As FootballScoop first reported Monday afternoon, LSU has prioritized hiring Notre Dame's Brian Kelly – and now the move appears to be possibly imminent.
After swinging and missing on multiple high-level targets, the Tigers spent the past 24 to 48 hours dialing in their search on Kelly – the 12-year Notre Dame skipper just months removed from breaking Knute Rockne's all-time wins record atop the Golden Domers program.
Notre Dame officials, when reached by FootballScoop, did not respond to the status of Kelly.
However, multiple Irish staff members said “It sounds like it's done,” and “I believe it's done,” when reached by FootballScoop.
But numerous members of the Irish football staff and athletics department were keenly aware throughout the day Monday – and on the heels of LSU's initial pursuit – that Scott Woodward & Co. found Kelly approachable for a conversation.
Multiple sources throughout Monday afternoon – both at LSU and Notre Dame – indicated that both LSU's pursuit of Kelly and Kelly's willingness to listen to the Tigers' second approach – after what sources described as facilities issues -- carried legitimate hope for the Tigers and concern for the Irish.
“I think it's possibly a bridge broken,” said one source with intimate knowledge of proceedings between Irish officials and Kelly.
LSU had offered Lincoln Riley more than $12 million annually, sources told FootballScoop, and were expected to have made a similar offer to Kelly, who earned between $7-7.5 million at Notre Dame, per sources familiar with Kelly's contract. A private institution, Notre Dame is not required to release its coaches' full contracts.
But the Tigers had armed Woodward with what sources described as a “blank check,” especially after multiple targets seemed to fall aside from LSU's list of potential candidates.
In Kelly, LSU would land one of the game's most proven coaches and program builders who won reached the sport's highest level at the NCAA Division II level at Grand Valley State and then transformed both Central Michigan and Cincinnati into winning programs that resonated on the national landscape.
Kelly's work at Cincinnati earned him the Notre Dame job, which he inherited after the program's failed Charlie Weiss era.
Kelly soon led Notre Dame to compete for the 2012 BCS National Championship against Alabama and then led the Irish to a pair of subsequent College Football Playoff berths in 2018 and again in 2020.
Notre Dame is ranked inside the top 8 of the current CFP standings and has retained an opportunity to gain selection into this year's CFP bracket – depending on how the various conference championship games unfold this weekend.
So how could Kelly's Notre Dame tenure, literally just a couple months after Kelly broke Knute Rockne's all-time wins program for the hallowed program, end so abruptly?
Again, it revolves back to what sources with intimate knowledge of the situation describe as Kelly's adamant approach to fight for improved facilities for Notre Dame student-athletes – and specifically Kelly's football players.
At central issue was Kelly's desire to see the program's Guglielmino Athletics Complex renovated to include an enhanced nutrition and training center for student-athletes, as well as a players' lounge.
Per sources briefed on Kelly's wishes to remain at Notre Dame, they said Kelly had not asked for additional money to his own salary in his conversations with veteran Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick.