It is not often that someone can win a debate by answering the debate question with another question. That is exactly what happened, and this time it worked in Babe Ruthless’ favor! Babe Ruthless posed the rhetorical question – “Would I drop everything at my current position if I was offered the job of my dreams?” My honest answer to that question is, “Yes, I would.” It is important to finish what you start… MOST of the time. Cincinnati’s former head coach, Brian Kelly, is not building a model airplane or remodeling his bathroom, though. Coaching Cincinnati was Brian Kelly’s job (note the past tense of that phrase). Kelly’s CURRENT job is to be the head coach of Notre Dame. As much as he may have been committed to seeing Cincinnati succeed (and I am sure he will be rooting for Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl), his priority became the success of Notre Dame the moment that he signed his contract.
This is not an attempt to deny Bearcats players and fans their frustration, anger, or disappointment in Kelly’s decision. As Loyal Homer points out, it is a bitter pill to swallow when you have expected support from someone, then at the moment you perceive the greatest need for that person, they are either unable or unwilling to provide the promised support. The fact that they do not like his decision, though, does not mean it is the incorrect one.
Consider the implications had Kelly made the decision to coach Cincinnati in its bowl game. He would have been splitting his time between two universities, each with very different needs. As a result, he would be unable to fully commit himself to either. Notre Dame needs Kelly to focus on building a staff and recruiting to the university. How can he be expected to do that if he is studying film in Cincinnati? Likewise, how can he truly focus on preparing to take on the Florida Gators if his true employer is demanding his time elsewhere? It would be unfair to BOTH institutions if he were to try and split his focus between the two.
Kelly’s decision, although unpopular in the Queen’s City, was the right one to make. Notre Dame is his new home, and his new employer. Having contractually agreed to lead Notre Dame’s football program, he owes them 100% of his time and energy TODAY, not in one month after he coaches more for a school he no longer formally works for.
If it is any consolation to the Bearcat faithful, Rich Rodriguez’s absence on the sideline when the West Virginia Mountaineers took on Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl did not seem to have an impact at all, and Rodriguez has failed to even sniff a HOPE of playing in the BCS since leaving Morgantown. As fate has already seen fit to provide a little karmic payback for what Rodriguez did at West Virginia, perhaps the monkey’s paw has something similar in store for Kelly!
Cincinnati has been dealt a difficult blow, but the worst thing the team could do now is to wallow in self-pity. Instead, use the situation as motivation as they prepare for the Gators on January 1st!