Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly agrees to contract through 2021 season

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Six years in, six more to come?

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly has agreed to a new six-year contract that will run through the 2021 season, athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced Friday.

The sixth-year Irish head coach's previous contract ran through 2017. Most recently, he led Notre Dame to a 10-3 record in 2015. 

"In the classroom, in the community and on the playing field, Brian has built the foundation of a great Notre Dame football program — one that reflects this University's values and its unique relationship to the game of football,” Swarbrick said in a statement. “I could not be more excited about the future of our football program under Brian's leadership, and I am especially thankful that our student-athletes will continue to have the benefit of that leadership in the years to come."

In his six seasons in South Bend, Kelly has amassed a 55-23 record (.705 winning percentage), including a 12-0 regular season and berth in the BCS title game in 2012. The winningest active coach in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, Kelly owns a 25-year career record of 226-80-2 (.737), has taken each of his first six Irish teams to postseason bowl games and possesses an overall 16-8 (.667) record in postseason play as a head coach.

Kelly's 149 victories as a head coach since 2001 are more than all but two active FBS head coaches — Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Ohio State's Urban Meyer.

The Everett, Mass., native will continue to build on that record at Notre Dame.

“I want to thank Father Jenkins (University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.) and the leadership of Notre Dame for their confidence in me,” Kelly said in a statement. “I coach football because I believe there are few better avenues for impacting the lives of young men, and I am certain that there is no better place to do that than the University of Notre Dame.

"During the next six years I look forward to continuing to lead a championship caliber program, but more importantly I look forward to continuing to help the student-athletes I coach to achieve greatness as football players, as students and as men who will make a difference in families, communities and organizations they will someday lead.”

Kelly, who arrived at Notre Dame from the University of Cincinnati in 2009, is the only football coach in school history to lead the Irish to at least eight victories in each of his first six seasons, and the first coach to take Notre Dame to bowl games in six straight years at any stage in his career since Lou Holtz.

Kelly's Irish are 3-3 in those bowl games, most recently falling 44-28 to Ohio State in the Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.

In the wake of that defeat, the team's sixth-year head coach spoke about the program's continued chase of an elusive national championship.

For the foreseeable future, it seems, Kelly will continue to lead the charge.

"I like where we are," Kelly said following the Fiesta Bowl defeat on New Year's Day. "We're going to keep banging at the door. Keep playing Ohio State, keep playing Florida State, keep playing Alabama, keep playing these teams in these kinds of venues, in these kinds of games.

"Big names, great traditions, New Year's six games — keep playing them, get in them. Keep building your program, keep recruiting, keep doing it the way you're doing it, and we're going to win these games.

"We've made significant progress since where we were in 2012. We'll get there. Hopefully we won't have as many injuries. We'll get back here again. We'll win 'em."

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly talks to quarterback DeShone Kizer (14) during practice on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Tribune photo by Robert Franklin)

Year | Record | Postseason | Final AP Ranking

2010 | 8-5 | Hyundai Sun Bowl | NR

(W 33-17 vs. Miami)

2011 | 8-5 | Champs Sports Bowl | NR

(L 18-14 vs. Florida State)

2012 | 12-1 | BCS National Championship | No. 3

(L 42-14 vs. Alabama)

2013 | 9-4| New Era Pinstripe Bowl | No. 20

(W 29-16 vs. Rutgers)

2014 | 8-5 | Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl | NR

(W 31-28 vs. LSU)

2015 | 10-3 | BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl | No. 11

(L 44-28 vs. Ohio State)

Total 55-23 (.705)