Brian Kelly said farewell to his Cincinnati charges last night and many responded by kindly asking their ex-coach to mind both the door and the area where the Good Lord split him as he makes his way through it.
Several Bearcat players expressed their anger with Kelly after being told of his departure for Notre Dame before last night's football banquet—hours after the rest of planet already knew. Their annoyance seems to come not just from the fact that they were the last group to be told (after being promised that they would be first to know) or that he's abandoning them before the biggest game in school history, but because many players were led to believe—by Kelly himself—that he wasn't going anywhere.
Receiver Mardy Gilyard—who days ago was convinced that Kelly was staying—left in the middle of the team meeting where they finally learned of the decision, telling reporters he was "disgusted" at a situation he called an "injustice." Quarterback Tony Pike said that just a week ago (before their pivotal game against Pittsburgh) Kelly was gushing to the team about how much he loved the school and had no plans to leave. Tight end Ben Guidugli used the phrase "turning his back on us." Defensive end Alex Daniels angrily vowed to "show you all that we were the ones out there doing it" and Kelly was "just calling signals." So you're saying there won't be bon voyage cake?
Some would say that the the Bearcats are just being naive and this is simply a part of big time college football. Others might say that lying to your players right up until the moment when you walk out on them is underhanded and petty. Gilyard, for his part, says that he gets it. Kelly made "a business decision," but that doesn't mean he has to like it.
"I feel like there was a little lying in this thing, I feel like he's known the whole time. I kind of had a gut feeling that he was going to stay because he told me he was going to be here. But it is what it is. He made a business decision. I'm old enough to know that's what the business is now ... That shouldn't be the way the game should be played. Cincinnati is still Cincinnati without BK."
"Hopefully he packs his things up and gets to South Bend in a hurry."
Brian Kelly leaves Cincinnati to become coach of Notre Dame [Cincinnati Enquirer]
Kelly new coach at Notre Dame, players salty [News Record]
Bearcat players last to know Kelly was leaving for ND [WNDU]
Cincinnati Bearcats rip Brian Kelly as he leaves to become Notre Dame's new head coach [New York Daily News]
Brian Kelly first acknowledges being ND coach on Twitter [Past The Press Box]