What you need to know about the hottest coach in college football – Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly

Suddenly Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly is the hottest coach in college football again. Brian Kelly was barely expected to last out the year at Notre Dame after a disastrous 2016 and losing his star quarterback to the pros.

Yet Kelly has fashioned a completely new team, now third in the national rankings, and real contenders for a national title this year.

He is clearly a man of great resilience and his comeback has been as spectacular as it is surprising.

Here are five things to know about him. Some of the information is taken from an interview I conducted with him a few years back.

He and his wife have raised millions for breast cancer

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's wife, Paqui.    (Via: YouTube)

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly's wife, Paqui. (Via: YouTube)

Brian Kelly knows what adversity is like. His wife Paqui has battled breast cancer and has undergone a double mastectomy. It is a battle she and he are committed to winning, not just for their three kids, but also for American women everywhere. They have established a foundation called “Kelly Cares” to raise millions for the cause.

He once worked for the Democratic Party

He was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Kelly was a linebacker at Assumption College, from where he graduated with a degree in political science in 1983.

His father Paul was a politician – a Boston alderman – and Kelly could have followed in his father’s footsteps, but football was his true passion and after a run at working in Democratic party politics, including a stint with the Gary Hart presidential campaign, he was back at Assumption as a linebacker coach and defensive coordinator.

Coach Brian Kelly pitch side with the Notre Dame players.

Coach Brian Kelly pitch side with the Notre Dame players.

His grandfather was an Irish cop in Boston for 35 years

During a 2015 interview with IrishCentral’s sister publication, Irish America magazine, Kelly said, “My great-grandparents were from Ireland. My grandfather was a Boston cop for 35 years, and my first introduction to Irish culture was talking to him about the where the term Paddy Wagon came from.

“We lived in Chelsea, Massachusetts, which was a naval pier town where all the Navy guys would come in and they’d have some beers and then the police would be called in to round them up. They [the police] drove an open-air police truck and it was so cold at night that the guys who drove it had to have a little Irish Paddy [whiskey] to stay warm and that’s why they called it the Paddy Wagon. Whether it’s true or not, I have no idea. But it’s a good story, and that’s why I tell it.”

His favorite football player of all time is…

“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.”

Brian Kelly may love Joe Montana but he's all Irish! Right?!

Brian Kelly may love Joe Montana but he's all Irish! Right?!

He took his first trip to Ireland in 2008

“I spent two weeks up and down the West Coast. We golfed, enjoyed all the great courses and all the lively conversation in the pubs. It’s always good to go into a pub and start a conversation about politics. You’re either going to get somebody to buy you one or you’re going to have to leave.”

Here’s a fan-made promo video for Notre Dame’s 2017 / 2018 season – Go Irish!

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.Jeremy Meier / Creative Commons