NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Brian Kelly arrived at the Monogram Club Fall Board Meeting on Friday morning expecting to speak about the Notre Dame football program on the eve of its top-25 showdown with Oklahoma.
Instead, Monogram Club president Haley Scott DeMaria ('95, swimming) surprised the fourth-year Irish head coach with a special presentation, welcoming Kelly as the 280th honorary Monogram recipient in the 97-year history of the Club.
Among the others joining the Monogram Club Board and staff for the surprise ceremony were University Vice President and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick ('76), faculty athletics representative Tricia Bellia, Kelly's wife, Paqui, and his parents, Paul and Regina.
"It's a great honor to be a member of the Monogram Club," Kelly said. "It's greatly appreciated, because after being here four years now, I know what it takes to be a Monogram award winner. The sacrifice that you have to make to earn that ND is incredible. I get a chance to see it every day. I live it in the day-to-day discourse with our student-athletes."
Since being introduced as Notre Dame's 29th head football coach in Dec. 2009, Kelly has guided the Irish to a 31-12 mark. The 28 victories he amassed during his first three seasons in South Bend matched Dan Devine's school record, and in 2012, he led the Irish to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the BCS national championship game.
Kelly's 125 victories since 2001 place him in a tie with Mack Brown for second among active FBS coaches, behind only Bob Stoops, who will lead the Sooners into Notre Dame Stadium tomorrow afternoon (3:30 pm ET on NBC).
In 2012, the Everett, Mass. native won the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award for the second time, and swept nearly every major coach of the year award, including honors from the Associated Press, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Sporting News, Liberty Mutual and the American Football Coaches Association.
Off the field, Kelly's Irish ranked first among FBS programs in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures, and in June 2010, the Kelly family made a $250,000 gift to the University in support of endeavors in research, academics and community engagement. Additionally, the Kelly Cares Foundation has contributed more than $1.25 million to community, education and health initiatives around the country.
The Monogram Club is comprised of more than 7,500 individuals who have earned the University's varsity athletic insignia for their athletic or team support endeavors or who have been recognized as honorary recipients. Honorary recipients include former Notre Dame coaches, influential members of the athletics department and individuals who have made an unparalleled contribution to the betterment of the athletics department.
For more information on the Monogram Club, visit www.ndmonogramclub.com or follow on Twitter at @NDMonogram.