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Brian Kelly blames his in-season fundraising for Notre Dame’s 4-8 2016

Pretty weird thing to spend a lot of time on during football season.

Stanford v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

College football head coaches have to wear so many hats. They’re expected to be CEOs, game managers, Xs-and-Os geniuses, recruiters, community leaders, and so much more. They also have to fundraise for their schools, athletic departments, and football projects, but that’s usually an offseason thing. Summer booster’s luncheons and so forth.

This, from Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes, is somewhat of a new one:

After its coach had to spend too much time, he now reveals to Bleacher Report, fundraising for a football-only facility and not enough making sure he had a firm grasp of his team's physical and mental focus.

Think about that: The head coach at Notre Dame—which at one point was paying two coaches to not coach (Tyrone Willingham, Charlie Weis) while paying Kelly—was fundraising for a facility during the season.

When asked how that impacted 2016, Kelly says bluntly, "It f--ked up last year's team."


"I was the absent professor," Kelly says. "I wasn't paying attention to the details that we needed. There were internal issues that—if a guy is on it, and he's doing his job as the head coach, he would've seen those things early. My flawed philosophy was, We're going to score points early while we're figuring it out on the other side with a young defense. Well, that didn't happen. We gave up way too many points early, we lost three games, and now we're in trouble."

The story doesn’t go into much detail about how much time he was spending on this or what exactly he was doing, but if it’s noteworthy enough to bring it up almost a full year later, it’s a sign of ... something. It’s easy to walk away from those quotes and think, “What?”

The story also discusses his frustration with his boss, AD Jack Swarbrick, issuing a midseason vote of confidence, something Kelly’s been publicly unhappy with for about 10 months now.

Add all this to the annual rumors of him looking into the New York Giants job (why is it always the Giants job?) and even other college teams, as ESPN and Yahoo! reported last November. If Notre Dame doesn’t flip around that 4-8 record from 2016 (and the Irish should be more than able to), it’s hard to picture this setup continuing much longer.

(This is also the latest in a handful of recent examples of Kelly blaming himself for his team’s struggles. He’s had a long history of calling out other people.)