What Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick had to say about Brian Kelly departure

Tom Noie
ND Insider
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has another important issues on his desk.

SOUTH BEND — Here are the key points from Tuesday morning’s 25-minute press conference with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who discussed the future of the football program following the departure of former head coach Brian Kelly to LSU. 

► No decision on an interim coach has been made. It may be approached differently, with Swarbrick saying there might not be a need for an interim coach. Any interim coach would “not be a candidate” for the job. 

► Swarbrick sensed some “restlessness” with Kelly during the last year that made Monday’s news not much of a surprise. 

►Most important right now, Swarbrick said, is getting the right leader. Timetables of recruiting or football preparations are not necessarily an issue or a concern. Doing the best job of hiring a coach will take precedent over quickly hiring a coach. 

► The Irish assistant coaches have remained out on the road and will continue to recruit. There has been no indication that any assistant coach will leave with Kelly. 

► Kelly will not coach Notre Dame if it makes the College Football Playoff or any other bowl game. 

► Swarbrick touches on circumstances of finding another coach, which he did 12 years ago next month for a program he said was “broken.” He couldn’t be more pleased with where program is right now. He’s excited for the opportunity to do that. 

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► How Kelly decided to leave for LSU was not discussed with Swarbrick. Kelly did not come to Swarbrick to match the offer. He only indicated that he was resigning to take another coaching position. 

► The timeline unfolded with Kelly reaching out to Swarbrick “sometime last night (Monday).” Swarbrick said he was not surprised. Said there had been enough in weeks leading into this week that it might trend that way. 

► The university will conduct the coaching search, and it will be led by Swarbrick. No search firm will be utilized. 

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick talks to the press Tuesday regarding Brian Kelly's departure as head football coach.

► No list of potential candidates has been kept by Swarbrick. He refuses to keep one. More important is to build characteristics of the next head coach. Off those, would come the potential list of candidates. 

► Most important for the next coach is a fit at Notre Dame. The next coach also needs to be CEO, then style of play. Development of student-athletes would come next. Swarbrick — “I still want to be a great development program.” 

► Not having previous head coaching experience is not a part of the criteria. Swarbrick has not reached out to any potential candidates. All that matters – whether “tomorrow or weeks from now” - it’s about finding the right person. 

► What has happened in college football/coaching the last 48 hours? Swarbrick needs more time to process that. Says better be asking what we want college football to be. 

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick answers questions regarding Brian Kelly's resignation Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium.

► Kelly did not express any areas of concern — support staff, infrastructure, etc. — to Swarbrick in the weeks or months before leaving. “He came to appreciate the things that define Notre Dame.” 

►Kelly told the team Tuesday morning that it was “just about another opportunity.” The timing was right to move, so Kelly moved. It wasn’t motivated by the belief that Notre Dame cannot take the next step and win a national championship. 

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