The college football coaching carousel has been spinning at an alarming rate this season, reaching mach speed on Sunday when Lincoln Riley shockingly left Oklahoma to become the new head coach at USC, completely overshadowing Florida’s hire of Billy Napier earlier in the day.
Along with a sudden opening at Oklahoma, LSU still was seeking a new head coach — ironically, Riley was shooting down LSU rumors on Saturday night, less than 24 hours before bolting for USC. The Tigers were always expected to try and make a splash, and with Riley getting poached it seems the folks down in Baton Rouge got an idea for how to try and do the same. On Monday, rumblings began picking up that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was atop the Tigers wish list, but few expected him to be able to be wooed away from South Bend.
However, later in the evening Yahoo’s Pete Thamel — who broke the Riley to USC news on Sunday — brought word that a deal was expected to be done within the next 24 hours, creating another massive domino situation in college football. Ross Dellenger of SI confirmed the news shortly after.
Sources: LSU is expecting to hire Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly as the school’s next head coach. An announcement could come as early as tomorrow.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 30, 2021
Kelly officially has a 113-40 record in 12 seasons at Notre Dame, including an 11-1 record this season that has the Irish, potentially, eyeing another Playoff berth should some things shake out in their favor this coming weekend. For him to leave for Baton Rouge means the money must be outrageous, and also means Notre Dame is in the market for a new coach — which will surely lead to another major opening.
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell will be the expected frontrunner for the Notre Dame job, as he’s led the Bearcats to an undefeated 12-0 season, handing the Irish their only loss of the season in the process, and if there’s a non-Ohio State job he’d leave Cincinnati for, most feel Notre Dame would be it. Otherwise, you could see a number of other prominent coaching names on the Irish wish list, but what’s certain is there will only be more and more ripple effects felt from this seismic shift.