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Notre Dame's Brian Kelly named Coach of the Year

Fighting Irish coach honoured for guiding his side to an undefeated season.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was named Coach of the Year this week.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was named Coach of the Year this week.
Image: Mark J. Terrill/AP/Press Association Images

THREE IS THE magic number.

That certainly seems to be the case with Notre Dame football coaches.

Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz. All Notre Dame football coaches, all guided the Fighting Irish to national championships in their third year in charge.

Brian Kelly, on the brink of leading South Bend’s finest to their first national championship in 24 years, is in his third year as coach.

To honour Kelly’s achievement in not only guiding his side to a BCS Championship appearance, but doing so as the only undefeated bowl eligible team, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) named him the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year.

Kelly becomes just the fourth Notre Dame coach to receive such an honour, following Charlie Weis in 2005, Lou Holtz in 1988 and Ara Parseghian in 1964.

“Notre Dame, under Coach Kelly, has returned to national prominence in the college football ranks. This award recognizes that accomplishment for the 2012 season, a season that began with 124 teams vying for an elusive undefeated campaign. Notre Dame was the only bowl-eligible school to accomplish that impressive feat,” said FWAA President Lenn Robbins when presenting the award last week.

After two seasons where they defined average, Kelly’s Irish broke loose in 2012, sweeping all before them. Ranked number one in every major poll, vanquishers of no less than four ranked opponents; Notre Dame this year was a far different beast than the team that finished both 2010 and 2011 at 8-5.

Most doubt Kelly can match the achievements of Messrs Holtz et al when faced with the seemingly unstoppable crimson tide of Alabama on January 7. The Irish are seven point underdogs. But, as was proven this season, with Kelly on the sidelines, anything is possible.

And the good omens, well, they’re everywhere he looks.

VIDEO: Highlights of Notre Dame’s undefeated season

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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