Bagpipe Monday: Brian Kelly’s Sideline


It’s Brian Kelly’s sideline on Saturdays. If people want to lay all the responsibility of what happens throughout the course of a game at the head coach’s feet, than the head coach is the Supreme Emperor of his sideline.

Almost instantly, fans and media members started to formulate an opinion of what happened as well as demanding some type of punishment be handed down to Brian Kelly from Notre Dame. HOW DARE BRIAN KELLY ATTACK AN INNOCENT ASSISTANT COACH?

The fault in all of this is the fact that we try to equate coaching to any other job out there. If my boss grabbed me by the shirt and yelled at me- there would be serious problems as well as serious consequences. The thing is though, is that coaching is not a normal profession. Every weekend, there are coaches across the country that are grabbing jerseys or facemasks and yelling at a player. Why would it be any different when a grad assistant (the lowest rung on the coaching hierarchy) needs corrected?

Football is a violent, brutal sport, and although we all expect and demand that every head coach in America be some type of warrior poet, the truth is that most are merely warriors with the ability to lead. The biggest surprise, is that over the course of football history, there isn’t a more detailed accounting of all of the truly outrageous actions put forth by coaches (most of which are done in practice without the gaze of media and spectators).

Brian Kelly stated that, “It’s an internal matter, and we’re handling it internally.”

Perhaps the most surprising comments have come from Irish fans. Fans and alumni have reached as low as calling for Brian Kelly to be fired, and stating that he is out of control. Their shock is laughable as is their understanding of what happens on the sideline during a game.

What part of what Brian Kelly has done since his arrival at Notre Dame does this “event” not fit? How is this any different to what Brian Kelly was while at Cincinnati, or Central Michigan, or Grand Valley State?

David Grimes, an alum and a grad assistant was yelling at an official and Brian Kelly put a stop to it. He didn’t punch him or kick him or throw a clipboard at him or spit on him or even kick him in the balls. He grabbed his shirt and yelled at him quickly and abruptly to help avoid a ridiculous penalty from an officiating crew that was already calling ridiculous penalties.

This is Brian Kelly’s sideline. He is trying to guide Notre Dame to a college football playoff berth and the game on Saturday was on the line. He gets paid well to handle these situations and handle it he did. David Grimes is a big boy and had another loud and crass coach in Charlie Weis while he played. Grimes is probably over it (and thankful to still have a job). We should be over it too.