Politics ran in Kelly's family too

Brian Kelly is more than a football coach, he is a political animal too. He is the son of a politician and worked on the Gary Hart campaign in the early 1980s. Recently he shared with the Cincinnati Enquirer his feeling on the death of one of his political heroes Ted Kennedy.

"The News of Sen. Edward Kennedy’s death hit me pretty hard. I grew up in Massachusetts where the Kennedy name is synonymous with politics.

More importantly, the Kennedys were involved with every social program in Massachusetts. That made a big impact on me growing up.

I met him several times when I was in politics working for Gary Hart. I don’t know that he really knew who I was other than I worked for a politician, but he made you feel as through he knew you. He was one of the power brokers in the Senate because even though he was to the left he could find a way to bring a consensus and you could tell that in the way he handled himself, even with a young guy who he probably had no idea who he was. He made you feel important.

Politics was in my family but I think the Kennedys empowered me to think about public service and what they did. I wanted to make a difference and I felt like they had shown a pretty good example of that as a family, not just as individuals, but the entire family.

We’ve got a summer house in Harwich Port that we rent that’s close to Ted Kennedy’s house in Hyannis Port. It’s about 15 minutes down the road but we never saw him while we were there because you can’t get near the compound. When I was a kid, we used to over there and you could get so far on the beach and then the beach was closed down. You couldn’t even get to the front of the house.

It’s just like in Cincinnati where there are certain parochial things you identify with. When you live in Massachusetts, it’s the Red Sox and the Kennedys. Even though we’re in camp, I wanted to have something to remember his legacy so I went out and bought a USA Today and The Cincinnati Enquirer today to make sure that I’ve got a place for that. I want to be able to keep that legacy alive because he meant so much to me."