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LSU hires Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame to be next Tigers coach

Fighting Irish coach surpassed Knute Rockne for most wins in school history
LSU Kelly Football
Posted at 7:22 AM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 10:58:48-05

BATON ROUGE, La. — After 12 years coaching in the "House that Rockne Built," Brian Kelly is leaving Notre Dame for Louisiana State.

Kelly, 60, has coached the Fighting Irish since 2010 and recently passed the legendary Knute Rockne for the most victories in school history.

He led Notre Dame to a national championship game appearance in South Florida during the 2012 season and appearances in the College Football Playoff during the 2018 and 2020 seasons.

The Irish (11-1) are currently ranked No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings.

Kelly replaces Ed Orgeron, who was fired by LSU in October, less than two years removed from winning the national championship. Orgeron was allowed to finish out the season but announced after LSU's 27-24 upset over Texas A&M on Saturday that he wouldn't coach the Tigers in a bowl game.

LSU Tigers and head coach Ed Orgeron celebrate national championship
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron and his players celebrate after the team's victory over Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship game, Jan. 13, 2020, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

It was widely speculated that LSU athletic director Scott Woodward would try to lure Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher away, just as he did when he offered Fisher a 10-year, $75 million contract to leave Florida State in 2017. But Fisher has repeatedly denied having any interest in the job, despite his connection to Woodward, dating to their time together at LSU.

Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley was also thought to be coveted for the job, but he instead left for Southern California.

Kelly, who will receive a 10-year, $95 million contract at LSU, leaves Notre Dame with a 113-40 record.

"Brian Kelly is the epitome of a winner," Woodward said in a statement announcing the hire. "He has built and sustained success at every program he's led, from multiple undefeated regular seasons and national coach of the year honors to national titles and College Football Playoff berths. His credentials and consistency speak for themselves."

No previous Notre Dame coach has ever left the Irish to take a job at another school.

"In my 14 years, this program has never been in better shape," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. "We have never been in a better position to take the next step in building this program into a consistent contender for national championships and I am excited with the opportunity to attract the next leader to do that."