Notre Dame's Brian Kelly also a NFL coaching target, according to report

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Longtime college coach could be tempted to move into the professional ranks.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is generating some interest from NFL teams, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports:

Kelly is finishing his third season as head coach of Notre Dame, with a 28-10 overall record. His Fighting Irish completed the school's first undefeated regular season since 1988, and play Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game Monday.

Kelly has long been considered one of the finest coaches in the college game. Prior to becoming head coach in South Bend, he inherited the Cincinnati program from Mark Dantonio. He immediately coached the Bearcats to their first ten-win season since 1951, then recorded two more double-digit win seasons, winning two Big East championships and a 34-6 overall record. Kelly was also highly successful in a three-year stint at Central Michigan and in eleven seasons at Grand Valley (MI) State, where he won back-to-back Division II National Championships.

There are plenty of reasons why Brian Kelly might balk at an NFL offer. For one, Kelly has no experience in, or connections to, pro football. He has never coached outside the Midwest. He is a devout Catholic, having been raised in an Irish Catholic family in Massachusetts, only increasing the allure of Notre Dame.

His staff in South Bend, also heavy on college experience, has remained intact, though defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has been mentioned in connection with coaching vacancies.

Finally, Notre Dame is sure to do everything they can to keep him on their sideline. Nevertheless, with a handful of vacant NFL positions and a lack of NFL-level replacements available to fill them, the temptation to step into the pro ranks could prove too great for Kelly.

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