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Brian Kelly signs contract extension through 2021 season

| 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.

Brian KellyKevin Song

“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.

“I want to thank [University president Fr. John Jenkins] and the leadership of Notre Dame for their confidence in me,” Kelly said in a press release. “I coach football because I believe there are few better avenues for impacting the lives of young men, and I am certain that there is no better place to do that than the University of Notre Dame. During the next six years I look forward to continuing to lead a championship caliber program, but more importantly I look forward to continuing to help the student-athletes I coach to achieve greatness as football players, as students and as men who will make a difference in families, communities and organizations they will someday lead.”

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.

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