LSU nabs Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly as next head football coach, reports say

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU is finalizing plans to hire head football coach Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, despite his reign as the winningest coach in the independent university’s storied sports history, a source confirmed to The Associated Press late Monday.

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Here are the latest updates:

Update 12:35 a.m. EST Nov. 30: Kelly confirmed in a text to Notre Dame players that he is leaving, The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna is reporting.

Original report: Kelly, 60, is expected to replace Ed Orgeron, who LSU announced on Oct. 17 would not return in 2022 to coach the Tigers.

The person familiar with the decision spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither school was prepared to make an official announcement.

An agreement will likely be finalized within the next 24 hours, ESPN reported, citing its own unnamed source.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the move.

Notre Dame won the 2012 Bowl Championship Series title game and made College Football Playoff appearances in both 2018 and 2019 under Kelly’s tutelage, the sports news network reported.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are less than two years removed from an undefeated season that culminated with the 2019 CFP National Championship.

According to The Advocate, Kelly is the winningest active coach in college football and the winningest coach in Notre Dame history, having surpassed the legendary Knute Rockne. The Fighting Irish’s 45-14 thumping of Stanford on Saturday raised Kelly’s overall record to 284-97-2 in 31 seasons.

Kelly’s most recent 113-40 record came across 12 seasons in South Bend, and Saturday’s win over Stanford helped the Irish finish the regular season 11-1 and ranked sixth in the current CFP rankings. The final in-season rankings will be released Tuesday and the four CFP teams will be announced Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kelly’s .742 winning percentage trails only that of Alabama coach Nick Saban’s .802 among active NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, The Advocate reported.

Prominent Notre Dame sources who spoke to ESPN earlier Monday said that LSU approached Kelly earlier in the fall, but he declined any interest in the Southeastern Conference head coaching job. The Tigers then made another play for Kelly over the weekend.

According to ESPN, Kelly last week addressed the possibility of leaving Notre Dame for another job, telling reporters, “No. I mean, [Pittsburgh Steelers coach] Mike Tomlin had the best line, right? Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250 million check, my wife would want to take a look at it first. I’d have to run it by her.”

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell will be a top target to replace Kelly at Notre Dame, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low, while other sources indicated that Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman would also receive serious consideration for the position.

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