.
As I embarked on this process, I wanted to make sure that I had the guidance I needed from our football team, from our student athletes, so I asked a group of them to counsel me, and they have done an extraordinary job of doing that, keeping me on the right path throughout this, and I just want to acknowledge them briefly because during a busy time in their lives, they took the time to help me in this process. And that’s Armando Allen, Dayne Crist, Michael Floyd, Kapron Lewis Moore, Zach Martin, Kyle Rudolph, Brian Smith, Chris Stewart, and Manti Te’o. Thanks to all of them.
A special and more personal thanks to my family and staff. When I go underground, I really go underground, and my staff did an extraordinary job of keeping the business going, but even more of a thanks to Kimberly and the kids for just putting up with a completely absent dad for a couple weeks here, and husband, and I can’t thank them enough for all their support.
I want to thank the leadership of the University who helped make a very successful process work. More people than I could name, but three in particular I want to cite, Phil Purcell, who’s the chairman of the athletics advisory committee of the board of trustees. Phil has been a great counsel to me throughout this. Tricia Bellia, our faculty rep, chair of the faculty board, could not have been a better partner in this as we worked our way through. And finally Marianne Corr, our general counsel. I do what I can to make Marianne’s life hard, and she manages to deal with everything we throw at her, so thanks to Marianne.
Mainly I want to thank my boss, John Jenkins. I am very proud of this process. Everybody will have their opinion on the outcome of the process, of course, but the process itself met all of our goals, and that happened in principal part because Father Jenkins allowed me to set the process up and run it in the way that made sense to get the best possible coach. It was he and I in the deliberations, he and I making the decisions, and his support of that model and allowing it to be streamlined and confidential, is what ultimately, I think, made it such a success.
When I set up that process, I was focused on three things: One was developing a set of criteria before we thought about any candidates, and I did that with the help of the players. What are the criteria that we would use in trying to find our next leader?
We also focused on a timeline with the goal of having the candidate announced by this weekend. I am never early at anything. I am really pleased to be here a day early.
And finally that we maintain absolute confidentiality, and we did. I appreciate all that was written about this process. I love the interest that was shown in it. But we never had a leak. We never had a breach of the confidentiality of this process, in part because the circle was kept so small, until the story began to break yesterday.
As we administered that process and worked our way through it, there were two things that became very obvious to me. One is that college football is in great shape. I had the pleasure in this process to meet a lot of great coaches, especially a lot of great young coaches, the future of college football. And it was very encouraging to me to be able to visit with them and talk to them and learn about their thoughts of the game and our industry. It was very encouraging.
The second was the reaffirmation of the importance of this program. I read a lot of things about people saying that this was a less attractive job than it used to be, or the interest was not what it used to be. You weren’t in my shoes. The interest in being the leader of this program was extraordinary, and I was so buoyed by the level of that interest and the way many of the best coaches in the country were really interested in being part of our program.
But we followed our criteria, we stuck to it, and at every step along the way, it kept taking me back to the same place. It kept taking me back to the conclusion that Brian Kelly was the right person to lead this program. He was the first person I talked to. He was the only person I offered this opportunity to. And it was a compelling case throughout.
You know, think about it. I know you’ve read about Brian, and I know you’re so familiar with his background, but this was an individual who’s 48 years old — hurts me to say that — 48 years old, who’s coached as a head coach for 19 years. And in 19 years he’s had 18 winning seasons. He has won at every level with every kind of team. He is a winner. And he’s a winner that at every stop along the way has done by doing it the right way.
He was the right man at the right time for Notre Dame. And we are very fortunate to have him lead our program.
One of the things that so resonated with me about Brian was his appreciation of the traditions of this place and what it means to college football. Coach, there’s a tradition that we didn’t discuss that you may or may not be familiar with. The we talked about the last thing the team does before it heads out to do battle on game day is a team mass before we walk across campus to the stadium. But the last element of that team mass frequently as celebrated by Father Doyle, who’s with us today, is to identify a saint that we’re honoring that day, and every player as they leave the mass and head across the walk or get on the bus for an away game, gets a medal to take with them. Many of our players figure out a way to affix that to their uniforms or otherwise have it with them. And yes, we do keep of the saints’ won loss records. We’re careful about that.
And so as I welcome you to the Notre Dame family, I want to recognize that tradition by not giving you a jersey with the No. 1 on it or a gold helmet, but rather by giving you a medal of the lady that this University is named after, and with it, welcome you as the new leader of our football program at the University of Notre Dame.
BRIAN KELLY: Thank you, Jack. Growing up as an Irish Catholic in Boston, Massachusetts, I’d come home from church after driving my parents crazy and listen to the reruns or the replays of Notre Dame football, and indelibly etched in my mind, in my vision was the great Lindsey Nelson talking about as we move further into the third quarter, the action, and Notre Dame playing that day. That was all that was on the TV in the Kelly house.
And so when you have those types of memories of Ara Parseghian, Joe Montana, Father Hesburgh, it makes today seem like a dream. But it’s not. It’s 2009. My family is here today. My dad is here, my brother, my wife and family. And why I feel so good about today is that as you all know, this business can be crazy and intense at times, and when we came home to tell our children that we were moving — I’ve got a 12 year old, Patrick — Patrick, stand up, would you, buddy? He’s got his new Notre Dame jacket on today. My daughter Gracie; Grace Kelly, no accident. Grace, please stand up; Kenzel Kelly, Kenzel, please stand up; and my wife Francisca.
The story is like this. You come home as a parent and you’re going to tell your kids that they’re moving and they love the friends and they love the community, and as we started to tell them, tears began to well up in their eyes, and Gracie came up to me, grabbed me, hugged me and said, “Dad, I’m so happy for you. I know this has been your dream. And I’m sad for me just for a little bit. Is that okay?” And I kissed her, and I said, “You know what, that’s what is so magical about this is that my kids know that this was a dream for me.”
My media consultant had all these notes for me, and I’m supposed to pay attention to all these notes that were drawn up for me, but there’s one thing that has driven me through my career is that I speak from my heart. I’m passionate about it, and I really want to talk to everybody out there about why I am so honored to be the head football coach here at Notre Dame.
There is a football coach and then there’s the football coach at Notre Dame, because nobody, nobody does it like Notre Dame. The excellence in academics and in the athletic arena is second to none, and that challenge for me was one that I was so anxious to take on. We hear about academic standards. That is what the mission is of this University. That is the mission of Notre Dame, excellence in academics and athletics, and I wanted that challenge, and I’m excited about that challenge, that you can do it both in the classroom and be prominent in the athletic arena, as well.
Yes, we’ve got challenges, just like anybody else. But we’ll go to work on it right away, and we’ll do that by continuing to recruit what I call the RKGs, the right kind of guys, those that match the mission of this University. We’ll continue to look towards player development as being the key and the cornerstone of our success. We’re going to develop our players intellectually, we’re going to develop them socially, spiritually, we’re going to develop their skill and make sure that they understand that they physically need to continue to grow. I’ll guarantee our players’ player development, and that to me has been my background.
Nineteen years as a head coach, and you may not know this, but I got my opportunity at 28 years old, because the head coach at the time at Grand Valley State, Tom Beck, was named Lou Holtz’s offensive coordinator. There you go, Lou Holtz, once again, having his hands on somebody’s life and influencing it in a positive way and really giving me this great opportunity today because I would not be coaching unless I had that opportunity.
So what I can tell you today is that our football players will continue to represent the model of Notre Dame. I want tough gentlemen. I want football players that are mentally and physically tough that will play for four quarters, and I want gentlemen off the field that we all can be proud of. And we will do that here at Notre Dame.
Nobody does it like Notre Dame. There’s a chapel in every dorm, and there’s a leader around every corner, and we will cultivate that leadership here at Notre Dame, and we will continue to move towards excellence both in the classroom and on the football field. Again, it’s an honor for me to be the head football coach here today. I want to thank my family again. And it is no longer a dream, it’s reality, and we’re ready to move our football program forward. Thank you very much.
