Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has had a number of great accomplishments over the course of his 20-year coaching career. He has won Division II championships, a number of conference titles and led Cincinnati, a school known for its basketball program, to back-to-back BCS bowl appearances.
One of Kelly’s milestones is on the line though heading into Notre Dame’s bowl game against Florida State on Thursday. What is that milestone you may ask? Over his 20 seasons as a head coach, Kelly has never had back-to-back losses to finish a season.
The Irish head man did have a scare back in 2004 when he was in his first season as the head coach at Central Michigan. Kelly’s team lost the 10th game of that season, 36-6 to Buffalo, and trailed Brady Hoke’s Ball State squad 27-o during the first quarter in the final game of the season, but CMU would make a huge comeback and would win in dramatic fashion, 41-40.
This year, the Irish closed out the regular season with a 28-14 defeat to Stanford in Palo Alto. Notre Dame had a much better second half, but their poor play in the first 30 minutes of the game was too much to overcome. Now, the Irish are a 3.5 point underdog to the Seminoles in the Champs Sports Bowl, according to Sportsbook.com.
This impressive record by Kelly just goes to show how much his teams improve as the season wears on. That is one of the big reasons why Charlie Weis got canned at the end of the 2009 season. Several of his teams would get out of the gates fast, but they would struggle in the season’s closing months.
Hopefully the Irish can get Kelly a victory so his great feat will last for at least one more season.