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Bearcats left wondering after Brian Kelly bolts to LSU

Kelly spent five seasons in Cincinnati and more than a decade in South Bend.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gestures from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA...
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gestures from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Toledo in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. Notre Dame won 32-29. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)(AJ MAST | AP)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly is going to LSU, according to Pete Thamel with Yahoo Sports.

Multiple other outlets have independently confirmed Thamel’s report. The 10-year deal is said to be worth more than $100 million.

The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna says Notre Dame coaches, administrators and boosters were “blindsided” by the news Monday night. “An absolutely shocking development in South Bend.”

It’s the latest surprise move in a college football coaching carousel that’s already seen tectonic shifts in the landscape of the sport.

Just yesterday, Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley departed for the same position at USC in what many thought would be the landmark shakeup of the season. Kelly’s move to LSU almost surely trumps it in shock-value and consequence.

Kelly’s move could be especially concerning for UC fans.

Last week, a report suggested Luke Fickell was staying in Cincinnati. Still, Fickell’s dream jobs are widely considered to be Ohio State and Notre Dame, and it’s conceivable Monday’s news puts Fickell’s future in doubt.

Promoting current Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach could be the move in South Bend considering Freeman’s talent both as a coach and a recruiter. But if Notre Dame comes calling for Fickell, it’s likely UC would make their own play for Freeman, who coached under Fickell at UC prior to leaving for Notre Dame.

Kelly ironically spent much of last offseason persuading Freeman to take the Notre Dame defensive coordinator job over the same job at LSU.

Another contender for the Notre Dame job could be Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. A report Monday night suggests Campbell is interested in the job.

Kelly, 60, has led Notre Dame to two College Football Playoff appearances and one BCS Championship game appearance.

His teams are 54-9 since a disastrous 2016 season that led to wholesale changes throughout the program.

Kelly spent five seasons at Cincinnati prior to leaving for Notre Dame, including a perfect 12-0 regular season in 2009.

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