Q. You’ve obviously built some championship level programs wherever you’ve been. What do you feel translates regardless of whether you’re in D II, the MAC, the BIG EAST, obviously a different level here?
BRIAN KELLY: You have to have young men that are playing the game of football. They can’t be playing because their girlfriend wants them to play or their dad wants them to play. They have to love to play this game. So in the recruiting process, as we go from coast to coast in finding that right profile, I want to be around players that love to play this game. I love being around it. If you’re not passionate about what you do and how you do it, you probably won’t connect with me. So I’m looking for that passion, and it’s got to resonate with me in the recruiting process.
Yeah, we’ll look at the profiles, but I’ve never gotten caught up in profiles as much as making sure that that passion is there.
Q. A little more specifically, when Jack made the change, he alluded to improving the defense. One, can you talk a little bit about how you see your defensive staff shaping up, and two, how you generally approach defense, what you might start with?
BRIAN KELLY: Sure. Well, again, I think it’s important to point out that you win and lose football games as a whole. So offense, defense and special teams has been what I’m an expert at. And when I talk about expert at it, I mean I don’t just rely on one side of the ball. As a head football coach, you are responsible for all those areas, and as you can tell probably from my experience in Division II, we had when I started two full time coaches. So you couldn’t just be the offensive coordinator; you couldn’t just be the defensive coordinator; you had to be involved in all those areas. I will be intimately involved with what we do defensively as the head football coach.
And that’s my responsibility. I’ve got a pretty good background myself. My first two years as defensive coordinator, we lost one game. I’ve got some very good coaches that have worked underneath me that have been very successful. I’ve got a great line out there of coaches that I can call on. They’re going to fit my philosophy. They’re going to fit our staff first and foremost.
But I guess the long version of the answer is at the end of the day, this is about winning football games, and the head coach is responsible for that. So he’d better know what’s going on defensively.
Q. Yesterday I guess you know Mardy Gilyard had some pretty pointed things to say, said he was disgusted, suggested that perhaps you were not as truthful about your future as you could have been. How do you react to that? And also just your general comments to people in Cincinnati who are obviously very disappointed.
BRIAN KELLY: Sure. Transition is very difficult, and those situations are extremely emotional. But I handled myself in a manner that was up front and honest. The two watch words for me in dealing with our student-athletes and anybody is professionalism and integrity. And I believe that in those areas, that’s the way I handled myself. When I had the opportunity to inform our team, I certainly did that.
I’m forever grateful to the players at the University of Cincinnati for what they gave me. They gave me this opportunity here at Notre Dame. Their work on the field gave me a great opportunity for my family, and for that I’m forever grateful.
But transition is difficult. Emotion gets involved, and I only wish all of them the very, very best.
Q. Could you talk to us a little bit about your first impressions from the team meeting that you had just an hour or so earlier?
BRIAN KELLY: They want to win. They want to win. They’re like any other football program that I’ve been around; they want to win football games, and they want to be led. They want to be developed. I could tell that immediately.
You do not come to the University of Notre Dame because you want to be average. You want to be the best of the best. And that’s why I’m here. It inspires me to be around young men like I had in front of me today.
Now, we’re going to have our good days and bad days, but we start with that premise, that you can tell these young men, they want to win.
Q. You talked about a great line of coaches that you have that you can call on. (Grand Valley State) head coach Chuck Martin said you had called on him to come to Central (Michigan) with you, you called on him to come to Cincinnati; will you be calling on him to come to Notre Dame?
BRIAN KELLY: I think there’s a time and a place for that. Chuck right now is getting prepared for the National Championship game. I think we’re going to let him focus on that, on his football team, and Chuck and I are good friends. We’re going to talk no matter what because I’m going to call him Saturday night and congratulate him on winning another National Championship because he’s a tremendous football coach.
