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Brian Kelly accepts LSU's $95 million football coach offer

Brian Kelly accepts LSU's $95 million football coach offer
Former Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly was hired Tuesday for the same role at LSU. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- LSU hired Brian Kelly on Tuesday, agreeing to a 10-year, $95 million contract with the former Notre Dame football coach, the school announced in a news release.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters Tuesday he spoke with Kelly on Monday night. Kelly told Swarbrick he was resigning as Notre Dame coach to take the same job at another school.

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LSU said it will introduce Kelly as coach at a news conference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La.

"I could not be more excited to join a program with the commitment to excellence, rich traditions, and unrivaled pride and passion of LSU Football," Kelly said.

RELATED College football: Notre Dame's Brian Kelly set to leave Irish, coach LSU

"I am fully committed to recruiting, developing, and graduating elite student-athletes, winning championships, and working together with our administration to make Louisiana proud.

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"Our potential is unlimited, and I cannot wait to call Baton Rouge home."

Swarbrick said that if Notre Dame names an interim coach, that person will not be a candidate to replace Kelly as the permanent head coach.

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"We have never been in a better position to take the next step in building this program into a consistent contender for national championships," Swarbrick said. "I am excited with the opportunity to attract the next lead to do that.

"We are in that position, in significant part, thanks to coach Kelly, who did a marvelous job of helping to restore the program at the University of Notre Dame."

LSU said Kelly's plane is scheduled to land at 3:30 p.m. EST Tuesday at the BTR Jet Center, just a few miles north of campus.

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LSU went 6-6 this season under coach Ed Orgeron. He and LSU agreed to part ways in October. He led the Tigers to a perfect 15-0 record and a National Championship in 2019-20.

Kelly's reported departure came as a shock to football fans and Notre Dame players, with several members of the current Fighting Irish team tweeting and posting their reactions on social media platforms.

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"Chase the [money] bag, business first," Notre Dame wide receiver Braden Lenzy tweeted. "I get it. Best of luck."

Kelly's contract at Notre Dame was to run through the 2024 season. He signed a contract extension in 2020. Kelly went 113-40 in 12 seasons at the school. His 113 wins are the most in program history.

Kelly led the Irish to an appearance in the 2021 BCS National Championship game and two College Football Playoff appearances.

Notre Dame went 11-1 this season and is the No. 6 team in the College Football Playoff rankings. Swarbrick did not say who will coach the team in its upcoming bowl game.

Kelly has a 284-97-2 record in 31 years as a collegiate head coach. His 284 wins rank first among all active Football Bowl Subdivision coaches.

Kelly went 19-16 in three seasons at Central Michigan from 2004 through 2006 and then 34-6 in four seasons at Cincinnati from 2006 through 2009. He had a 8-5 record in his first season at Notre Dame in 2010.

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Swarbrick said Notre Dame does not have a timetable to hire a new coach, but he does plan to respond to inquiries Tuesday afternoon.

Swarbrick kept coaches on the current staff on the road for recruiting visits amid the news of Kelly's departure. He said he isn't sure which coaches on the staff will join Kelly at LSU.

"You want to do the best job you can, not the fastest job you can," Swarbrick said of Notre Dame's search for a new coach. "We are going to do the best job we can to find the right person to lead Notre Dame."

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