Brian Kelly issues statement denying reports he is exploring options beyond Notre Dame

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

It may have been the most oddly timed prepared statement of Brian Kelly’s coaching career, and, at the same time, the most necessary to his image.

A little after 3:30 a.m., Eastern Time on Sunday, Kelly tried to put to rest reports from Yahoo Sports and ESPN claiming the embattled Notre Dame head football coach, through representatives, had been exploring coaching options outside of Notre Dame.

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position.

I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I am fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

The Irish concluded their season with a 45-27 loss to USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, that left ND with a 4-8 record — the second losing season in Kelly’s 26 seasons as a head coach.

The Yahoo and ESPN reports surfaced hours later. A source close to Kelly on Saturday night told the Tribune both reports were baseless.

Kelly, at his press conference following the game, mirrored his sentiments of his early-morning press release. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who attended the game and the postgame meeting with the media, smiled and nodded when Kelly said he would return.

Kelly remained in California after the game to do a couple of days recruiting with plans to be back in South Bend on Tuesday to start to evaluate staff and personnel decisions.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly argues with an official during ND's 45-27 loss to USC, Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)