One former Notre Dame star really didn’t appreciate how Brian Kelly left the program.
Brady Quinn, who played for the Fighting Irish from 2003-06, offered some strong criticism of the new LSU coach during Tuesday’s edition of the “2 Pros and Cup of Joe” show on Fox Sports Radio. Quinn declared that Kelly’s stunning decision to leave the Irish for the Tigers before the conclusion of the 2021 season was all about “money” and “ego.” Kelly signed a 10-year contract with LSU that is worth $95 million, plus additional incentives.
“When I say ego, [I mean] him looking at LSU and saying, ‘I’ve played against them. I know what they can recruit. I know the difference in restrictions that you kind of have or the hurdles you’ve got to jump over at Notre Dame vs. LSU to recruit. I want to try and go win a national championship,'” Quinn told co-hosts Jonas Knox and LaVar Arrington. “He might feel like he has a better chance there, but the irony of it is, his team could literally be playing for one this year — and really the next two years. They have two top-five recruiting classes right now.
“So, he’s leaving all of that. I think the way he did it was more about his ego and how he feels like he was treated at times maybe at Notre Dame, or in this instance how he was treated, not immediately just someone turning and saying, ‘Hey, let’s write the check so you can stay here in South Bend.’ But I think it had more to do with that.”
Quinn also took issue with the timing of Kelly’s exit. Reports of his deal with LSU hit social media on Monday night before he sent a short text message to his players about the news. Multiple assistant coaches were reportedly out on the road recruiting at time. Kelly then spoke to his Notre Dame players on Tuesday morning for less than four minutes and left without taking any questions.
“At the end of the day, you don’t leave the way he did. I mean, [assistant coaches are] literally out on the road recruiting, leaving a recruit’s house after this news breaks and having other coaches out there who are on the road recruiting,” Quinn said. “You don’t leave in a classless way like that after becoming the all-time winningest coach, unless there’s more to it, and you want to try to spurn, or you want to try and do this in kind of a conniving way. … This is just a guy walking out, and it’s a classless, classless move.”
Kelly will now be tasked with turning around an LSU program that captured a national championship under Ed Orgeron in 2019 but has gone 11-11 combined in the past two seasons and finished tied for last in the SEC West in 2021. Quinn sees the potential for the Kelly hire to end in disaster if the 60-year-old doesn’t make an immediate impact.
“I’ll be curious to see how it works out at LSU because their cupboard’s a little bit bare,” Quinn said. “I know they can recruit. They got a lot of talent down there in the south, but if he doesn’t win quick, like in three, four years, we could be looking back and laughing at this.”