Brian Kelly doesn't believe in long goodbyes, if reports of his farewell to University of Notre Dame football players are accurate.
Having announced that he was leaving South Bend for the head coaching job at Louisiana State University in a late-night text Monday, Kelly met face-to-face with his former team for somewhere between one and 11 minutes, according to various sports media accounts.
Sports Illustrated cited ESPN's Adam Rittenburg, who put the length of the team meeting at 11 minutes, as well as The Athletic's Pete Sampson, who reported that Kelly left the room and then campus after facing his players for less than two minutes. Kelly fielded no questions about the departure, according to Sampson.
Beyond that, the content of the brief 7 a.m. meeting is unclear. What's known is the verbiage of the text Kelly sent players Monday night. It read, "Let me first apologize for the late night text and, more importantly, for not being able to share the news with you in person that I will be leaving Notre Dame. Our program is elite because of your hard work and commitment and I know that will continue. I will share more in the morning when we meet."
On Tuesday, LSU officially introduced Kelly as the 34th head coach in its program's history. His contract reportedly covers 10 years and compensates the coach $95 million.
“Brian Kelly is the epitome of a winner,” LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement released by the school. “He has built and sustained success at every program he’s led, from multiple undefeated regular seasons and National Coach of the Year honors to national titles and College Football Playoff berths. His credentials and consistency speak for themselves.
“Most importantly, Coach Kelly’s players and programs exemplify excellence in all aspects of the student-athlete experience – in competition, in the classroom, and throughout the community – and he shares our values and vision for elevating our university and our state. We’re thrilled to welcome him and his family to Baton Rouge, and we are excited to work with him as we add to the championship legacy of LSU Football.”
“I could not be more excited to join a program with the commitment to excellence, rich traditions, and unrivaled pride and passion of LSU Football,” Kelly said in the university statement. “I am fully committed to recruiting, developing, and graduating elite student-athletes, winning championships, and working together with our administration to make Louisiana proud. Our potential is unlimited, and I cannot wait to call Baton Rouge home.”
Kelly amassed a 92–32 record at Notre Dame over the past 12 seasons. He reached the College Football Playoff in 2018 and 2020, and Notre Dame is still in the hunt for the CFP in 2021 after finishing 11–1.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said during a Tuesday press conference that Kelly will not coach Notre Dame in the CFP or any other bowl game, as reported by USA Today. Swarbrick said he was not surprised by Kelly's departure, and that he will not rush to fill the coaching void.