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Examining Kelly’s behavior

Frank LeBeau | Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Notre Dame’s frustrating loss to South Florida was further degraded by the undignified sideline behavior of head coach Brian Kelly. His red-faced screaming and cursing at players has been justified by some as tough-minded coaching necessary to properly communicate in order to improve player performance.

As a professional educator, I don’t know of any pedagogy that advocates such demeaning behavior as beneficial to learning. Any school teacher who did so would be immediately fired. Any father or husband who treated his family in this manner would be considered emotionally abusive.

When Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini displayed similar behavior last season, he was reprimanded by athletic director and former head coach Tom Osborne and was forced to issue a public apology. Osborne, whose teams won three national championships, always displayed poise and dignity on the sidelines. He never berated his players with angry tirades. He demonstrated that he could coach championship football without the bullying and bellicose behavior of a Woody Hayes or Vince Lombardi.

Nebraska football fans are known for their good sportsmanship. They have a tradition of applauding not only their home team, but also the opposing team as they come out on to the field. Nebraska is a class act that operates their program with the highest standards. Perhaps they could teach Notre Dame what that really means.


Frank LeBeau

Notre Dame fan

Sept. 6