An important thing happened on Saturday afternoon in Chicago — the Notre Dame Fighting Irish beat a top 15 opponent 41-13 to improve their record to 4-0 on the season. That’s the most important thing, but it also meant a colossal record at Notre Dame now belongs to Brian Kelly — the all-time wins leader as the head coach of the Irish.
Kelly tied Knute Rockne last week with 105 wins, and surpassed Rock in Chicago — the unofficial home of Notre Dame football for many of the early years.
Before we get any further, let me just say that the next statue erected on the campus of Notre Dame should be Muffet McGraw — and that should have been yesterday. There are levels to all of this, but one of them is certainly the one that has a statue for Brian Kelly.
We’ve long joked around on the OFD Podcast that Brian Kelly deserves something — even if it’s just a tasteful display in the corner of the Joyce somewhere. But now that we’ve arrived to the point that Kelly is the all-time winningest coach at Notre Dame, and that he is going to make the record absolutely unreachable over the next 2-3 years (or more), we need to plan for something better. Yes... even if he never wins a national championship at Notre Dame.
Brian Kelly has already said the most professional thing possible about this record and his place at Notre Dame. He said he’s the guy that won the most games without a national championship. At a place like Notre Dame, the sentiment he shared is absolutely spot on accurate. Kelly said those statues around the stadium are reserved for those that bring titles back to Notre Dame.
Okay — so let’s put a statue of Kelly somewhere other than the stadium. Put it outside the Gug, or wherever seems fitting for a football coach. The campus has plenty of room, and I just don’t understand how his contributions to the program over his 12 years would ever be out of sight and out of mind.
Notre Dame was a dumb Kansas State loss away in 2012 of winning a national championship (facts) and Kelly has seen 3 undefeated regular seasons overall, with the last two berthing college football playoff appearances — in what is likely the hardest era in history to win a national championship.
There’s just no way someone is going to convince me that Kelly doesn’t deserve a statue somewhere on campus when his time is done. Who knows... maybe the Irish pull one out before Kelly takes his long trip to the beach, and we won’t need this conversation, but until then — get that Muffet statue up right now.