After flirting with several notable NFL teams, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly ultimately decided to stay at South Bend. The news wasn’t at all surprising, but it did go some ways in reinforcing the popular belief that in order to truly prove your worth as a college coach these days, you absolutely must turn down an NFL gig.
Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien did it last week; both returned to their respective schools richer men.
By all accounts, Kelly likely would have had a position with the Philadelphia Eagles made available to him had he decided to part ways with the Fighting Irish. Be it because of the successful run he has had in the collegiate ranks over the past few months or because he genuinely doesn’t believe in what they’re putting together down in Philly, he decided not to jump ship.
"This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach," Kelly said in a statement released through the school.
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"Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame.
"This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country.
"We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead."
The Eagles, for their part, released this statement shortly thereafter:
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"There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job," the Eagles said in a statement Saturday.
"We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts. We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search."
Kelly coached Notre Dame to a 12-0 regular season record this year. The team got absolutely hulimiated in the BCS National Championship game by Alabama, 42-14.