Brian Kelly just got out of a 12-year relationship with the Notre Dame football program. Their breakup came suddenly. One day, Kelly’s whispering sweet-nothings to the media, pledging that he’s not leaving his darling. But the next, Twitter’s abuzz that he has fallen in love with a thirsty admirer from Louisiana.
Before he could properly unpack his bags from a trip to the California coast with his longtime love, where the Fighting Irish crushed Stanford and the chances of a possible engagement in January grew even stronger, Kelly started flirting with someone new. This fling followed the classic rom-com plot: Coach meets Public University Obsessed with Football. University pops the question. Coach responds: You had me at $9.5 million.
The two lovebirds would spend all of one day, Nov. 29, mapping out their next 10 years together. They’re going to find a nice, little multimillion dollar place out in Baton Rouge, and if Kelly can add a national championship trophy to the mantel, his sweetheart will give him an additional $500,000 a year. Theirs is a love that would make Lincoln Riley swoon.
Meanwhile, back in South Bend, Ind., a late-night message pings the phone. He’s sorry and all. Didn’t mean for you to find out over social media. What you two had was something special, “elite” even. But this is goodbye.
“My love for you is limitless,” Kelly purrs in the breakup text.
The Kelly-Notre Dame relationship might have come to an end, but during a week cluttered with messy football divorces, Kelly keeps finding new and inventive ways to cement himself as the most shameless ex in college sports.
He committed to LSU exactly seven days after claiming it would take a hypothetical, filthy-rich fairy godmother to pry him away from Notre Dame. The ex who walks out after getting a tattoo of your name has more loyalty than this.
He dumped his team via text. On the scale of Terrible Exes, this move ranks right above saying, “It’s me, not you,” in a public place to ensure the dumpee doesn’t make a scene.
Then Kelly, sounding as if his dialect coach were Colonel Sanders, tried to affect some kind of a Southern drawl while addressing fans during halftime of an LSU basketball game. That’s like your ex pretending to enjoy French New Wave cinema in an effort to look cultured in front of his new love.
“Well, that’s a great way to get sta-aarted, and I haven’t even won all my games yet!” Kelly told the crowd. They applauded despite his forced pronunciation.
“It’s a great night to be a Tii-ger,” Kelly continued, saying every last bit of his vowels. “I’m here with my fam-a-lee, and we are so excited to be in the great state of Louisiana but more importantly to be with you great fans and to be part of what is going to be an incredible ride here at Louisiana State University!”
But more suspect than his accent, the worst part of this split was Kelly dumping his old flame just weeks ahead of a very big event they have spent all season planning together.
Notre Dame (11-1, the fourth time under Kelly the program has won at least 11 games) sat sixth in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and still has a chance to earn a spot and compete for the program’s 12th national championship. Even the bride with cold feet can’t believe Kelly’s timing here.
Still, Notre Dame isn’t lonely and stranded at the altar. The program has rebounded rather quickly with a younger, prettier option. Jumping headfirst into this new relationship, Notre Dame even took the big step of introducing him to the family and Friday morning announced 35-year-old Marcus Freeman, who served as defensive coordinator under Kelly, as the new coach of the Fighting Irish.
The team captured the big reveal — players in green whooping and forming a mosh pit around Freeman — and sent it out on social media with a perfect three-word subtweet: “a player’s coach.” The Irish probably posted the video hoping a certain someone would see it. So here’s to wishing their ex was sitting at home, booed up but still sneakily looking at pics on the ’gram, realizing how happy they are without him.