Brian Kelly's Got Wanderlust, But Nowhere To Go

People around my neck of the woods have watched in disbelief as non-entities like Lane Kiffin and Gene Chizik got huge jobs over the summer when Brian Freakin' Kelly -- who won multiple D-II national championships at Grand Valley State, turned Central Michigan into the best program in the MAC immediately after his arrival and took Cincinnati to a BCS bowl in three years -- was available. The only negative on his resume is that some people think he'd like to make the NFL his final destination, a "problem" that would be accompanied by things like conference titles and BCS bowl wins. ↵

↵Kelly's trying to make it work at Cincinnati now, but it doesn't sound like he'll be there for long. This gets stuck at the end of a Tom Dienhart interview with the man himself: ↵

↵
↵⇥Where do you think your facilities rank in the Big East?
↵⇥
↵⇥"Negative. You can't even compare it to any of the teams in our league. There are no luxury boxes, so there is no revenue stream there, either. We have the smallest stadium [35,098 capacity]. From an infrastructure standpoint, the university has to decide if it wants to get it done or not." ↵
↵
↵⇥What is your contract status?
↵⇥
↵⇥"I have four years remaining after this year. It is like any other contract in that there are a lot of provisions in there. One of them is that they have to get some things done here from a facilities standpoint or there is no buyout or a minimal buyout in my contract. I think all the things are in place from a contractual standpoint. I just want the university to keep moving forward on developing the program." ↵
↵
↵⇥When does the university have to have facilities done so your buyout isn't lowered?
↵⇥
↵⇥"They have to have them in place for this fall."
↵⇥
↵⇥So, the university missed the deadline?
↵⇥
↵⇥"Pretty much. Look, I just wanted them to know that it is important for me that if they want to continue to move the program forward, [things must be done on facilities]. ... [Athletic director] Mike Thomas has been awesome. He is with me on this 100 percent. But we have gone through a new president, and there was an interim president; you know how that goes. But I am an impatient guy. That is my problem. We can't wait. Our new president will have these things on his table, and I'll keep doing my job and we'll see what comes up at the end of the year." ↵
↵

↵You'll know if Virginia or Colorado's AD read this interview if you see Hawkins or Groh fired in the middle of this week's game. Brian Kelly, whose team is currently 2-0 after outscoring opponents 117-18 in the first two weeks, is gone. And if there's any sense out there, this will be the biggest feeding frenzy in the coaching market since Urban Meyer moved to Florida. The Gators chucked Ron Zook out the window early and it paid off. ↵

↵

↵The only problem is that it's hard to pinpoint a school that will need a coach this fall that seems like an upgrade from Cincinnati. Pac 10? New coaches at Washington and Oregon, no one under serious threat except maybe Mike Stoops at Arizona. Big Ten? It's hard to see a firing in the conference this year. Bielema? If Wisconsin was in the SEC they would go all cutthroat, but Alvarez brought Bielema in and is still the AD. Bielema will get a lot of rope. And Kelly would be foolish to take on the Minnesota job if Tim Brewster pops a vein in the midst of a sentence with six exclamation points. ↵

↵

↵The SEC has just undergone a firing orgy; there are zero coaches in the league who seem even slightly vulnerable. In the ACC, Florida State has a coach-in-waiting, UNC has Butch Davis, Clemson and BC just hired new coaches, and ... uh ... the rest of it is the ACC. Wild card: Randy Shannon might get the boot at Miami if the 'Canes season enters a tailspin, but that's doubtful after a win over FSU. ↵

↵

↵There is, of course, the looming possibility that Charlie Weis gets cut loose, but Kelly was available last time around and didn't get a sniff. Notre Dame might be the one place that would care about "fit"; the rumors surrounding Kelly's abrasiveness and (gasp) pro-choice viewpoints might prevent him from being a serious candidate. Yeah, Weis isn't exactly a peach, but he's got a degree from ND, and that forgives you everything. ↵

↵

↵So where is Kelly going to go? If Notre Dame doesn't suck -- likely -- Virginia and Colorado might be the most attractive jobs out there. Prepare for Year Three of the Why Is Brian Kelly At Cincinnati mystery. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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