Notre Dame Football: What is Brian Kelly’s hot seat status?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Brian Kelly now enters his ninth season as head coach of Notre Dame football. Will he be on the hot seat this season? All signs point to no.

A winning tradition remains paramount and at the core of the Notre Dame football philosophy. The entire program rests heavily on a foundation of success, and that isn’t to be sabotaged by an incompetent head coach.

At Notre Dame, failure isn’t an option. A team with such a rich blend of history and culture expects results out of any coach that takes the reins of its football powerhouse.

Charlie Weis is a prime example of a fairly recent Notre Dame coach that was given the boot without any remorse. Three underwhelming seasons as the lead man of the Irish between the 2007-09 seasons left Weis singing his bittersweet South Bend swan song.

Once Weis departed from easily one of the most coveted head coaching gigs in the country, his career plummeted on a downward spiral as he assumed the same role at Kansas — a team ridiculed in the college football world for being a perennial bottom-scraper in a Power Five conference.

During his two-plus years stay in Lawrence, he led his team to victory just an abysmal six times before being fired at the beginning of the 2014 season.

Since then, Weis has pretty much fallen off the face of the Earth in terms of coaching-related employment, but that just goes to show how the watchful eye of the Notre Dame faithful can make you or break you.

I’ve never been a proponent of firing a head coach solely on the grounds of a team performing poorly. After all, it comes down to the players on the field to determine the outcome of a game.

But the head coach makes all the final decisions and a multitude of reasons usually make a firing decision inevitable — perhaps internal strife like rifts between players and coaches also contribute to this sort of action being taken.

By many measures, Kelly has had a successful run as head coach in the historic college town. In eight completed seasons as head coach, he put together a winning record in all but one season — a tumultuous 2016 year that had almost the entire fan base calling for a clearing of the house.

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Without a doubt, his best season was in 2012 when his Manti T’eo-led squad reached the BCS National Championship Game. Kelly also has a 4-2 record in both games, with his most recent conquering coming last season against LSU in the Citrus Bowl.

Despite the one very underachieving season, Kelly won’t be on the hot seat any time soon. What sets him apart is that he is a complete football mind and has high expectations for any team he coaches.

During his tenure in Cincinnati, I personally witnessed him coach against Rutgers and in almost every one of those games, he totally outcoached then-Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who is now the defensive coordinator for Ohio State.

Kelly’s offense with the Bearcats featured some serious playmakers such as Marty Gilyard, Isaiah Pead and quarterbacks Tony Pike and Zach Collaros. And to Rutgers credit, it usually has a better defense than offense having sent several defensive players to star in the NFL.

There’s no coincidence that Kelly was offered the Notre Dame job in the first place. After Weis botched the job, the program needed a saving grace to bring the Irish back to prominence. There’s also no wonder to why Kelly has held his title for nearly a decade now — it’s because he can get the job done.

Kelly is fiery, passionate and wills his team to victory. Notre Dame seems to be a destination job for him and his coaching track record shouldn’t sound the alarms even after one down season.

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Kelly will be a mainstay in South Bend and if he continues to ride out successful seasons, he has the opportunity to enter elite company with some of the Irish coaching legends.