Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly talks Irish roots, pride, adversity
Exclusive interview 'We are in it for the long haul'
O'DOWD: Do you get time off at all?
KELLY: No. This is my time off [doing the interview with Irish America]. You
guys get to spend it with me. How lucky are you? No, you get a couple
hours here and there. I’ll have dinner with the family tonight – you
just pick your spots and when you get a couple of hours, make it
O'DOWD:The painting hanging on your wall with the faceless workers is very striking.
KELLY: You can see they’re Irish…I look at that [and I see] the Irish
immigrants who came over and lost their lives and dug the canals. When
I first saw it I said, “I’ve got to have that picture.” It also is
about where we want to bring our football team – back to its Fighting
Irish roots. Back to faceless and nameless. It’s not about superstars
but about a team, about trust and commitment and all the things I was
taught growing up from my family, from my Irish Catholic roots, and
we’re trying to bring Notre Dame back to that, and that’s kind of the
full circle here.
That’s the job and the process. When you’ve been in it and it’s
ingrained in you and you know where you want to
go with it, you don’t get derailed too easily.
O'DOWD: You seem very strong in yourself; you’re not worried what people think.
KELLY: There’s going to be plenty of opinions. There’s never a shortage of
opinions in this business. That’s the great thing about Notre Dame. As
long as you understand that, and this is where my background helps me,
when I was at University of Cincinnati, nobody cared enough. Here
people care too much. It allows me to keep perspective on it, as well,
and I know what we want to do. I know what our plan is, and they’ll
all be on the bandwagon sooner or later, so I just always reserve room
O'DOWD: Anything else surprise you here?
KELLY: There are some things at Notre Dame you have to get used to and one of
them is TV time-outs. We have to pay the bills, so to speak. It’s hard
to keep flow and momentum. It is choppy and I’m working through that
right now. I think I’d like to get our players to see their head coach
is involved in the game and he’s not just walking up and down the
sidelines but he’s invested in it. The coaches that I played for were
like that and I enjoyed that.
Now, there’s this line that you can’t cross, but I’ve always felt that
that’s the way I’ve played the game and that’s the way I’m going to
coach the game.
O'DOWD:How do you feel about the game in Ireland – Notre Dame against Navy in 2012?
KELLY: I can’t wait. I’m so excited. Just can’t tell you how, for me, to go
to Ireland to take an American football team to Ireland, how special
that’s going to be.
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