SOUTH BEND (AP) - Brian Kelly has his dream job. Now he has to figure out how toturn Notre Dame back into a national championship contender.
The former Cincinnati coach was introduced Friday as the newcoach of the Fighting Irish, a storied program that hasn't won atitle in 21 years. With his family watching nearby, Kelly said heknows there are challenges and he's ready for them.
"When I refer to the challenge, it's strictly getting to thathigh bar that's been set at Notre Dame," said Kelly, who signed afive-year deal with the Irish. "We've got challenges, but we'll goto work on those right away."
Asked how long that would take, Kelly demurred.
"We don't get a five-year plan. This is a five-minute plan," hesaid. "We expect our football players to play at a high levelimmediately. Timetables, we don't want to get into those -- thoseare a setup."
Kelly was asked at Friday's news conference about the possibility of adding Grand Valley State football coach Chuck Martin to his staff at Notre Dame. The two worked together from 1999-2002 at GVSU when Kelly was the head coach and Martin was as an assistant coach. Martin took over as head coach at the end of the 2003 season when Kelly left to take the head job at Central Michigan University.
"I think there's a time and a place for that. Chuck right now is getting prepared for the national championship game [Saturday in Florence, Ala. against Northwest Missouri State]. I think we're gonna let him focus on that, on his football team. Chuck and I are good friends. We're gonna talk, no matter what, because I'm gonna call him Saturday night and congratulate him on winning another national championship because he's a tremendous football coach," Kelly said.
"There are some things he needs to know. First of all, Father John's salary is what he would get, and as Lou Holtz once said, Father has a vow of poverty. So if Chuck is willing to come for free, we'll certainly talk Saturday night."
"Chuck is a man that should be on anybody's list because he's just a great football coach," Kelly added.
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Kelly was the firstcandidate he spoke to and the only one he offered the job to. Kellywisecracked that he didn't "doodle the ND diagram" at his otherjobs, but hoped he could one day run the Irish and called the jobthe "culmination" of 19 years of coaching.
Kelly met with his players for 25 minutes Friday. He said hedidn't have firm impressions of the team built by Charlie Weis,save for watching some film of a single game earlier thisseason.
"It's not just about getting bigger, stronger, faster," he said."It's getting your players to trust, to be accountable on a dailybasis, it's about developing them as young men. ... To get peopleto do things that they would not normally do on their own."
Afterward, linebacker Brian Smith wrote on his Twitter account:"good guy. i wanna play now."
The 47-year-old Kelly officially takes over Monday, starting thejob he has always wanted. As a sign of his eagerness, his Twitterpage got a complete makeover after the announcement. The backgroundfeatured Notre Dame's stadium, and the biography listed South Bendas his location along with a brief statement.
"Thrilled to be the coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish," thebio said. "Committed to stirring People with PASSION andPURPOSE."
He won't have a difficult time stirring the Irish faithful. Thequestion is whether he can succeed where his predecessors failed,returning Notre Dame to BCS prominence and keeping those fans onhis side.
He headed to South Bend with slightly less job security thanprevious coaches. The last three Notre Dame coaches started withsix-year deals -- Weis, Tyrone Willingham and George O'Leary, whoresigned five days after his hiring. The last coach to get afive-year deal was Bob Davie, who took the job after the 1996season.
Notre Dame has gone 16-21 over the past three seasons and islosing two of its best offensive players. Quarterback Jimmy Clausenand his favorite receiver, Golden Tate, announced Monday they willenter the NFL draft.
Kelly grew up in Chelsea, Mass., and went to Assumption College,a Catholic school in Worcester where he played linebacker. He got adegree in political science and later worked on Gary Hart's 1984presidential campaign in the Boston area.
He was a head coach at Division II Grand Valley State inMichigan, where he won back-to-back national titles. He builtCentral Michigan into a winning program in three years, and then in2006 took over at Cincinnati for Mark Dantonio.
Kelly built the Bearcats into a Big East powerhouse and hisdeparture comes as the undefeated Bearcats are preparing to playFlorida in the Sugar Bowl. Some players, notably receiver MardyGilyard, said they felt Kelly had abandoned them for a biggerpaycheck.
"I handled myself in a manner that was upfront and honest," hesaid. "When I had the opportunity to inform our team, I certainlydid that. I'm forever grateful to the players at Cincinnati forwhat they gave me. They gave me this opportunity."
He added: "You would always want it to end with the best story.The best story would be that I get to coach in the Sugar Bowl. ButI'm at Notre Dame now, and this is where I want to be."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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