Kelly Cleans House: Keeps Alford and says Irish Will Win

In a move that should shock few, University of Notre Dame‘s new football head coach Brian Kelly has relieved almost all of the coaches he inherited from the Charlie Weis era. Holding true to his word of getting to work right away now that he is in South Bend, IN, Kelly is looking for a brand new start for the Fighting Irish. Well, almost brand new.

Brian Kelly will retain the services of Irish running backs coach Tony Alford.

“I got to know Tony during our days in the Big East when he was at Louisville and I was at Cincinnati,” Kelly said. “He is a tremendous teacher and a great recruiter and I’m thrilled to keep him on the coaching staff. He has consistently developed his players at every school he has coached and his passion for the game is infectious. I look forward to working closely with him.”

Alford  is credited with getting a verbal commitment from defensive tackle Louis Nix of Jacksonville, Fla., a day after Charlie Weis was fired. Alford said he first heard about Kelly when his cousin played at Grand Valley State, where Kelly coached for 13 seasons.

“Coach Kelly has been a winner at every stop he has made and I’m excited to get to work with him on returning Notre Dame to where it belongs,” he said.

All remaining assistants, as well as strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza, were told earlier this week  they would not be retained.  Recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Rob Ianello had already taken the head coaching job at the University of Akron before Kelly was brought in to Notre Dame.

Quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus, who was the Fighting Irish quarterback from 1994 to 1997, Mendoza, and John Latina, the Irish’s offensive line coach during the 2005-08 seasons, could be headed to Akron with Rob Ianello. Special-teams coordinator Brian Polian has been interviewing for head coaching jobs, according to Indianapolis media sources. Associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator Corwin Brown will interview for the head coach vacancy at the University of Buffalo.

This is common practice when a new coach takes over any program, and should come as a shock to no one in Indianapolis.

Coach Kelly also made an unannounced appearance at the Fighting Irish men’s basketball game against UCLA on Saturday. While getting the crowd pumped up, Kelly said, “the reality is we’re here to do a job and that job is to develop players, graduate players and win championships.”

Brian Kelly is saying all the right things in South Bend so far. Now the hard part is doing all the right things

Also, in reference to the long standing tradition that Notre Dame students have of doing push-ups for every Irish touchdown Kelly added, “you better use this holiday break to get in shape because you’re going to be doing a lot of push-ups this fall.”

The new Irish football coach finished off the impromptu pep rally bey saying, “We’re going to play hard for four quarters. We will play hard four quarters. You will love the guys we put out on the field. If you just play hard and you play aggressive, you’re going to win a lot of football games.”

University of Notre Dame alumni and  fans all over Indiana just hope Brian Kelly is as good when it comes time to motivate his team as entertaining a basketball crowd.

Kelly is the 29th head football coach in Univeristy of Notre Dame football’s 123 year history. Also, it would have been near impossible to find a hotter coach to take over right now. On the same night Brian Kelly was named Irish head coach, he was also named the national college coach of the year at ESPN’s College Football Awards banquet.

While Kelly has had success everywhere he has been, some critics are already pointing to the fact that he is an offensive minded coach, and defense is what wins BCS National Championships. It was not all that long ago, say five years, when the Irish thought they had struck gold when bringing in the offensive genius Weis.