More than winning
Peter Elliott | Friday, September 30, 2011
Winning matters at Notre Dame, but it is not all that matters. Christopher Lilly (“The football coaching internship continues,” Sept. 29) has that much right. What Lilly has wrong is his argument that Brian Kelly feels differently. Kelly undoubtedly wants to win, but he assuredly knows other things matter as well.
Yes, Kelly has said the coaching life at Notre Dame is different than it is at Cincinnati. There, he needed to win in stylish high-scoring affairs in order to draw fans. Here, an old-fashioned 7-0 scrum will still sell out Notre Dame Stadium. All Kelly has to do on the field to sell tickets is win.
But Kelly has never indicated cutting corners off the field as well is good practice. His actions thus far speak of “integrity, loyalty and player development” — the very things Lilly alleges Kelly forgoes. Kelly only recruits players he deems the “right kind of guys.” His team spends as much time performing service in the summer as it does playing football. This is not a man seeking to win at all costs.
Benching senior quarterback Dayne Crist was not a move driven by “win at all costs.” It was a move driven by winning. Tommy Rees is 6-1 as a starter. Debate his stats and athletic ability all you want, but the sophomore wins.
I have no inside sources, but I suspect the team appreciates winning. I suspect the players also appreciate the education Kelly insists they get and the degrees they are headed toward.