Q. He’s obviously focused on the National Championship game, but he’s said if you call on him again this time again, he’ll come. Does that change anything in your mind?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, there are some things that he needs to know. First of all, Father John’s salary is what he would get, and as Lou Holtz once said, he didn’t know it but Father has a vow of poverty, so if Chuck is willing to come for free, we’ll certainly talk Saturday night.
And I tried real hard to get that line in. That was the media stuff that was written for me. You can see it didn’t go over so good.
But Chuck is a man that should be on anybody’s list because he’s just a great football coach.
Q. First off, just on the staff, what is your timeline for assembling that? When would you like to have that moving in that direction?
BRIAN KELLY: I’ve got a plan in place. I clearly know where I want to go. Jack and I spoke at great length about that in the process. I know what that plan looks like. I want to make certain that I get a chance to talk to everybody involved in the process, my staff, the staff here at Notre Dame, and certainly off both of these staffs. So that’s a process that won’t take very much time.
I’ll get to work on that first thing Monday, and as I said, I’ve got a lot of those pieces already put together, but until I get a chance to talk to everybody, we won’t make any announcements until that time. We’re going to do it the right way.
Q. Also you mentioned the challenges of this job. In your coaching DNA, what appealed to you about coming here and taking on some of the challenges that are very unique in college football?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, first and foremost, restoring it to the traditions that we all know about and the history, and those aren’t 8 and 4 years; those are National Championship years. So any time you’re talking about restoring a program and the challenges, it’s not about winning the Conference Championship; it’s about winning championships and being in the BCS and being nationally prominent. And that’s a challenge. We’ve got to get to work on that.
So when I refer to the challenge, it’s strictly obviously getting to that high bar that has been set at Notre Dame for Notre Dame football.
Q. You touched a little bit on it about the players. What is the message you wanted to get across to them in your first meeting?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, today was not the meeting or the time or place to get into great specifics. This was introductions. This was telling them a little bit about my background. This was giving them an opportunity to move on, as well, and knowing that transition is difficult.
I’m most concerned that they get through reading days, get through their exams, take some time off, get away. This has been a difficult process. As much scrutiny as Coach Weis has been under, the players have been, as well, and so they need some time.
But I told them, when they get back, you’d better be ready to go, because we’re going to hit the ground running. And that really was the core of what we talked about.
Q. And why should Notre Dame Nation be pleased that Brian Kelly is the guy sitting in the corner office now?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, look, we are in a success driven environment. They can be pleased right now, but we’re 0 and 0. Now, we’re going to win the spring game. I’ll guarantee you that. So we’re going to be 1 and 0 right out of the gate, no matter which way we put that together. But experienced, committed, driven, passionate and loves the mission of Notre Dame. It’s the right fit.
Q. Welcome to Notre Dame. You have stated or you have been quoted in the past to say that you can’t start winning until you stop losing. Can you explain exactly what that phrase — all that that phrase entails?
BRIAN KELLY: Eating at Burger King at 3:00 in the morning is not going to make you the best for your 8:00 workouts. Not being on time, not paying attention to detail, not being purposeful in what you do on a day to day basis. Attention to detail is absolutely crucial in this process of winning, and so when I talk about working on winning, I mean you do that from the first day you step on this campus if you want to win. You don’t win on Saturdays with Xs and Os. You win on Saturdays because you’ve been working on it all week, and so it’s that attention to detail. It’s morale, it’s camaraderie, it’s one voice.
Those things are what I refer to as working on winning. They then show themselves on game day.
Q. I’m sure I speak on behalf of local folks if not everybody, welcome to South Bend and Notre Dame. I was just wondering, you mentioned the dream. How long have you had your dream?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think dreams are put on hold as you’re working your craft. I did not sit in my office and doodle the ND monogram as I was preparing for game after game. But when you get that chance to step back, you always look at it and say, boy, one day, one day if we could get this opportunity, this special opportunity, that would be a dream come true.
I don’t want to give the impression that I was bumping into things as I was dreaming about Notre Dame, but clearly it was something that is a culmination of the work that I’ve done over 19 years of being a head coach.
