With 12 seasons in South Bend, Brian Kelly is the second longest tenured coach in Notre Dame football history. Right behind him at No. 3 is legendary college football coach Lou Holtz with 11 seasons at the helm for the Fighting Irish.
On Wednesday, Holtz shared his reaction to Kelly’s sudden departure from the program earlier this week.
Just as many other people involved with Notre Dame, the 84-year-old retired coach was clearly upset by how Kelly left things in South Bend.
In his reaction to Kelly’s departure, Holtz took some shots at the newly-hired LSU head coach.
“He was there for 12 years. He did an excellent job,” Holtz said during an appearance on The Crowd’s Line. “But I cannot think of one marquee win he’s had over a top-10 team… Other than he beat Clemson when they had the second-string quarterback (2020). When Clemson played them again the same year with [Trevor] Lawrence, they dominated.
“He’s an excellent coach, you just don’t leave Notre Dame.”
Signing a 10-year, $95 million contract with the Tigers, Kelly becomes the highest-paid coach at a public university. In addition to his ridiculous base salary, the former Notre Dame coach is eligible to make up to $1.35 million in incentives each year.
While this is certainly a sweet deal, Lou Holtz believes it’s not all about the money.
“You don’t go to Notre Dame because of money. My average salary for 11 years was $115,000,” he explained. “Now [Kelly] is going to go because of money and all the perks, etc.”
Holtz also called out what he thought was a lack of appreciation for the Fighting Irish culture.
“The other thing that bothered me about him… He never talked about Notre Dame and what really made it great,” he said. “To be part of Notre Dame you have to talk about the Lady on the Dome, you’ve got to feel the spirit of Notre Dame, you just have to be a part of it.
“It’s something you feel awesome responsibility to the Notre Dame fans and to Notre Dame itself.”
With Kelly out, a new era of Notre Dame football is expected to begin under former Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.