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Brian Kelly’s teams always seem to improve, so winning BCS title is next step

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s entire staff is returning thcontinuity will be beneficial for players. | AP

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s entire staff is returning, and that continuity will be beneficial for players. | AP

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Updated: September 5, 2013 6:59AM

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The process began Jan. 8.

The previous night, Notre Dame lost to Alabama in the BCS title game.


Somewhere in the 24 hours that followed, coach Brian Kelly began contemplating the Irish’s next moves.

“Everything we’ve worked on since that next day, and I mean the next day, is about getting back to the national championship game and winning it,” Kelly said Friday.

“There’s not a man that sat in this seat, when we met as an entire team, that is not committed to that end. That’s why they’re here. That’s why there’s such great excitement and anticipation. From our standpoint as coaches, we can feel that.”

Kelly’s teams have a track record of improving.

In each of his three years at Central Michigan, the Chippewas saw an increase in victories.

Kelly’s next stop was Cincinnati. He led the Bearcats to 10 wins in 2007, 11 victories in 2008 and 12 wins the next season. After two 8-5 years at Notre Dame, Kelly’s Irish went 12-1 and reached the BCS title game.

The next step is getting back. And winning.

“The improvements I make have to do with how I direct the staff, how we direct the program, how we communicate, always looking to be better at doing what we do, being innovative, always looking for better ways to do it,” Kelly said. “Getting out and seeing other programs, bringing coaches in. That’s part of being a great teacher, that you’re always trying to learn.

“What I do on the sidelines is too late. I better be doing it during the week and in the offseason. I think all of our coaches are committed to being better teachers and educators. I think we all take that very seriously. You ask your players to improve; you want your coaches to grow, as well. My unit and my group does that as well as any group around.”

Fall camp for Kelly’s fourth season with Notre Dame begins Monday. He’ll have an added bonus with the return of his entire staff.

“We’ve had great continuity, obviously,” Kelly said. “It starts with our coordinators in [offensive coordinator] Chuck [Martin] and [defensive coordinator] Bob [Diaco]. Having them back sets the leadership and the voice, that consistency of approach of what the expectations are. So that never changes when you have your coordinators back. That’s obviously very important for our players. When they hear that same voice, you just pick up where you left off.”

Kelly indicated that some of that continuity, at least on his part, could be announced soon. He said a new contract was “imminent.”

“It’s up to [athletic director] Jack [Swarbrick]. Jack will make that decision,” Kelly said. “Whether he wants to make an announcement or not, I don’t need an announcement. I have a signed contract. I’m getting paid every day. I’m fortunate to be the head coach at Notre Dame. I’m not really worried about that stuff.”

His focus is on that final step.

“If you have a great business, accounting is working hand‑in‑hand with marketing. In an academic institution, we know our place in athletics, but it’s important that everybody is communicating and working together. Those are the things we’re working on on a day‑to‑day basis just like any other good business and successful organization would,” Kelly said.

“Communication, building relationships, building trust. If we ask for something, it’s needed. So those are the relationships that are building on a day‑to‑day basis that allow your business to continue to grow. That synergy grows the program on a day‑to‑day basis.”

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