Q. What can you tell us about your contract? Is it the typical five year? Also, would you consider retaining any of the Charlie Weis staff?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, those agreements, those are really information that Notre Dame has never discussed publicly, and I’m sure unless there’s a change in policy, we will continue to keep that as it is.
But yes, I will definitely interview everybody on the staff. There’s some very, very fine football coaches. All of them are here at Notre Dame because Charlie Weis put together a very good staff, and I’m going to get the opportunity to talk to all of them.
Q. First question is when you’re talking to recruits, what do you tell them about why things have been up and down over the last 13 to 15 years, and why will it be different now?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, I don’t even live — I’ve always felt that — I don’t mind being reminded about the past. You can remind me about it. I don’t like to mortgage my future. I live in the present. I live in the right now. And what I would tell a recruit right now is that the opportunity at Notre Dame is unique from anyone that you’d ever have in your life. And so I think I would refer to all of my conversations being in the present and in the future and where this program is going to go. And you can be part of that. You can be part of restoring the great tradition and history of Notre Dame, and I’m going to help you get there. I’m going to develop you as a young man so you get that opportunity to be part of it. Are you in?
Q. Not to put any pressure on you then, but how quickly do you plan to restore Notre Dame to glory?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, we go to work right away. We don’t get a five year plan. This is a five minute plan. I mean, we’re working on it immediately, and we expect our football players to play at a high level immediately. Time tables, we never really want to get into those, because those are a setup. But we have expectations that Notre Dame plays at the highest level.
Q. Two questions: One is it’s a unique University which brings unique pressures to win different from other schools, so I want to get your comment on that. And then, when was the last time you actually attended a Notre Dame football game as a fan?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, the pressures of being a head football coach are — and you’ve heard this, they’re self imposed. The pressures of being a head coach for 19 years is making sure for sure that we are prepared, that we are maximizing the talents of the young men. I don’t want to let them down. That’s the pressure. We all know about what we are about in terms of winning. That’s a given. I don’t want to let my players down. That’s the pressure that I have carried with me as a head football coach.
The last game I was at, I was at the spring game to see Tom Beck, who was the offensive coordinator for Lou Holtz. I never got a chance in the fall to be here. I was a little busy coaching football games. It will be an absolutely — I’ll be crying all over the place, I’m sure, singing the alma mater after the game. I just know it. But it’s just going to be a great feeling to walk out of that locker room and onto the field.
Q. You mentioned growing up watching Lindsey Nelson. Most of these kids don’t know Lindsey Nelson, they know Lindsay Lohan. How do you get them excited about a tradition of Notre Dame football that hasn’t won a National Championship in 21 years?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, let’s understand this. First of all, when we talk about history and tradition, you just need to visit this campus, and you’re reminded of it immediately. So when you come on this campus, when you visit Notre Dame, you’ll know about the history. You’ll know about Touchdown Jesus. You’ll know about the Golden Dome. You’ll know when you come on here, onto this campus, that history and tradition is here.
But you’re right; we live in the now. And so it’s also important that they are able to see the facilities, to see the first class facilities that Notre Dame has to be successful, all the things that the student athletes have at their disposal in our academic environment here. You’ve got to get them here, and if you get them on campus here at Notre Dame, they can’t help but see the history of Notre Dame.
Q. And you mentioned the facilities. What were your first thoughts today as you saw the facilities, I assume for the first time?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, actually I walked into the head football coach’s office, and I was ready to sit down at the reception area because I thought that was the office. It was beautiful. And they said, no, Coach, it’s in here to the left.
Just terrific facilities, everything that you would need to obviously recruit and prepare for success.
Q. Talk a little bit about what the timetable is now. What do you do from here the next few days?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, I’m going to — we’re going to get our family back and then I’ll use this weekend to obviously begin to make the transition from Cincinnati up here to South Bend. I’ll spend probably a few days this week — I want to be here full time right away. I think that you need the head football coach in the office as we go through this transition. So it’s important for me to get on site as quickly as possible. I’m going to try to do that very, very quickly and get to work.
