NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly has been named the 2018 Associated Press Coach of the Year. It marks the second time that Kelly has received the award (2012). Kelly is the third coach to ever capture the award twice (Nick Saban and Gary Patterson).
Kelly received 16 of 58 first-place votes from AP college football poll voters and 81 total points. Alabama’s Nick Saban was second with 16 first-place votes and 66 points and Central Florida first-year coach Josh Heupel was third with 33 points (five first-place votes).
Twelve coaches received at least one first-place vote and eight received at least three for the award announced Monday. Washington State’s Mike Leach finished fourth with 26 points (three first-place votes) and Syracuse’s Dino Babers was fifth with 25 (five first-place votes).
Kentucky’s Mark Stoops, UAB’s Bill Clark and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley each received three first-place votes. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Army’s Jeff Monken, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald and Florida’s Dan Mullen each received one.
Kelly, one of five active FBS coaches that have guided their respective schools to multiple undefeated regular seasons since 2009, has guided the 2018 Fighting Irish to the program’s 13th unbeaten, untied regular season in school history and first berth into the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame leads the nation in FBS victories (12), ranks second in Associated Press top-25 wins (four), ranks second in final College Football Playoff poll top-25 wins (three) and ranks tied for third in overall Power-5 wins (10).
Dating back to the 2018 Citrus Bowl victory over LSU, Notre Dame has fashioned 13 straight wins. It is the fourth-longest winning streak in Notre Dame football history.
The Irish have now posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93. Notre Dame’s 22-3 record and .880 winning percentage over the last two seasons ranks fifth among all Power-5 schools. In fact, the Irish improved to 21-2 (.913) in their last 23 games. The current stretch is the best 23-game stretch since 1992-94 when Notre Dame also won 21 of 23 games.
In its 21-win surge over the past 23 games, Notre Dame has earned seven wins against top-25 foes. In the previous stretch from 1992-94, the Irish also managed seven wins against ranked opponents.
With 10 wins in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Brian Kelly joins Knute Rockne, Ara Parseghian and Holtz as the only Notre Dame coaches to hit the double-digit mark in wins three times.
— ND —