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Kelly to give keynote speech, receive award

With a bit of time to breath between the end of recruiting and spring practice, Brian Kelly has decided to fill his social calendar.

Kelly will deliver the keynote address at the grand opening of the Eddie Robinson Museum in Grambling, Louisiana this weekend.

This from the official release:

“Everybody knows about the incredible number of games that Coach Robinson won, but it’s how he did it that always impressed me,” Kelly said. “The class he consistently displayed and his integrity are only a couple items I was always impressed with.

“As the head coach at Notre Dame, I was only too excited to be invited to be part of an event that we believe recognizes one of the finest men in our coaching professions’ history. We like to think the values he instilled in his players are cornerstones of our program as well.”

Notre Dame’s first-year head coach ranks as the sixth-winningest active coach in the NCAA football bowl subdivision in terms of winning percentage and only three coaches have won more games over the past three seasons than Kelly’s 33 victories. He helped Cincinnati earn consecutive BIG EAST titles in 2008 and 2009 and led Grand Valley State to NCAA Division II national championships in 2002 and 2003.

“We are extremely honored to have Coach Kelly join us in opening the Eddie G. Robinson Museum,” said John Belton, Chairman of the Louisiana governor-appointed Eddie G. Robinson Museum Commission. “Coach Kelly is someone of whom Coach Robinson would have been extremely proud, knowing the hard work, dedication, and commitment it takes to move up the coaching ranks from a small Division II school to his dream job at Notre Dame.”

I’m struggling to find the connection between Brian Kelly and Eddie Robinson, but it’s an incredible honor to be joined alongside Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Tomlin as one of two keynote speakers for the grand opening.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Dispatch has named Kelly the Ohio College Football Coach of the Year for the second straight year (presumably the last for a while), recognizing his undefeated record and his job guiding the Bearcats to the Sugar Bowl.

Kelly received 10 of the 20 first place votes for the award, more than doubling Jim Tressel at Ohio State.

It’s always interesting reading a different perspective on a coach or football program, and with Kelly’s departure such a acrimonious affair, it’s pretty telling that Ohio media would still find him head and shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries. The Sunday feature on Kelly portrayed the coach as a beat-the-odds type, paralleling his unlikely college football career at D-III Assumption to his ascension from graduate assistant to head coach of Grand Valley State in four quick years, at the young age of 28.

Running backs coach Tim Hinton even supplies a quote that describes Kelly as having the ultimate “players mentality.”

“The energy comes from someone who is so competitive,” Hinton said. “He understands when it’s time to push, push and push. What he did at Cincinnati was unparalleled. Brian had a concise and clear plan and doesn’t have a lot of buyer’s remorse. He knows the environment, recognizes his strength and weaknesses and gets the job done.”

While the award probably won’t get equal billing on the Kelly family mantel with other national awards he took home, it gives another unique insight into the man tapped to lead the Irish back to greatness.