Let me start by saying I think Brian Kelly is one hell of a football coach, and I fully expect him to be successful at Notre Dame. That’s about all the good I have to say about that. Now that he is at Notre Dame I will be forced to root against him and I will continue to root against the Irish because of their totally b***s*** backdoor into the BCS and their national television network...among other things. So, there that is.
Now that my personal feelings out of the way, that has nothing to do with why I’m banging away at the keyboard this Thursday evening. My problem comes with the inevitably ugly dance that always takes place every time a “hot right now” coach leaves one newly successful program to take over at an old, used to be successful program and the trail of broken promises and cracked realities that are left behind. Listen, I know it’s just business for these head coaches and the schools that hire them away from now longing programs. Personally, I believe that any one of us that has the opportunity to better our personal situation and the situation of our families should do so. However, that does not mean that all is okay. There is always a very real human impact on the players that are left behind. It is absolutely unavoidable, and there is a right way to go about it leaving and there is a wrong (and way too often embraced) way of leaving.
The young men that choose to play for a head coach and program and represent one university over another do so, in large part, because of the fact that they trust the man in charge of leading that program. No building on campus, adoring fan base or professor in a lecture hall sat in their living rooms, ate dinner with their families and promised their mothers, fathers or grandparents that they would take care of them and return them a better man than they received them. Do not kid yourselves into thinking anything different. What could make a bad situation for the jilted worse?? How about if that same head coach that had promised you he would be there for you throughout your journey is now disrespecting you by being misleading and less than truthful on his way out the door for the big bucks? That would do it for me.
Well, it sounds like that is exactly what has happened this time around on the coaching carousel with Kelly leaving Cincinnati for Notre Dame. Just a day or so ago, Cincinnati -wide receiver Mardy Gilyard was quoted as saying Kelly had addressed the team and told them that the Notre Dame job opening was a non-issue because he wasn’t going anywhere. But that was then. Now, not so much….
From @AP_Top25 via Twitter:
Whoa. #Bearcats WR Gilyard unhappy with #Kelly going to #NotreDame, tells AP: '"He went for the money,. I'm fairly disgusted'. Agree?
More from #Bearcats WR Gilyard on #Kelly: 'I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he'd known this the whole time.' Ouch.
And this from #Bearcats TE Ben Guidugli on #Kelly: 'We weren't giving him a round of applause. It's like somebody turned their back on us.'
If you missed it: #Cincinnati's Brian Kelly wins Home Depot Coach of the Year award about the time he told team he's leaving for #NotreDame.
Again, I get it. I don’t need to hear about Kelly’s side of things. For this piece, it simply doesn’t matter. I am talking about how tough it must be for the guys in that Bearcats locker room tonight and going forward. They’re all big boys and they will get over it. The question is…when? Kelly probably won’t stick around to coach in the Orange Bowl against Florida given his past track record when it comes to coaching moves. So the question becomes, “Will the Bearcats be road kill for a ticked off bunch of Gators all hopped up on their last hit of Tebow juice or will the men from Cincinnati rally together and fight as if their world is ending?” I don’t know, but it sure will be fun to watch and find out.