Liar, Liar

I admit it — as a kid growing up in Northwestern Indiana, I rooted for Notre Dame.

The mantra Brian Kelly lives his life by

I remember the debacle that was the football program under Gerry Faust, and the rebirth it had under Lou Holtz.  Even as I moved away from my home in the Midwest, I still found myself pulling for Notre Dame on Saturdays, even as the football program began to struggle mightily to beat opponents that, once upon a time, couldn’t have stayed within three touchdowns of the Fighting Irish.  I cringed as Notre Dame was continuously crushed by powerhouses like USC, and embarrassed with home losses to Connecticut and the Naval Academy.  I secretly hoped that the program would send the arrogant Charlie Weis packing and find someone to bring the program back to the prominence it once had.

And now, apparently, the search for a new head coach has ended, with the imminent arrival of Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly as the newest head coach for the Irish.

And I hope the Irish lose every game he coaches.

Spare me the explanation that the move needed to be made now, in order to keep the Irish competitive when it comes to recruiting.  Spare me also the whole “college football is a business” and “he’s only doing this because it makes sense for his career” and the “it’s his dream job” bullshit.

All that being said, Brian Kelly is a liar — a liar who lied to the young men he coached at Cincinnati when he told them before the team’s final game against Pittsburgh that he wasn’t leaving them, that he was happy at Cincinnati and that there would be where he’d stay.  He is a liar who sounded off to people in Cincinnati that he wanted to build a program there, and that he wasn’t at the university to use it as a stepping stone to a “better” job.   Apparently, he’s also an asshole, as he waited until the end of the team’s banquet — three hours after the news was already broken nationwide — to tell his players that he was leaving his team high and dry before the biggest game in the school’s history to take another job, leaving many of his players upset and unhappy.

“I don’t like it,” said Mardy Gilyard, the Cincinnati receiver who was the Big East’s top receiver and kick returner in 2009.  “I feel there was a little lying in the thing. I feel like he’d known this the whole time  … I kind of had a gut feeling he was going to stay just because he told me he was going to be here.”

But as is often the case with college football head coaches, you can tell they’re lying when their lips are moving.  Gilyard’s tough life-lesson that he and the rest of his teammates learned today is that money and a self-serving agenda will sadly, always take precedence over the the truth.  If he taught his players nothing else, Kelly managed to show by example how not to carry yourself with professionalism and class by lying to the faces of the young men who put their ultimate trust in him.  Unfortunately, they did — only to be rewarded with a slap in their face by Kelly.

There was a time when Notre Dame held themselves to standards higher than other universities — but that time is as long gone as their presence on the national scene as a football power.  There was a time when a selfish liar like Kelly wouldn’t have been even employed by the university — see the George O’Leary scandal as an example — but those times are obviously gone.  It’s enough to make me hope that Notre Dame continues its losing ways, that Kelly is drummed out of South Bend like his predecessors, and that those  left at Cincinnati hold their heads up high and remember that, in a sense, they are the ones who deserve to be where they are — playing in a major bowl against a top-flight opponent.  Not only does Kelly not deserve to share in that incredible experience now, but if there’s any justice, he’ll never get the chance again.

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