The Eagles are looking to the college ranks once again.
The team is interested in Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and have already interviewed him, a league source confirmed to Birds 24/7. It is unknown if the interest is mutual, and Kelly is said to be out of the country. The interview took place on Tuesday, one day after the biggest game of Kelly’s life.
The 51-year-old Massachusetts native took the Fighting Irish to the BCS National Championship game this season, where they suffered a 42-14 loss at the hands of Alabama. Notre Dame went unbeaten in the regular season for the first time since 1988, and led the nation in scoring defense (10.3 points per game). The reigning AP Coach of the Year played linebacker at Assumption College before being hired as the team’s defensive coordinator. Defense is his specialty.
Prior to joining the Irish in 2010, Kelly coached at Cincinnati and Central Michigan. In those three stops he has compiled a record of 81-33 (.711 win percentage), including a 28-11 mark at Notre Dame. He has never coached in the pros.
Jeffrey Lurie clearly likes what he sees on the college level this year.
“I think the NFL right now tends to borrow more from college than the other way around,” said Lurie following his press conference last week. “But I think it’s more about leadership. Some of these coaches in college are outstanding leaders. And they just go from a younger roster to a slightly older roster — still the average age is, what 26, 27, 25 in the NFL? They are dealing with 19, 20 year-olds. It’s not that big of a difference.
“There’s no question, and I’m not the only on who thinks that college coaches are well-trained and have experienced tremendous pressure, and can handle it. And they’re smart.”
The team appeared to be in hot pursuit of Oregon’s Chip Kelly and also had interest in both Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Syracuse’s Doug Marrone. Kelly and O’Brien chose to stay at their respective universities while Marrone took the Bills head coaching job.
Brian Kelly recently stated that he does not intend on leaving South Bend.
“Leaving is not an option,” he said. “I don’t even think about it.”