Brian Kelly, 60, became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history this season, surpassing Knute Rockne. In 12 seasons, Kelly is 113-40. | Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
It’s a stunning move by one of the most accomplished coaches in college football jumping from the sport’s most storied program to an SEC powerhouse.
LSU is hiring Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, a stunning move by one of the most accomplished coaches in college football, jumping from the sport’s most storied program to an SEC powerhouse.
A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Monday night that Kelly was leaving Notre Dame for LSU. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither school was prepared to make an official announcement. Yahoo! Sports first reported the move.
It was the second bombshell in college football in as many days, coming a little more than 24 hours after USC lured Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma. LSU might have topped it by landing Kelly, whom CBS Sports said agreed to a five-year deal worth $75 million.
In a message to his players obtained by The Athletic, Kelly said he was leaving Notre Dame and would meet the team at 7 a.m. Tuesday. He also apologized that the players found out through news and social-media reports.
The 60-year-old Kelly became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history this season, surpassing Knute Rockne. In 12 seasons with the Fighting Irish, Kelly is 113-40, including the current run of five consecutive double-digit victory seasons.
Notre Dame just completed an 11-1 season Saturday and still is in contention to reach the College Football Playoff for the third time in the last four years.
LSU’s coaching search started in October, when it reached an agreement to part ways with Ed Orgeron at the end of the season. The change came less than two years after “Coach O” led the Tigers to a national championship.
The Tigers finished a 6-6 season Saturday, upsetting Texas A&M at home in Orgeron’s last game. LSU athletic director Scott Woodward has hired big names in previous stops, bringing Chris Petersen from Boise State to Washington and Jimbo Fisher from Florida State to Texas A&M.
Riley was one of the hottest commodities in college football over five years, leading the Sooners to three playoff appearances. He was being introduced at roughly the same time that news of the LSU hire began to circulate.
Kelly is agreeing to take over the Tigers just a few weeks after he publicly had dismissed the idea of moving on when asked about possibly being a candidate at USC.
“No. I mean, look, I think Mike Tomlin had the best line, right?” Kelly told reporters, referring to the Steelers coach. “Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250 million check, my wife would want to take a look at it first. I’d have to run it by her.”