Currently there seems to be a whole lot criticism of Brian Kelly for his decision to leave the head coaching job at Cincinnati for the head coaching job at Notre Dame before the big Sugar Bowl showdown with Florida. Sorry Cincinnati fans, but you are going to have to face the facts – Brian Kelly is gone and he had the right to leave.
Cincinnati needs to man up about the whole situation because I am starting to get a whole “woe is me” vibe from the Bearcats. That has no place in college football. (Crying?! There’s no crying in football!) In fact, Cincinnati fans should knock off the whole “he left us before our big game” act or else they are going to come off as hypocrites. Though it may seem like an eternity ago to Bearcat fans still riding the high of Cincinnati’s Kelly era success, just three years ago Kelly did the exact same thing to Central Michigan University, but I do not remember too many voices in Cincinnati questioning Kelly’s ethics then. What’s that Bearcats? Coach got your tongue? (Get it? They are cats… the Bearcats… whatever, you get my point.)
I am sure that many at Central Michigan felt equally “betrayed” and “abandoned” – if not more so – when the Chippewas lost the coach that brought the programs its first winning season in seven years for a bigger, flashier coaching gig. I am sure that many Chippewa players felt stabbed in the back when their beloved coach left them before their big game – the Motor City Bowl. But I do not remember too much sympathy coming from the Cincinnati fans. In my opinion, Kelly’s detractors can either admit that since Kelly left Central Michigan before their big game it is only fair that he leaves under similar circumstances or they can form a support group for hypocritical crybaby college football fans. I think they should choose the first option, though I find the latter far more interesting.
Kelly brought the Cincinnati program to the top of the Big East Conference. He brought them an undefeated regular season in 2009, and somehow he is the villain for using this success to get a promotion. All of Coach Kelly’s critics need to put themselves in his shoes. Sure, he might have made promises to the team that will now go unfulfilled. Yes, he is leaving them just before one of the biggest games in the school’s history, but would you really do anything differently? If you think Coach Kelly is selling out, ask yourself this question and really, really try to be honest about it: “Would I drop everything at my current position if I was offered the job of my dreams?”
Kelly has earned a promotion and, like anyone else, he has the right to accept it. If a Double A pitcher gets the call to move up to the majors during the minor league postseason, should he turn it down so he can stay with his teammates? No, that would be ludicrous because a shot at the big leagues is his ultimate goal. Similarly, Kelly’s ultimate goal should be to coach winning football at the highest level of competition possible. That is exactly what the job at Notre Dame offers him.