Perhaps the most shocking hire in college football during this last coaching carousel was Brian Kelly. You may argue that it was Lincoln Riley to USC, but the rumors of Riley leaving OU were flying around for several years. Many folks just did not expect it to be to USC.
Brian Kelly to LSU though, was stunning as most people probably figured Kelly was staying at Notre Dame until he retired. At 60 years old, it looked like Kelly would enjoy another five or so years at Notre Dame and retire as an Irish legend. That is not the case, however, as Brian Kelly is starting all over at SEC powerhouse LSU. What should LSU fans expect from Brian Kelly in Baton Rouge?
At a press conference a few weeks before taking the LSU job, Kelly was asked about the potential of taking other jobs. Kelly said, “Look, I think Mike Tomlin had the best line, right? 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.”
Details of Brian Kelly’s Lucrative Deal With LSU
It wasn’t quite $250 million, but apparently, ten years $95 million-plus a ton of incentives was enough. Some of those incentives include:
- Yearly $500,000 each July that he is still employed at LSU.
- Yearly $500,000 for being bowl eligible.
- Winning the SEC combined with the two incentives above $1.35 million.
- If Kelly wins a national championship, his contract gets $500,000 added to each year left on his contract.
- If Kelly wins a national title and is later fired, he will be owed 100% of what’s left on his contract.
- Plus, many other available incentives like private plane use, car/house stipends, and more.
Put it all together, and the expectations on Brian Kelly are enormous. What should the Tiger Faithful expect from him? Other than an atrocious 4-8 year in 2016 with the Fighting Irish, Brian Kelly’s worst year as a head coach dating all the way back to 2006 was five losses.
Just How Well Will Brian Kelly Do At LSU?
At the bare minimum, Brian Kelly is going to get LSU back to eight-plus wins a year rather quickly, if not his first year. Yet if he wants to be considered a success at LSU, eight wins won’t cut it. The Tiger fan base expects championships, and not just SEC championships but national championships.
The last three head coaches at LSU have all won a National Championship: Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Ed Orgeron. What’s crazy is that two out of those three guys got fired.
Kelly has had a horrendous start as the head man at LSU. He has missed on many coaching hires for his staff and has had a couple of embarrassing moments early on.
Brian Kelly’s Coaching History
Yet here is what we know when it comes to Kelly. He has had success at every place he has ever been, and that shouldn’t change now. It might take him a year or two to get some of his guys in and some second chances when it comes to coaching hires, but Brian Kelly will be successful at LSU.
Kelly won two national championships at the D2 level with Grand Valley State. He then took a struggling Central Michigan program and turned them into a winner, winning more games each year that he was there.
Kelly parlayed that into his first major job at Cincinnati. He spent three years with the Bearcats, and in his last two years won conference championships. He was also undefeated in his last season.
At Notre Dame, he had great success, as he led the Irish to one national championship game and a college playoff semifinal game. Unfortunately, the Irish lost both of those big games.
The story on Kelly is that he produces top ten caliber teams every year but cannot win the big one. He has not won a national championship at the D1 level, and many do not expect that to change. He will succeed at LSU by probably averaging 9 or 10 wins a year, and maybe peak with an SEC championship.
Can Kelly Bring LSU Another National Title?
Yet it isn’t likely to think he will win a National Championship at LSU. Unless that guy down the road at Alabama up and retires out of nowhere, don’t expect Brian Kelly to beat him.
LSU will unceremoniously fire Kelly in about five or six years, similar to how both Les Miles and Ed Oregon got fired. The LSU fan base so badly wants to be Alabama or Clemson by winning multiple national championships in a decade. However, the sad truth is LSU simply isn’t on that level.
It’s sad to think how most fan bases would be thrilled to be a perennial top-ten program with three national championships sprinkled in this century. However, that just isn’t enough for hardcore Tigers fans down on the Bayou. Brian Kelly is about to get a taste of just how competitive SEC football is!