We’ve got a lot of work to do. Organizationally I’ve got to get to know all of our players, I’ve got to get to know all of our staff. Our support staff are absolutely crucial. I’ll meet with our training staff, I’ll meet with weight training, conditioning, everybody, maintenance staff, custodians, secretaries, administrators, so there will be a lot of meetings taking place over the next week to ten days.
Q. How do you start in recruiting? What’s the first step in that process? Do you call the players already recruited?
BRIAN KELLY: Both. We will obviously begin calling and then obviously I’ve got to get out. We’re going to get into a dead period here pretty soon and start to move quickly on the commitments and obviously solidifying those. We’ve already begun the process there. Again, that’s probably job one when it comes to me reaching out off this campus.
Q. And did you get a chance at all to watch the team much or did you watch them this year, and if so, any impressions?
BRIAN KELLY: I watched them a little bit in film preparation for Pittsburgh, but not to the point where I can give you specifics. You know, I could give you just general observations but nothing specific.
BRIAN KELLY: That’s very important for me as I get my feet on the ground is to reach out to Coach Weis, Coach Holtz, Coach Davie, Coach Willingham. I think they’re all important resources, and I like to get information, as much as I can get. I’ll make the decisions, but I like the resources that I can get from talking to those head coaches.
Q. A follow up on Tom’s question, do you have a feel yet of what you’re inheriting? Do you know what the cupboard looks like?
BRIAN KELLY: Does it matter? I mean, it really doesn’t matter. These young men want to win, and that’s why I’m here at Notre Dame. I want to be around men that are committed, and we can’t trade anybody. There’s no waiver wire. We’re going to develop our players, and they’re going to play their very best for us. That to me has always been the most important principle. Let’s go; don’t tell me what you don’t have; I don’t want to know about it. Tell me what you can do to help us win. And that’s the way we’ll hit this thing running.
Q. I know you’ve been able to adapt your offense to a lot of different things over the years, but ideally would you see yourself installing the same type of spread offense here?
BRIAN KELLY: Yeah, we’d want to be aggressive offensively. We’ll have to evaluate. Again, adapting to the personnel is first for me, and we’ll move from there. But we won’t change the blueprint. It’s still going to be a high tempo, aggressive offense that we run. But I’m going to have to get a better feel on the personnel before I can say, here’s where we’re going to go. But it’s going to be aggressive on offense.
Q. And you had a lot of success obviously recruiting Ohio and Michigan in the past, but now you probably have to recruit a lot more nationally. How do you kind of adjust to that? Do you have to look and try to hire maybe well known recruiters?
BRIAN KELLY: You know, I want guys that can build relationships. I think it’s still about people. Whether you’re in Texas or California or you’re in West Virginia, recruiting is relationship driven. It’s hard work. It’s being persistent. It’s is also selling your program and what you have and the uniqueness of it. That doesn’t concern me at all.
Yeah, we’re going to log more miles. At the University of Cincinnati we were fairly regional in our recruiting, although we were in Florida and we went to other states. Notre Dame is coast to coast. So it just means more time.
Jack has promised me that we have a train here at Notre Dame that I can use to travel the country, and we’re going to put some miles on that train, because we need to get out there and build those relationships.
Q. Could you talk about the evolution of yourself as a coach going back to a championship coach at Grand Valley to where you stand here today?
BRIAN KELLY: The evolution is probably just experiential. I think I’ve gone through so many different experiences as a head coach and developing players and relationships and how to get the best out of your players; how to win on offense if your defense is not yet there yet; how to win on defense if your offense isn’t quite there yet; how special teams with hidden yardage can help you win football games.
So I think it’s been experiences in the relationships with student athletes and how you deal with so many different personalities, so many different socioeconomic backgrounds, and then the experiences of being a head football coach and winning games and how it takes so many different shapes to actually win football games. And that happens over a long period of time.
