Brian Kelly signs contract extension through 2021 season
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 1, 2016
Brian Kelly is staying put.
The head coach and Notre Dame have come to terms on a six-year contract extension, which will keep Kelly on the sidelines of Notre Dame Stadium through the 2021 season, Notre Dame vice president and athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced Friday.
“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 press release. “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.”
The extension comes on the heels of a 10-3 season in which the Irish shrugged off injuries to 20 players with starting experience to advance to the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl and finish the year ranked No. 11 in the country, with their only losses coming to No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Stanford and No. 4 Ohio State.
Before the Fiesta Bowl, rumors began to circulate that several NFL teams were interested in hiring Kelly. It was the second time in his tenure Kelly has been connected to NFL jobs — the first came after the 2012 team’s BCS National Championship loss — but he denied any interest at the time.
At 226-80-2, Kelly’s all-time coaching record makes him the winningest active coach in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). He has coached Notre Dame to six straight bowl games, a feat no other Irish coach has accomplished since Lou Holtz, and posted two seasons of double-digit wins, equaling Holtz, Ara Parseghian and Knute Rockne.
Assuming Kelly stays at Notre Dame through the length of his contract, he will be the second longest tenured football coach in program history, behind only Knute Rockne.