Irish assistant Bob Elliott was to undergo a kidney transplant Wednesday
Second-year Notre Dame football assistant coach Bob Elliott was expected to undergo kidney transplant Wednesday, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly said during his National Signing Day press conference. Elliott, who oversees the safeties, has been dealing with kidney failure for the last 11 months.
Through self-dialysis, which included hooking up to an IV on the go, including in his car, office and the defensive staff meeting room, Elliott meshed with other new staff additions in 2012 en route to a BCS National Championship Game run and a fifth-ranked 2013 recruiting class. Though he wasn’t on campus to share in the celebration of a fine haul, he played a significant role in bringing in major talent, including four-star cornerback Cole Luke (Chandler, Ariz.).
Elliott, 59, received good news two days before Thanksgiving, when his sister, Betsy Stough, informed him she was cleared by doctors to serve as a transplant donor.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bobby and his family,” Kelly said. “We know he's going to be fine. He's in great care. All year he administered self dialysis all year, and yet never missed a day, was out there coaching and working, and he's just a great man. He's got great experience. I love having him on the staff, and he'll get through this. It's a tough time right now for him, but I think you're going to see him back. He's a fighter, and I expect to see him back on the field in the spring.”
According to a SportsIllustrated.com report, Elliott learned of the condition soon after being hired last winter. It was the result of a bone marrow transplant in 1998, when he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. Elliott was an assistant coach at Iowa, where he played defensive back from 1972-75, at the time. He was so sick he had to step away from coaching and concentrated on an administrative position created for him in order for Elliot to maintain medical coverage during his fight.
“He’s an incredible man that he’s fought through this all season,” Kelly told UND.com earlier Wednesday. “We know that he’s going to be back; he’s going to be stronger for it, and I think he represents all the great things coaches and mentors need to have.”