Q. Timeline from — I imagine there wasn’t a whole lot of arm wringing that Notre Dame had to do for you, but what was the timeline when they contacted you and how that whole thing came together?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, Jack contacted me after the Pittsburgh game, and we decided that we would talk about the position, and we came to a face to face meeting and waited for Jack to make his decision. Jack was — the only exposure I had to Notre Dame was Father John and Jack, and it was a pretty — as Jack has mentioned, it was a pretty tight circle. It was just a matter of making a decision.
Q. So it happened quickly then?
BRIAN KELLY: It happened quickly, yes.
Q. Five years ago you were trying to turn around a MAC team that had been not very good. Could you have imagined five years ago that you’d be sitting here today?
BRIAN KELLY: As I said earlier, it’s always been a dream to be at Notre Dame. But you know me pretty good, I’m so focused at the present that you don’t get an opportunity to — I don’t even — I haven’t even had an opportunity to step back and say, we won them all? We won all 12? So I get so focused on the day to day that it’s hard for me even to say, wow, I never thought I’d be here.
Q. I talked to some of your former teammates back at St. John’s Prep and Coach O’Leary, and they all mentioned Coach Glass. I was wondering if you could talk about Coach Glass.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, we all have mentors, we all have — my dad, my parents, they all shape who you are, and they’re here today. My parents and brother and his fiancÃƒÂ©, could you guys stand up, please, the Kelly family, mom and dad, my brother Paul and his fiancÃƒÂ©. Thanks for coming. My brother was, I think, in Zurich. Did you bring chocolates back?
Fred Glass taught me about the discipline and the attention to detail that is required in the game of football. He left no stone unturned. Everything was mapped out. It was organized in detail. His military background obviously, you know, he wore on his sleeves. You could see that every day. And that attention to detail really was formative for me.
You know, you grab bits and pieces, and I grabbed part of that experience from him.
Q. You talked about your past a little bit just now. It’s pretty well documented about it being in politics. How did that help shape who you are?
BRIAN KELLY: Oh, this could be a long question. You know, I thought it gave me an opportunity to work with the media and understand the perspective. You know, so many times there’s this you against me mentality, and I’ve seen the job that the media up front and working in politics and how important a role that you folks play.
And so gaining that perspective helped me, as well as clearly understanding how important it is to communicate your message. One of the things that I live by within our program is we try to eliminate confusion on a day to day basis. With the transparency of the media today, with blogging and internet and all those things, we all know that once in a while, just once in a while, there’s misinformation out there. So it’s important that the principles that I learned in politics of over communication and making sure that that message is clear, that really helped me a lot.
Q. It’s an ambiguous term, player development. Could you give your model of player development, what you do or what your recipe for player development is?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I gave you a little bit of an example in the sense that it’s not just about being bigger, faster, stronger, it’s getting your players to trust. It’s getting your players to be accountable on a day to day basis. It’s developing them as young men, and you have to do that through relationships.
It’s not written down in the sense that if you do this, you get that. But if you don’t do that, you’ll never get your players to go to areas that they can’t go without you. In other words, you can move them to a level that they can’t get to by themselves. That’s player development. That’s at the core of what I mean, to get people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do on their own. To me that’s player development.
Q. You said there was some misinformation and that kind of thing. Just to clarify, was there a meeting before the Pittsburgh game? I know that had been reported, that there was contact before the Pittsburgh game.
BRIAN KELLY: No. What I was saying is — I’ll give you an example. Last night sources were quoted and our football team was led to believe that a decision had been made, and that certainly hadn’t come about. But that happens, there’s no question. I think we went over the timeline.
Q. Is there any regret about missing the Sugar Bowl against Florida?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, you know, you would always want it to end with the best story, and the best story would be I get to coach in the Sugar Bowl. But I’m here at Notre Dame now, and this is where I want to be. This is where I need to get to work immediately. So yeah, the story would be the coach stays with the team and finishes what he started. But in the calendar that we are in in college football, it just can’t happen.
And you know that going in. You know that it’s not going to be easy. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible. I love those guys back there in Cincinnati. I’m always going to be a Bearcat fan unless we have to play them. But you know, we try to make that work, but it’s sometimes just impossible.
Thank you very much.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports