Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly addressed the Irish around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning at the team to facility to inform them – although, by then, they already knew – he was leaving South Bend to take the head coaching job at LSU.
Kelly's remarks lasted for just a few minutes and he reportedly did not take questions. By 7:10 a.m., he was seen driving away from the facility. Several hours later, he was formally introduced as Tigers coach.
Tuesday night, recordings and video leaked of Kelly's remarks to his players in those few minutes. Here is what the coach, who led the program for 12 years, had to say:
“Good morning, guys. Thanks for getting up here in short order, short notice. As you know, I sent out a text last night trying to give you as much notice as possible given the circumstances that we all know that happened relative to social media and information getting out.
“Look, I know we have been through this together. I recruited virtually everybody in this room. I want to be able to tell you face to face why we’re at where we’re at. That is, very simply, that the past 12 years have been the most incredible 12 years of my life for me and my family being here at Notre Dame. It’s magical what we’ve been able to build with the most incredible student-athletes, the ones that I’m looking at right now.
“So, many times people look for a reason to blame or there was a reason for something — there was nothing here but first-class in everything that Notre Dame has done for me and my family. I saw my time here as a blessing working with incredible men on a day-to-day basis.
“But there comes a time where you look in your life for another opportunity. And I felt like it was time in my life for another challenge. And I saw that opportunity in a very short window and felt that it was best for me and my family.
“So there is no one to blame. There is nobody that is at fault. Nobody did anything wrong. You guys have been the backbone of this program in what you’ve accomplished and will continue to do that.
“I think you’re one of the four best teams in the country. (Athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) is going to get somebody that will continue to lead this program in incredible fashion. I don’t know what it holds for us moving forward, but I hope to heck it means you’re playing for the national championship because you absolutely deserve it.
“So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every one of you for giving me this opportunity to speak to you directly because you don’t get that chance very often. And to thank you for allowing me to pursue what I love to do and that’s develop 18- to 21-year-olds.
“You will continue to achieve at the highest level and have great success no matter what moves forward for you. So, again, thank you. I love each and every one of you. And for me, more than anything else, it’s a sad day but one where I know each one of you are going to do great things and you’ve got more to accomplish. So I wish everybody here the very best. And thank you for the opportunity that you’ve given me and my family. Thank you guys. Appreciate it.”