Brian Kelly didn’t just leave his Notre Dame football team in a lurch when the coach jumped for greener pastures at LSU, he also left his daughter – a senior at the university in South Bend – to deal with a blitz of criticism from classmates.
‘Ready to get booed on my way to class every morning,’ wrote the coach’s daughter in a viral TikTok video, just days after her father left Notre Dame to sign a 10-year, $95-million dollar contract with Louisiana State University.
‘When you still have to graduate from Notre Dame in 5 months but your dad already left for LSU,’ she added.
The college senior is seen typing at her Mac computer in the December 4 video to Dwayne Johnson’s ‘Face Off,’ a song about perseverance and ‘put[ting] in work and hours,’ before looking defiantly at the camera.
‘Ready to get booed on my way to class every morning,’ wrote Grace Kelly (pictured) in a viral TikTok video, just days after her father’s 10-year, $95 million dollar contract with Louisiana State University was announced
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly (pictured center) joins LSU President William F. Tate (left) and athletics director Scott Woodward (right) for official announcement
Despite the razzing from her classmates, Grace is apparently supportive of her dad’s move. Later that day, she posted a video of herself wearing the purple-and-gold of LSU with the message ‘Geaux Tigers.’
Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman was selected to replace Kelly as the interim coach.
Brian Kelly’s Irish goodbye on November 29 was the second bombshell in college football in as many days, coming a little more than 24 hours after Southern California pulled Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma.
LSU might have topped it by luring Kelly from South Bend to Baton Rouge.
Despite the adversity she now faces from her classmates, Grace (pictured)is apparently supportive of her dad’s move. Later that day, she posted a video of herself wearing Louisiana State University garb
Monday’s move reportedly blindsided players, coaches, recruits, and school officials
It’s also the second time Kelly abandoned his players and recruits before a season was completed. In December of 2009, after telling his University of Cincinnati players he planned to stay at the school, Kelly accepted the Notre Dame job and informed the Bearcats he would not be coaching them in the Sugar Bowl against Florida in January of 2010.
Monday’s move reportedly blindsided Notre Dame players, coaches, and potential recruits as the 11-1 Fighting Irish await an invitation to a bowl game. Notre Dame was sixth in the latest College Football playoff rankings.
One assistant told The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna that he was leaving a meeting with a recruit when he learned that Kelly was jumping ship: ‘The news broke when I walked out of the house, so I look like a f***ing a**hole.’
Pete Sampson, another reporter for The Athletic, was given a text message that Kelly sent to the Notre Dame players after his decision was reported.
In 12 seasons with the Fighting Irish, Kelly (pictured) is 113-40, including the current run of five straight double-digit victory seasons. Kelly, who did not return a text message sent by AP, was on the road recruiting for Notre Dame when the news broke
‘Men,’ Kelly began, ‘Let me apologize first for the late night text and, more importantly, for not being able to share the news with you in person that I will be leaving Notre Dame.
‘I am flying back to South Bend tonight to be able to meet with you in the morning but the news broke late today and I am sorry you found out through social media or news reports,’ he continued. ‘I will have more to share when we meet tomorrow at 7am but for now, just know that my love for you is limitless and I am so proud of all that you have accomplished.
‘Our program is elite because of your hard work and commitment and I know that will continue. I will share more in the morning when we meet. Again, my sincere apologies for not being able to be the one to share the news directly with you.’
Kelly confirmed the news to his players by text message on Monday night, but also planned to meet with them in person on Tuesday morning
One person who wasn’t surprised was Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who had noticed that Kelly was becoming ‘restless.’
‘There’s just a sense you get when you work closely with somebody for 12 years that there’s a certain restlessness, and I could sense that,’ Swarbrick said Tuesday. ‘There was a Freudian slip or two along the way that sort of grabbed my attention. Whether that was intentional or not, you just felt like, it was a little bit like somebody who might be open to a different opportunity.’
By accepting a new job before the end of the ongoing season, Kelly gives himself a head start on recruiting at LSU, just as he did at Notre Dame in 2010.
Kelly was slammed on social media for the move.
‘I don’t understand how you can abandon your team during an 11 win season with playoff hopes still alive,’ tweeted former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho. ‘Then notify the same men you recruited to play hard for you that you’re leaving through an app. Money is important, but something has to mean more.’
(Left) LSU QB Garrett Nussmeier hands off to Tyrion Davis-Price. (Right) LSU wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (11) celebrates his touchdown reception with wide receiver Malik Nabers (8)
Former NFL players including Emmanuel Acho condemned the way Kelly handled his exit
More than a few commenters on Twitter pointed out that Kelly effectively gave the Fighting Irish the ‘Irish goodbye,’ which is an expression for an unannounced departure.
The 60-year-old Kelly became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, surpassing Knute Rockne. In 12 seasons with the Fighting Irish, Kelly was 113-40, including the current run of five straight double-digit victory seasons. Kelly, who did not return a text message sent by AP, was on the road recruiting for Notre Dame when the news broke.
Notre Dame completed an 11-1 season last Saturday and still is had a slim hope to reach the College Football Playoff for the third time in the last four years. The team’s only loss came at the hands of Kelly’s former team, Cincinnati, which could potentially lose a second head coach to Notre Dame if their widely coveted coach Luke Fickell is wooed to South Bend.