Brian Kelly'83, has taken his Assumption College education and experiences to what most would consider the pinnacle in his field — he was named the head football coach at Notre Dame University in December 2009.
Kelly was a political science major and a star linebacker for the Greyhounds during his four years here. As captain of the College’s club football team, Kelly led the team to two of their most successful seasons in the college’s history. He completed over 300 tackles during his college career. During and after College he worked in the political arena, supporting the John Kerry campaign for U.S. Senate.
After graduation, Kelly decided that coaching suited him better than politics. He honed his coaching skills at Assumption, where he coached a winning women’s softball team and worked as the defensive football coordinator under head coach Bernie Gaughan.
“My passion for football started with the relationships that I built at Assumption,” Kelly said. “We played football because we loved it, not because we were on scholarship. My love of the game validated my passion for it and it manifested into coaching.”
Steve Morris, Assumption’s sports information director, recalls that even then Kelly’s potential as a coach was evident, saying that he was “the kind of guy who would take a kid aside to make a point…he was a great teacher.” Gaughan also recognized Kelly’s promise as a leader. “I thought he was going to be one of three things – President of the United States, a pope, or the head football coach at Notre Dame.”
Kelly spent four years coaching at Assumption before departing to coach at Grand Valley State, where he eventually rose to head coach and led the team to two Division II national championships. Kelly went to Central Michigan before Cincinnati hired him in 2006. Under his leadership, Cincinnati’s team record for the regular season was a perfect 12-0 in 2009. His new position as head coach at Notre Dame was announced in December 2009 and has already generated a great deal of optimism among die-hard fans of the Fighting Irish.