7 worst incidents of Brian Kelly’s Notre Dame tenure

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During his first two years in South Bend, Brian Kelly coached Notre Dame to a 16-10 record, and one bowl win. In his third season, the Irish went undefeated in the regular season only to get throttled by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game. So Kelly does have a BCS Championship game appearance to his credit, even though they only showed up on paper; they didn’t seem to actually show up for the game. During Kelly’s tenure, the most prestigious program in college football has seen a lot of negative attention; off-the-field variety.

In just three years at the helm, there have been seven major incidences of extremely bad press to hit Kelly’s Fighting Irish team. Some of the negative publicity is more deserved, some less.  Three were essentially the same thing (underage alcohol citation/arrests) and two involved student fatalities. And one involved the fake fatality of a fake person.

Let’s go through all seven

Click on the bold, numbered title to learn more about each disparagement.

7. The Manti Te’o fake dead girlfriend hoax


ND really hitched their wagons to the character of this kid; constantly pumping him up as the perfect person in college football. After the story broke and dominated headlines, they remained committed to his reputation. Even though he looks like a gullible rube at best, manipulative lying jerk at worst.

6. Kelly cursing out T.J. Jones on national television

On one hand, I felt that this incident was made out to be more of a disrepute than it actually was. On the other hand, the kid’s dad, an ND football legend, had just died a few weeks earlier. Murphy’s Law was in effect that day. Murphy’s Law is an epigram stating that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. I guess it’s fitting that a law with an Irish name was in effect for a team nicknamed the Irish.

5. Davaris Daniels underage drinking citation.

Daniels didn’t play last year, but is expected to be a major contributor as a sophomore this fall. Daniels is the third Fighting Irish player to encounter alcohol-related legal trouble this month after once starting quarterback Tommy Rees (facing multiple misdemeanor charges including battery) and linebacker Carlo Calabrese (charged with intimidation and threatening a police officer) were arrested at an off-campus party May 3. (we’ll get to this next)


4. QB Tommy Rees charged with resisting arrest, LB Carlo Calabrese intimidation

Rees plead not guilty on May 17th to four misdemeanor counts, including resisting arrest, battery and underage consumption. But he’s not the only Rees sibling who’s run afoul of the law via alcohol. His sister Meghan Rees was kicked out of the Purdue game last fall and arrested for an alcohol offense as well.

Is this is a new “record” in college football. Lots of starting quarterbacks have gotten arrested for booze-related activities, but how many have had a sister do the same? And just a few months apart at that? Let’s hope former South Carolina signal caller Stephen Garcia doesn’t have a sister.

Meghan Rees’ arrest details.


Tommy Rees’ arrest details.

Calabrese, may join Rees in losing his starting gig in 2012. Carlo allegedly threatened a police officer during his underage consumption arrest.

3. Michael Floyd’s 3 alcohol offenses during his college career

Floyd had three alcohol related legal infractions during his college football career, and his only punishment for this was being thrown off the team during spring ball 2011…only to be reinstated for the fall. Missing spring ball is really more of a perk than it is a punishment, so how was he truly reprimanded. It didn’t really hurt his NFL draft stock too much as he went #13 to the Arizona Cardinals. But this sent the wrong message to the team. Since Floyd wasn’t really held accountable for what he did, how will that deter other players from committing the same infractions?

It doesn’t- see points 4 and 5. In my humble opinion, Kelly needs to lay down the law better in his program.


2. Lizzy Seeberg suicide

This is only peripherally connected to the program, but it still involves a football player (from what I’ve been told, he’s a starter that you’re quite familiar with) and it happened since Kelly came to town. Seeberg had lots of problems, long before she reached South Bend. And the player whose name I can’t publish until my source is willing to go public allegedly did no more than made an unrequited sexual advance. Which supposedly led to Seeberg receiving a threatening text on behalf of the program. But this was complicated, and it involves the loss of a life, so space prohibits me from treating this issue with the depth it deserves. But I did explore this tragedy in detail here.

1. Death of student videographer Declan Sullivan

The tragic loss of Declan Sullivan and his macabre tweets forecasting his own death made every wire service, every network, every website and saturated the news cycle in late October 2010, as a scissor lift in a historically bad wind storm collapsed. The weather should have forced football practice inside that day. But this was complicated, and it involves the loss of a life, so space prohibits me from treating this issue with the depth it deserves. But I did explore this tragedy in detail here.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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  1. Ed Cmar says:

    One can only hope that mention of Kelly on TSB could result in the recent phenomena known as ‘The TSB Curse’ – in this case, the hopeful departure of ‘The Self-Professed Blowhard, Part Deux’ (Charlie Weiss being Part One).

    Amy Robach – AKA ‘TSB Curse Victim, Part One’ – please don’t leave us! :D

  2. Ed Cmar says:

    Update: Amy Robach just joined ABC News! No ‘TSB Curse’ applies – but the hope is that it does apply for the ‘Self-Professed Blowhard, Part Deux”

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