Brian Kelly’s 200th career victory came with an added bonus. Notre Dame picked the aftermath of Saturday's 28-6 win over Temple to officially announce the long-awaited agreement that is designed to keep Kelly in South Bend for the next five years.
Head coach Brian Kelly talks with Tommy Rees during Notre Dame's 28-6 victory Saturday, the coach's 200th career victory.
Notre Dame does not release the details of its coaches’ contracts, but Kelly said Saturday that the agreement was less about improving his perks after a 12-1 season and more about looking toward the future. He wanted his new deal to open up lines of communication between his program and the university as well as represent a commitment to moving the program forward.
“We’ve all decided that by signing this contact we’re all in it together. That’s what I was looking for,” he said. “We’ve all agreed that the principals within this contract that we’re all in it together, and the communication was the huge piece for me that dialogue was open.”
Discussions about updating Kelly’s contract with the Irish began even before Notre Dame took the field in Miami to play Alabama for a national championship. Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters in Miami that he and Kelly had already met to discuss the types of things they needed to do to continue pushing the program in the right direction. He said that was a normal procedure he goes through with all of his coaches on a normal basis.
Kelly, who started at Notre Dame in 2010, received his first extension following the 2012 season when the Irish finished 8-5. That deal kept Kelly on board through 2016. The newest update will keep him on the payroll through 2017.
Consternation around finishing the negotiation swelled after the coach spoke with the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles about a potential job opening in January. In early August Kelly said the NFL interview and the contract extension weren’t used as leverage to try to get more money or more resources for the program. He said then that he and the university had reached an understanding but were still ironing out the details.
News of the new deal leaked onto NBC’s broadcast during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win over Temple. Swarbrick made it official in the post-game press conference.
“We have entered into a new agreement that insures that Brian will continue to provide the same sort of leadership that has fundamentally changed this program, restored it and given it the foundation it needs for continued success in the future.”
The game was also a milestone for Kelly. He became the second youngest coach to win 200 career games as a head coach. Kelly said he hadn’t thought much about the achievement, but was happy that many of his assistants have been with him for a large portion of his success.
“It’s pretty special that a lot of the guys that were here for the 200th have been along the way with me on a number of those wins,” he said.