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Five old Notre Dame Football photos for a Friday — The Reign of Brian Kelly

The prince became a king

Notre Dame v Cincinnati
Background: CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 7: Cincinnati Bearcats fans hold up a cardboard cutout of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football coach Brian Kelly while trying to distract a free throw during the game at Fifth Third Arena on January 7, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Notre Dame defeated Cincinnati 66-60.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Happy Friday everyone! I have access to thousands and thousands of Notre Dame Fighting Irish photos, and will never use a small fraction of those on this site. The thing is though — I want to, and I’m going to give it a solid shot as a way to bless the beginning of the weekend throughout the season.

The Irish welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats to South Bend to check out the new home of the coach that helped make Cincy what it is today — Mr. Brian Kelly. The Notre Dame head coach was the hottest name in college football after the 2009 season, but he’s had a long career with an upward trajectory.


Brian Kelly became a midwest name to know when you watched the NCAA 1-AA playoffs in 2002 and 2003 as the Grand Valley State Lakers took home a couple of titles.

NCAA Photos Archive


Brian Kelly almost became the head coach at Eastern Michigan — and I’m still trying to figure out how they screwed that up. Instead, Kelly went to the flattest place on earth to become the head coach of the Central Michigan Chippewas and they won a MAC title in 2006.

Central Michigan Chippewas v Kentucky Wildcats
LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 30: Brian Kelly, the Head Coach of the Central Michigan Chippewas, talks with a game offical during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 30, 2006 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images


After taking all the MACtion he could handle, Kelly took off for Cincinnati — a proud Big East program that could never get over the hump. BK coached the Cats to two Big East championships and two BCS bowl games — except he didn’t quite make it to the bowl game in 2009 due to religious reasons.

Football - NCAA FedEx Orange Bowl - Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
01 January 2009: Cincinnati Bearcats Head Coach Brian Kelly yells at Offensive Coordinator Jeff Quinn on the sideline as the Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 20-7 in the FedEx Orange Bowl game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Doug Murray/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images


In December of 2009, Brian Kelly was announced as the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team just days after the infamous “know any good delis in NY” tweet. The first game he ever coached for the Irish was a win — and he did it in these magnificent shades.

Purdue v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


It’s really hard to imagine that any of us thought Kelly was going to have this type of success after his first year in South Bend. What type of success? Well, he’s the winningest head coach in Notre Dame football history with 106 — breaking Knute Rockne’s record. He tied the wins record with a win over Purdue, went to Chicago (a sacred place during the Rockne era) to break the record, and now against his old team, Kelly begins to pile on the record — one that will likely never be broken again. All hail BK.

Michigan v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks on prior to their game against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 1, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images