An Open Letter to Brian Kelly


2016 left almost zero positives for the Notre Dame football team. Heading into 2017, there needs to be changes.

Dear Brian Kelly,

Please leave.

Since 2010 I’ve watched you attempt to turn Notre Dame into the dominant team it once was. And since 2010 I’ve watched you fail. You aren’t fit to lead Notre Dame to the promise land. In fact, you aren’t fit to lead any team.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ve shown flashes of potential. Your recruiting is some of the best I’ve seen, and you know how to develop players, especially quarterbacks. You cannot coach, though.

I still remember the day I decided you weren’t fit to coach the Irish. It was October 31, 2010, and Notre Dame was playing Tulsa. The Irish struggled all day with turnovers. Dayne Crist went down in the first quarter with a knee injury, and for the first time, South Bend witnessed Tommy Rees.

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Rees struggled throughout the game, throwing three interceptions. It was the final drive that got me, though. Notre Dame trailed 28-27 with 38-seconds left in the game. The ball was on Tulsa’s 19 yard-line and it was second down with eight-yards to go. With a quarterback who already threw two interceptions, the average coach would run the ball and kick a game-winning field goal.

Nope, not Brian Kelly. You decided it was a great idea to throw the ball into the end zone.

Guess what happened? It got intercepted.

Notre Dame ended that season 8-5, beating Miami in the Sun Bowl.

Now, we all know that defense has always been your weak spot. In 2011, against Michigan, I watched Notre Dame give up the worst last minute drive in school history.

The Irish were 0-1 coming off a stunning upset to USF, another game that opened a lot of people’s eyes. The entire game was in Notre Dame’s hands. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Irish held a 24-7 lead and had Denard Robinson shut down all game.

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Somehow, the Wolverines fought their way back and took a 28-24 lead with 1:12 left in the game.

As an Irish fan, it’s understandable that Michigan can come back from any deficit in this rivalry game. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Notre Dame came back.

With 30-seconds left in the game, Notre Dame scored. Every Irish fan in the country felt as though they just bounced back from a loss to USF and were on the path to a successful season. Once again, nope.

Denard Robinson and the Michigan offense made Notre Dame look like a complete joke. There were 30-seconds left, and the Wolverines had the ball on their 20-yard line. It took three plays for the Wolverines to reach the end zone. Three plays!

2012-2013 were actually decent seasons. Too bad they don’t count anymore.

2014 may have been your second-biggest disappointment as a head coach. The Florida State loss was understandable. The Irish fought hard and had that game won if it wasn’t for a penalty to call back the 13-yard touchdown at the end of the game.

What happened after that game is what was embarrassing. Notre Dame was ranked 10th with four games remaining and a strong chance to make the first even College Football Playoff.

Hopes were high for everyone. With games against number nine Arizona State, 24th ranked Louisville, and USC remaining, Notre Dame had every opportunity to get into the top four.

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No one really knows what happened, but Notre Dame finished that season losing four straight. Their average point deficit between those final four games was 16.25. They even lost to Northwestern, who at the time was 4-6.

2015 was just another slap in the face.

I don’t care what anyone says, Notre Dame had one of the best teams in the country and one of the worst coaches. The only reason they lost to Clemson and Stanford was because Brian Kelly has never been able to rally his players in big moments.

It wasn’t DeShone Kizer’s interception, or Kevin Hogans great play that cost Notre Dame the game. It was Brian Kelly having nothing to give his players when it really mattered.

I won’t even mention 2016. To me, and the rest of the Notre Dame fanbase, it never happened. All it was, was the cherry on top of your disappointing Notre Dame career.

So please, leave. Don’t stick around and tease Irish fans any longer. We’ve been through enough. Every year we have such high hopes. Looking for Notre Dame to have the miracle run we all know they can. And every year we’re let down.

There hasn’t been a bright moment in your career at Notre Dame. You’ve brought in the players to succeed, you’ve always been able to recruit well. But you aren’t the man to lead them to victory.

All we want is a coach. A coach who’s greatest asset is his coaching. Someone that doesn’t let his team finish a game on a bad note. Someone who coaches with the same intensity and passion his players should play with. Not someone who’s just good at recruiting.

That’s who we deserve.

I wish you nothing but the best Brian Kelly, but please, stop the pain.

Just leave.

A tortured fan,

Noah Strackbein