Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly says he wasn't necessarily close to leaving Notre Dame for the NFL last January when he interviewed with the Eagles days after the Irish lost in the national title game to Alabama. Kelly says it was more so about going through the process with the NFL for the first time so he knew for sure that Notre Dame was where he wanted to be in the long term.
"We're going to continue to win and I'm going to continue to get inquires from the NFL," Kelly told WNDU Sports Director Jeff Jeffers in a 1-on-1 conversation for NewsCenter 16's Countdown to Kickoff. "I really wanted to make sure that when I said no that no meant no--instead of each year having to go through this because we aren't going to go through this. We're not going to every year get wined and dined by the NFL. I know that I want to be at Notre Dame and I know I'm here for a reason and that is to win national championships."
"Going through that process really helped clear my eyes why I'm here and why I want to be at Notre Dame."
During the interview process with the Eagles, Kelly went silent for four days, having little to no communication with just about anyone. We asked him if looking back he wished he handled the situation differently.
"Yeah, having the information I have now I probably would have communicated," Kelly explained.
"But it wasn't because I had a media design on how I wanted that to unfold--I was on vacation with my wife," he said with a laugh. "I didn't have the motives some people thought I had. It wasn't a big deal to me. But seeing all the media attention and how it folded, certainly we would have handled it different. Those are the things you learn when you are the head coach at Notre Dame."
Jeff's sitdown with Coach Kelly was for NewsCenter 16's "Countdown to Kickoff" season premiere, airing just before the season opener against Temple on August 31st from 2-3pm on WNDU.