Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly talks Irish roots, pride, adversity
Exclusive interview 'We are in it for the long haul'
O'DOWD: Who were your football heroes?
KELLY: I loved watching Joe Montana when I was an Irish fan growing up. I’ve
never been enamored with just one person. The great ones have always
caught my attention.
O"DOWD: So when you’re coaching Notre Dame obviously it is an incredible responsibility. It is like no other job, is it?
KELLY: Well, I think if I thought about that every day I’d jump out the
window. So I try to think about the process. Like I said earlier when
we began the conversation about winning and losing. Obviously winning
is much better than losing, but it’s a process. I focus more on the
process of developing a program than on all the things that could make
this overwhelming. That’s how I operate on a day-to-day basis. I’m
confident in the plan and that the people that I have around me will
accomplish those goals, and sometimes those goals take some time to
O"DOWD: Anything surprise you so far?
KELLY: I think anytime you take over a new business or a new organization
you go in there and you try to find out where the air’s coming out of
the tires, so to speak. We’ve got a good idea of where it was and
we’ve been able to address that. I was pretty well-schooled on the
fact that there was going to be a lot outside of the game itself –
whether it be the media or alumni or development, whether it be
Thursday night shows, Friday luncheons, Saturday walk to the basilica,
there’s so many things. I was prepared for that.
I think the surprising thing, more than anything else, was the players
and some of the things that they were missing just in the game itself,
and so that was a bit of a surprise. But nothing surprises me too
much. That’s the Irish in me. I’ve always been this way.
O"DOWD: What did your wife say when you came home and said ‘I’m going to Notre Dame?’
KELLY: She did give me a blank look, like, ‘are you sure?’ My daughter, Grace
Kelly, said, “Dad, I know it’s your dream job, but I’m crying now
because I’m sad for me, because I’m going to miss my friends. I’m
happy for you, I’m just sad because I’m moving again for the fourth
time in six years.”
I think that’s how the whole family felt. Now that they’re here and
they’re settled and they’re around Notre Dame and I can share the
things that Notre Dame has with them, it makes it all worthwhile.
O'DOWD: How do you cope with the stress?
KELLY: There’s a lot of stress. I’ve worked hard to take care of myself and
getting fit and getting check-ups and all those things because I
worked 20 years to get here, I don’t want to have a heart attack while
I’m here, you know? I think that’s absolutely a concern and I’m taking
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