Blog Entry

Kelly to Tennessee?

Posted on: November 19, 2008 9:34 pm

It's getting quiet at Cincinnati. Too quiet.

This is what usually happens when something major is about to pop. Everyone is told to keep their mouths shut. Assistants are making discreet calls trying to find new jobs. Such is the case around the Cincinnati where Tennessee seemingly has settled on coach Brian Kelly as its top candidate to replace to Phil Fulmer.

This is not to say Kelly is definitely the guy but I got a couple of calls today saying his name had risen to the top at Rocky Top.

Kelly would be a great hire. He's got the attitude and ability to walk into the cauldron that is SEC recruiting. He's a quarterback specialist. Cincinnati has had to use something like four quarterbacks this season.

A couple of issues here: Cincinnati's season doesn't end until Dec. 6, so if word is out this early it could get really uncomfortable at Cincinnati which is chasing a Big East title. Can you say interim coach for the bowl game?

Category: NCAAF

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 20, 2008 3:46 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

As a fellow GV alum I have to give Kelly his due, but the program didnt come from nothing. GV had a solid program and Kelly took it to another level. In 1989 the Lakers went 11-0 and won the GLIAC championship, losing to Indiana-PA in the playoff. In 1990, the year before kelly took over, the Lakers went10-1 in the regular seasonand won the conference championship. They lost in the snow to visiting East Texas St. in the NCAA DII playoffs (I was at that game).

 The Lakers' current football success has to do with other factors besides Brian Kelly. Lots of money has gone into developing GVSU into a quality university. One look at the campus and you can see it is a university that is evolving. Student enrollment has gone from around 10,000 when I attended in the late '80s and early '90s to over 20,000 with this year setting a record for new enrollment. The Grand Rapids area is growing as well. 

GVSU athletic programs have benefited from improved academic programs, new facililites, and growing attendance. GVSU has been the pinnacle of DII sports for a almost a decade. Last year the men's basketball team was undefeated (including a exhibition win over MSU) until losing in the national semi-finals. This year GVSU has 4 teams ranked nationally in DII fall sports (Football #1 10-0, W. Soccer #1 22-0, Mens X-Country #9, Womens X-Country #2). Men's BBall is 2-0 and ranked #11 in DII.

Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2008 3:04 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

The problem with the Tennessee job is that you have to compete with Florida, Georgia, LSU, Alabama just in conference. I would rather stay in the Big East if you can run the table there is no conference championship and it is still an automatic BCS bid.

Since: Oct 22, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2008 2:41 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?


Since: Oct 13, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2008 2:36 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

no kidding...I was thinking like Peyton Manning was leaving the NFL to come coach, but this...this would most definately not be a big splash...

Since: Jun 14, 2007
Posted on: November 20, 2008 2:22 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

While Brian Kelly has really turned Cincinnati's program around, he is not the caliber coach that Tennessee's fanbase is going to be willing to support. Let's be realistic about this. The only way to satisfy the boosters is to bring in a big name coach with a reputation for solid recruiting and building champions. Mike Leach and Butch Davis certainly come to mind as well as Lane Kiffin. I am still of the opinion that Butch is in the picture (despite have publicly stated his contentedness with UNC). If the Tarheels do not make it to the ACC Championship then I think that Butch leaves for the big contract while is stock is still high. His recruiting capabilities are beyond comparison while his coaching is still questionable. Lane Kiffin, apparent offensive genius, is out of work and has the credibility to bring in the recruits and has developed powerhouse collegiate offenses which is what the UT fanbase has been screaming for..

Since: Dec 20, 2006
Posted on: November 20, 2008 2:21 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

I agree Alazarrulz...I heard Dodd's interview with a Memphis sportscaster an hour or so ago and the sportscaster told Dodd he thinks it should be Mike Leach. Mike Leach apparently is desperate to get out of Lubbock(understand that) and coach at a program with history. No offense to TT at all...I am pulling for them to beat the Sooners. Spouse's uncle graduated from TT; dad from Texas A&M and both of us were born in Texas. Mike Leach is a brilliant lawyer easy task graduating from Pepperdine but Dodd had a good point...he said it isnt just about the experience you have to have the personality to make the talks, recruit the players and have at least a semblance of charisma and his opinion is Mike Leach doesnt have that. PF wasnt exactly an eloquent speaker but his downhome personality appealed to a lot of recruits..or it used to. The job at UT is tough...competing with the other SEC coaches and virtually playing catch up. Sure it can be done but it will take time. VOL fans need to understand that and be patient no matter who the new coach is. UT has great facilities and a lot of money but the SEC darlings are clearly Florida and Alabama...for now. It is hard to UT fans to accept any coach turning down the job but they have and they will. Kelly is a good coach and has a great record...I think he would be a great hire.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: November 20, 2008 1:51 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

