Brian Kelly Says Contract Extension with Notre Dame Is Imminent

Randy ChambersAnalyst IAugust 5, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly looks on during the game against the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Notre Dame is on the verge of giving head football coach Brian Kelly another contract extension, according to the Associated Press via ESPN.
With the Irish set to begin fall camp Monday in Marion, a Central Indiana city about 100 miles southeast of the Notre Dame campus, school officials seem determined to keep Kelly in the fold.
Kelly claims that his contract situation is not a distraction to the team and that a new deal is "imminent," per the report. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick also said that the school is working on the details to extend Kelly's contract that already runs through the 2016 season. Speaking of the negotiations, Kelly said:

We have a contract and an agreement. We have people that are paid money to look at these contracts. They look at them very closely. They don't operate as quickly as I would like to. But there are no issues contractually.

Notre Dame has spent years struggling to get back to the top of college football. There were plenty of coaching changes, wasted opportunities and a few seasons of missed bowl games. At times, it was safe to question if the Irish would ever regain their glory and compete for a national title.

Then last year took place, when Notre Dame began the season unranked in the AP poll but finished the regular season undefeated record and earned a trip to the BCS National Championship Game. The Irish did lose to Alabama 42-14 in the big game, but the season was a clear sign that the program had finally found the right head coach to lead the way. 

He received his latest contract extension in January of 2012, a year before he led the program to 12 victories for the first time since 1989. If Kelly got a contract extension coming off back-to-back 8-5 finishes and mediocre bowl appearances, it's obvious something good is coming his way after last year's run.

However, even a new extension will raise questions with Kelly, the same coach who interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles coaching job after the national championship game. Kelly tried to put the rumors of his leaving for the NFL to bed, per the AP report:

"It was in the rearview mirror the next day. We don't even think about it, don't even talk about it. It's history," he said.

While some still may wonder just how committed Kelly is to Notre Dame, the Irish must do whatever they can to keep him happy and hope he will stay in South Bend for an extended period of time.