Brian Kelly was one of three top names on the original list drawn up by the University of Notre Dame.The others were Bob Stoops, coach of Oklahoma, and Urban Meyer of Florida.
Meyer took himself right out of consideration and Stoops, after brief consideration, also withdrew. That left Kelly as the clear front-runner, but by no means the definite pick.
Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes also came under consideration. If there is still to be a last-minute shock, it will be Ferentz..
But that is highly unlikely. Kelly has pursued the job since the moment it became clear current Notre Dame football Charlie Weis was about to be fired. Cincinnati pays him $1.4M a year, and they were very slow to up the ante to keep him as coach.
At Notre Dame, he will earn many multiple times that. Cincinnati may only have themselves to blame by not offering Kelly a huge increase to keep him with the Bearcats.
If Meyer was available, the job would have been his. If Stoops had ruled himself in, it would have been a close pick, but neither man made the moves that Notre Dame wanted to see.
Kelly did. He came across as hungry, committed, dedicated and above all, in tune with Notre Dame values and tradition.
That will stand him in good stead under the Golden Dome.