New LSU Football coach Brian Kelly decided toward the end of last season that he would be taking his talents to Baton Rouge. He left South Bend after over a decade as the Notre Dame head coach. During his 11 years with the Fighting Irish, he developed a reputation for being one of the best football coaches in the entire country. Kelly departed the historic program as its all-time winningest leader, racking up an astonishing record of 113-40 (.739 win percentage).
Despite this superb W/L record throughout his years at Notre Dame, Kelly is known throughout the nation as a hot-head. He’s largely lacked a huge amount of character—through no fault of his own—throughout his time representing the Fighting Irish, which has led to these beliefs amongst fans. Of course, all football coaches have a bit of a temper, it comes with the profession. Kelly has shown during his short time in Louisiana that he does in fact have a fun-loving personality though, and a great one at that.
College football fans are the winners with Brian Kelly now at LSU
For this reason, fans of college football are the biggest winners in the Kelly to LSU move. The Massachusetts native has gotten multiple opportunities to put his “serious yet silly” personality on display during his first few months with the Tigers. There was, of course, the accent incident during his introduction at the PMAC, but the most recent run in with reporters perhaps embodies what type of humor the LSU coach will display for years to come.
It’s obvious that the pressure of being the head coach at Notre Dame—from both the administration and the job itself—got to Kelly a bit. He’s broken free from the shackles of the Fighting Irish’s hierarchy and he can be himself. Kelly will now not only try to rebuild the Tigers’ program, but he’ll also be looking to become one of college football’s most lovable characters too. Whether or not he can do both remains to be seen.
LSU fans have serious expectations for their football team year in and year out. Nevertheless, few expressionless coaches are able to truly bond with the school’s support. Both Les Miles and Ed Orgeron were larger than life personalities—on and off the field—during their time with the Tigers. Kelly likely won’t be as open as his predecessors, but that doesn’t mean flashes of his unique character won’t shine through from time to time.
He won’t resemble Alabama coach Nick Saban’s seriousness 24/7, nor will he crack jokes at every opportunity like Mississippi State head man Mike Leach. LSU has found the perfect middle ground in Kelly. The Tigers may be downgrading a bit in personality, but it’s not like the recently departed sets a low bar. Orgeron was the walking embodiment of Louisiana. What LSU will be lacking in personality, it will more than make up for in coaching quality with Kelly at the helm. At the end of the day though, it’s college football fans who will ultimately come out on top.
What do you make of Kelly’s time in charge thus far? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!