LSU hires Kelly away from Notre Dame to be Tigers’ next coach

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Above: Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics for Notre Dame, addresses the media about Kelly’s departure

LSU is hiring Brian Kelly away from Notre Dame, a stunning move by one of the most accomplished coaches in college football jumping from the sport’s most storied program to an Southeastern Conference powerhouse.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Monday night that Kelly was leaving Notre Dame for LSU. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither school was prepared to make an official announcement. Yahoo! Sports first reported the move.

LSU later confirmed Kelly’s hire as its new coach, and Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics for Notre Dame, held a news conference Tuesday morning to address the coach’s departure.

Swarbrick said the program is in much better shape than when Kelly was hired in late 2009. He also said Kelly would not coach Notre Dame’s upcoming bowl game. Swarbrick said the university would immediately look for a replacement and expressed the desire to find a coach who would embrace Notre Dame’s storied tradition.

Kelly’s move was the second bombshell in college football in as many days, coming a little more than 24 hours after Southern California lured Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma. LSU might have topped it by landing Kelly.

The 60-year Kelly became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, surpassing Knute Rockne. In 12 seasons with the Fighting Irish, Kelly is 113-40, including the current run of five straight double-digit victory seasons.

Notre Dame just completed an 11-1 season on Saturday and still is in contention to reach the College Football Playoff for the third time in the last four years.

LSU’s coaching search started in October, when it reached an agreement to part ways with coach Ed Orgeron at the end of the season. The change came less than two years after Coach O led the Tigers to a national championship.

The Tigers finished a 6-6 season on Saturday, upsetting Texas A&M at home in Orgeron’s last game.

Riley was one of the hottest commodities in college football over five years, leading the Sooners to three playoff appearances. He was being introduced at roughly the same time when news of the LSU hire began to circulate.

Kelly is agreeing to take over the Tigers just a few weeks after he had publicly dismissed the idea of moving on when asked about possibly being a candidate at USC.

“No. I mean, look, I think Mike Tomlin had the best line, right?” Kelly told reporters, referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers coach. “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.”

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