It's funny to see people on here saying Kelly would be a bad hire. Do your homework. The guy has won everywhere he has coached. His career record is comporable to that of Fulmer's which is the only good thing about Fulmer. He also an excellent recruiter. You gotta realize that recruits like Tebow are not going to go to Cincy no matter what or Utah for that matter. Urban was not getting top recruits before Florida. Being a good coach and recruiter is not all it takes.  You have to be at a school that is a big time program to play for to get the best recruits. Kelly can do that at Tennessee and he is a proven QB coach. Which we desperately need. Before you start bashing a guy do some research.

18 years experience
1 losing season(his first year at Central Michigan)
Carrer Record:    147-54-2
Never lost a Bowl Game

Can't expect a guy whos coaching at a lower tier school to get a top 5 recruiting class.

Since: Nov 20, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2008 1:36 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

Strangely quiet? It would probably have nothing to do with his team on its fourth game in 21 days which is basically for the big east championship and a bcs bid. This is the same internet cr.p that basically means no one has any idea. Take this article and substitute Michigan last year and there you have it. This cat seems an odd fit with a bunch of tennesseans, not even considering having to butt heads with florida, georgia, lsu, alabama, et. al.. Just something to whip the orange fans into thinking they might have a bright future as their stock has dropped.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: November 20, 2008 1:31 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

You're kidding right? Manning as a coach? Not likely he would be able to handle it, not even want it. Kelly is a great coach having more national titles than Fulmer to start with. Tennessee would be lucky to get him there.

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2008 1:21 pm

Kelly to Tennessee?

I don't really have a problem with Kelly coming to Knoxville, but I would prefer more of a "sure thing" than a "lets hope." There are many similarities between Florida getting Urban Meyer after the 04 season and Tennessee getting Kelly after this season.

Kelly is still trying to establish himself. There's no doubt he is a good coach, but can he perform at the highest level in the SEC? He was crowned champion with Grand Valley State in DII play. He won the MAC title in 2006 and also won the motor city bowl. He is now with Cincy competing for the Big East Title. Kelly's current Cincy team (8-2) [4-1] is tied for first in the Big East. The bearcats competed well in the loss against Oklahoma, but was handed a whooping from UConn.

Urban Meyer seemed to be ready to take the next step when he came to Florida. He took one of the worst teams in the MAC, Bowling Green, to the best in the league. In 2003 he entered the Mountain West, although not a BCS conference, it's similar to the Big East. In his two years there he won 17 games compared to his 2 losses. In 2004, not only did he win the Mountain West Conference, his Utes went undefeated and beat BIG EAST champion, Pitt, in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.

If Brian Kelly can take the next step at the end this season and win the Big East and win a BCS game, that would be enough to comfort Tennessee fans if he came to coach the VOLS.

Would he be a great fit for the VOLS like Meyer is for Florida? In 2004 Ron Zook lead Florida to one of their worst seasons going 7-5. However, to many schools that would be a huge success. All 5 of their losses came against top 25 teams and one of their wins came against in-state rival #8 Florida State. Ron Zook couldn't hang with all the other big time SEC teams and found a better fit in the weaker Big 10 conference. Meyer took over as head coach for the Gators the following year with an extreme amount of talent and coached the team to 9 wins. In his second year, with his recruit Tim Tebow, Florida won the national Championship.

Phil Fulmer hasn't left the VOLS (3-7) with the luxury of talent Meyer inherited. If a guy like Brian Kelly comes into Knoxville, it will be very interesting to see how, if possible, quickly he can bring the program to a top national contender. In my opinion, Kelly is not a "big splash," but in the long run could be a good choice.

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