Were I the president of a university, planning to hire a head coach for my program, I’d use the following question as my ultimate, are-you-worthy-of-guiding-our-young-men litmus test: Were your team about to play in a major bowl game (a HUGE bowl game … easily the biggest in school history), would you abandon your players that week to take a better job?
If the answer is NO, you’re my man.
If the answer is YES, well, you’re scum.
Brian Kelly is scum. That’s the word I want to use, because I can’t believe what I’ve just read. In two weeks, Kelly’s undefeated University of Cincinnati Bearcats will be playing Florida in the Sugar Bowl. For my money, it’s a significantly more intriguing matchup than Alabama-Texas, in that it pits an up-and-coming program from the so-so Big East against one of the all-time collegiate dynasties.
Yet Kelly, in his fourth season at Cinci, won’t be there. Today he accepted the head coaching position at Notre Dame, replacing the down-and-out Charlie Weis, who replaced the down-and-out Ty Willingham, who replaced the down-and-out Bob Davies. It’s hard to blame Kelly for saying yes to such a job offerâ€”Notre Dame boasts tradition and passion and facilities and and resources and money Cinci would never be able to match. And yet, the whole thing reeks of sliminess.
According to Tony Pike, the Bearcats quarterback, just last week Kelly was telling his players how happy he was. “The Tuesday when we were practicing for Pittsburgh, he said he loves it here and he loves this team and loves coaching here and his family loves it here,” Pike said. And while that’s not exactly a I’m-not-going-anywhere, written-in-blood promise, the words were surely said to soothe his players; to silence concerns.
Earlier this evening, at Cinci’s year-end banquet, Kelly told his players he was leaving. At the end of the festivities. Three hours after the news had been broken. “He went for the money,” receiver Mardy Gilyard told The Associated Press. “I’m fairly disgusted with the situation, that they let it last this long.”
“I don’t like it. I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he’d known this whole time. Everybody knows Notre Dame’s got the money. I kind of had a gut feeling he was going to stay just because he told me he was going to be here.”
And that’s the rub; what I’ve been trying to say forever. Big-time college coaches are not to be trusted. Ever, ever, ever. They are slimy dirtballsâ€”not every single one, but most. They’re the equivalent of used-case salesmen, only they don’t deal with automobiles.
They deal with young people.