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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly named ACC Coach of the Year

Just squeaked by a squeaker

NCAA Football: ESPN Gameday-Clemson vs Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach, Brian Kelly, gets to add another plaque to his wall in the office after the ACC named him the coach of the year — by a single vote over Dave Doeren.

Per the ACC press release:

Notre Dame’s Kelly Named ACC Coach of the Year

GREENSBORO, N.C. ( – Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been voted the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Coach of the Year after guiding the Fighting Irish to an unbeaten regular season and a College Football Playoff berth.

Competing for the first time as a member of any conference following 132 years as an independent, Notre Dame finished atop the ACC regular-season standings with a 9-0 league mark that included a dramatic double-overtime win over No. 1 Clemson and a road victory at No. 19 North Carolina. The Fighting Irish’s 47-40 win over Clemson on Nov. 7 snapped the Tigers’ record 36-game winning streak against ACC opponents and FBS 50-game winning streak on Saturdays.

While a loss to Clemson in the ACC Football Championship Game ended a 16-game Notre Dame winning streak that dated back to last season and stood as the nation’s longest, the Fighting Irish (10-1) still earned a CFP berth for the second time in three seasons and will face top-seeded Alabama in the semifinals on Jan. 1.

Twelve Notre Dame players earned All-ACC honors under Kelly’s watch, including linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Owusu-Koramoah also received the Dick Butkus Award as the top linebacker in college football, while running back Kyren Williams was voted the ACC Rookie of the Year and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg earned the ACC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

Notre Dame ranks second among ACC teams in total defense and fourth in total offense.

Kelly was chosen as the ACC Coach of the Year by a voting panel comprised of the league’s 15 head coaches and 49 select media members. Kelly finished one vote ahead of NC State’s Dave Doeren, who led the Wolfpack to eight wins and a Gator Bowl berth.

Kelly, in his 11th season at Notre Dame, was recognized as a conference coach of the year for the first time since being honored by the Big East three consecutive years while at Cincinnati (2007-09).

Complete voting totals for 2020 ACC Coach of the Year:

  • Brian Kelly, Notre Dame, 17
  • Dave Doeren, NC State, 16
  • Jeff Hafley, Boston College, 9
  • Dabo Swinney, Clemson, 9
  • Manny Diaz, Miami, 8
  • Mack Brown, North Carolina, 5