Quinn, a Heisman Trophy finalist and current FOX college football analyst, appeared on CBS Sports HQ on Monday and tried to put together the reason why Kelly would bolt to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Fighting Irish quarterback Brady Quinn during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 42-21 victory over the Pitt Panthers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I think the first thing that comes to mind is why. What would entice you to go to LSU considering [Notre Dame] very well could find themselves, depending on how things play out this Saturday, in the College Football Playoff playing for a national championship. That’s the awkwardness of the current situation,” he said.
“When you dig a little deeper and you look at it and go, ‘OK, what wasn’t done at Notre Dame that maybe Brian Kelly had asked for?’ They wanted a new football facility. That hasn’t been done yet. I heard that was a frustrating part in this breakup.”
Notre Dame is 11-1 and could find itself back in the College Football Playoff should some upsets occur during the conference championships on Saturday. But Quinn made it clear, he believes LSU was in a “desperate” situation.
Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn during the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 41-17 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Quinn would complete 25 of 36 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the win. (Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
“Let’s not get this twisted: LSU is desperate. They already made it very well aware they wanted Lincoln Riley. They tried to swing for the fences with some names, nothing really came through. And so, they did their best to pay Brian Kelly … I heard seven years, $100 million.”
Kelly, 60, coached at Central Michigan and Cincinnati before he left the Bearcats for the Notre Dame opening. Kelly replaced Charlie Weis before the start of the 2010 season and helped get Notre Dame back to prominence.
In 2012, Notre Dame got to the BCS Championship only to lose to Alabama 42-14. Kelly and Notre Dame would reach the College Football Playoff twice but fail to win in either appearance.
Notre Dame was also hit with NCAA penalties. In 2014, the school discovered that an athletic trainer was providing impermissible benefits. The school self-reported the violation, and the NCAA determined the school needed to vacate the 2012 and 2013 victories.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly looks on against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second quarter at Scott Stadium Nov. 13, 2021, in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Kelly led the school to nine bowl games during his tenure, only missing out during the 2016 season after a 4-8 record. The team is 11-1 in 2021 with a major bowl game waiting.
He is 113-40 all-time at Notre Dame and has the most wins for a coach in school history.