LSU, Kelly agree to 10-year contract worth at least $95 million

LSU officially announced the hiring of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday and said it has agreed to a 10-year, $95 million contract plus incentives.

The hiring of Kelly – who has led Notre Dame for the past 12 seasons and eclipsed Knute Rockne for his career victories with the Fighting Irish team – come together Monday night in another blockbuster coaching move in college football.

“Brian Kelly is the epitome of a winner,” said LSU athletic director Scott Woodward. “He has built and maintained success in every program he has led, from several undefeated regular seasons and National Coach of the Year honors to national titles (Division II). and the college football league station. His certifications and consistency speak for themselves. “


Kelly replaces Ed Orgeron, a Louisiana native who won the national championship at LSU just two seasons ago with a Heisman Trophy win, quarterback Joe Burrow, leading the Tigers to a 15-0 record. Orgeron has gone 11-11 since then and agreed in October to a $17 million buyout that would see him step down at the end of this season.

Orgeron coached his final bout last Saturday, when the Tigers were upset then-No. 14 Texas A&M to end the season 6-6.

Like Orgeron, Kelly is 60 years old but the similarities more or less end there. Orgeron is a Cajun who grew up in the shadow of the shrimp fishers on Bayou Lafourche southwest of New Orleans. He grew up in LSU football and idolized the stars of the Tigers in the past.

Kelly comes from an Irish Catholic family in the Boston area and is certainly much more familiar with using nut crackers to scoop up lobster claws than to suck the juice from the head of a boiled shrimp.


But he did recruit in Louisiana, where LSU received many of its elite talents. In recent history, Louisiana has produced the most NFL talent per capita of any state.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join a program with a commitment to excellence, rich tradition, pride and unparalleled passion for LSU football,” said Kelly. “I am fully committed to recruiting, developing, and graduating elite student-athletes, winning championships, and partnering with our administration to make Louisiana proud.

“Our potential is unlimited,” added Kelly. “I can’t wait to call Baton Rouge home.”

LSU scheduled a flight for Kelly to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, invited fans to greet the coach at the airport, and held a press conference introducing Kelly on Wednesday.

Kelly is 113-40 as a head coach, including a current streak of five consecutive double-digit wins.

No previous Notre Dame coach has left the Irishman, who won eight AP national championships, for another school since the AP poll began in 1936. Rockne’s successor, Hunk Anderson, traveled from Notre Dame to North Carolina State after going 3 5-1 in 1933.


Notre Dame (11-1) is still vying to make it to the College Football Qualifiers for the third time in four years.

LSU has paid Orgeron nearly $9 million this season, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football alongside Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher of Texas A&M and, last month, Mel Tucker at Michigan State and James Franklin at Penn State. That list certainly now includes USC’s Lincoln Riley, who supported Oklahoma over the weekend in another big training move this week.

Orgeron earned an average of $7 million during his 6 years running through to 2025. Kelly’s full salary at Notre Dame, a private school, is unknown but believed to be more than $5 million per year. .

While Kelly has no personal ties to the South, neither do two of the three national title-winning coaches at LSU. Les Miles, who won the title in the 2007 season, is a Michigan man who coached at Oklahoma State before replacing Saban in Baton Rouge. Saban, who won the 2003 season BCS championship, is a native of West Virginia, coming to LSU from Michigan State.


Kelly’s national titles have come in Division II Grand Valley State. He worked his way from there to Central Michigan and then to Cincinnati, consistently winning more wins than the coaches who went before him.

He did the same thing at Notre Dame, but the national championship eluded him. As good as the Fighting Irish did, they haven’t won it all since 1988 and have been eliminated in two College Football Playoff semi-finals (in the 2018 season against Clemson and two years later against Alabama) and the BCS title match against Crimson Tide during the 2012 season.

Now, Kelly will meet Saban every season in the Western SEC and try to fill the last remaining hole in his Hall of Fame resume at LSU, a school that turned the last three coaches. become the national champion.


AP University football writer Ralph Russo contributed.


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