After nearly a week of uncertainty, and no shortage of fan outrage, Notre Dame announced today that head coach Brian Kelly will stay with the Irish and will not leave for the NFL. News broke on Tuesday that Kelly had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles about their opening as head coach and that there was mutual interest. However no further information or comments came out after that as Kelly went on vacation leaving Notre Dame nation hurt, confused, and furious.
The announcement came via a press release that stated:
"This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach. Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame.
"This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country.
"We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead."
Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick released his own statement claiming confidence that Kelly would remain, "I was always confident that Brian would continue to lead our football program. I am very happy to have that confirmed and share Brian's excitement about what lies ahead for our program."
Now that Kelly is returning, that should put to rest any unease that current Notre Dame recruits may have had. Most of the commitments stated their intention to stick with the school no matter what happened with Kelly, but four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone did change his mind and enroll at Florida on Friday instead of ND.
The one thing Kelly must do now is some damage control with Irish fans that saw many of them ready to run him out of town. Kelly's perceived lack of integrity, honesty, and loyalty rubbed many the wrong way despite Kelly leading the Irish to their first undefeated regular season since 1988 and their first BCS National Championship game.
As part of Kelly's return the school is negotiating a new contract and a raise with him although details were not forthcoming.