Brian Kelly Must Go*

October 29, 2010 – 3:48 am by Hickey

Imagine that you are a workplace supervisor.

Now imagine that one of the employees you are responsible for overseeing is killed on the job as a result of your gross negligence.

Think you’d still be employed?


Unless we learn of facts that point to the contrary, it is difficult for me to think that Brian Kelly should deserve to keep his job as Notre Dame’s head football coach in the wake of the tragic death of student filmographer Declan Sullivan. The sheer lack of common sense and responsibility on the part of the adults in charge who let a 20-year-old stand 50 feet above the ground in a scissor lift in 50 MPH winds is among the most dumbfounding things I have ever encountered in my life. And I’ve encountered my fair share of befuddling stupidity.

There is an investigation ongoing, and obviously that will have to bear itself out before Notre Dame can make any decisions. But barring some sort of cover-up — not that an institution associated with the Catholic Church would ever stoop to such a level — I imagine the facts will shed a great deal of culpability on Kelly.

Ultimately, the head coach is responsible for every aspect of planning a football practice. And this was not some freak medical incident where a kid collapsed due to a seizure or heart murmur that no one could see coming. This is one of the most easily preventable accidents I’ve ever heard of. There were wind advisories all over the Great Lakes region calling this the most severe low-pressure system in 70 years. There are several places where whole trees were blown over at the trunk. To send a human up in a flimsy apparatus in those conditions is sheer madness. The chilling Twitter messages posted by Sullivan before his death emphasize that clearly — “Wind gusts up to 60 mph… Guess I’ve lived long enough” and “This is terrifying.”

Of course, someone below Kelly on the Notre Dame staff will probably serve as the fall guy in this case. The filming of practice is not something “directly” in the head coach’s realm of responsibility. But anyone with a brain on their shoulders had to have realized that sending Sullivan up there was not a good idea. If lying on your resume is a fireable offense as Notre Dame coach, this sure as hell has to be one too.

Ultimately, it comes down to this — every year, Kelly must visit the families of recruits and convince them to entrust their sons to him for the next four to five years.

After an incident like this, what parent could possibly do so?

Thus, Brian Kelly must go. He’s not a bad guy, nor a bad coach. But he allowed for a scenario that greatly increased the odds of this terrible situation to take place, and someone has to pay for it.

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  1. 33 Responses to “Brian Kelly Must Go*”

  2. The AD’s claim that the wind gusted suddenly, without any warning, is a lie. I live in SE Michigan, and we were in that same low pressure system that day. As if just the wind warnings and fact of how extremely low the barometric pressure was weren’t enough reason to play it safe, the wind was in fact gusty all day long. There was no calm followed by unexpected gusts. The kids pre-accident tweets are sufficient evidence the same was true in South Bend. ND’s athletic director is a bald-faced liar, and Brian Kelly is directly responsible for this kid’s death. This is criminal negligence, and he should face criminal charges.

    By Jhanley on Oct 29, 2010

  3. I don’t want to see him fired, strictly from a football standpoint, but at this point, I would be surprised to see him on the sidelines next year. He’s already unpopular enough with the fanbase, and this will just push them over the edge and demand his firing.

    I’ll be surprised if Swarbrick is back, too.

    By MJenks on Oct 29, 2010

  4. How much of this article is factual?
    This is a tragedy and posting such information without any documentation is unfair.

    By Ed on Oct 29, 2010

  5. Notre Dame should fire Kelly so IU can hire him.

    By McD on Oct 29, 2010

  6. By the way, what’s with the asterisk?

    Am I missing a footnote somewhere?

    Anyway, I hadn’t looked around much before making the comment, but WOW is there a lot of Fire Brian Kelly right now sentiment running through the fanbase. Sadly, I think it’s more misplaced displeasure with losing to Navy again and less anger around Sullivan’s death.

    By MJenks on Oct 29, 2010

  7. Why was it important for the author of the article to include a gratuitous anti-Catholic insult? And where is there any evidence of a coverup on the part of Notre Dame? Full disclosure: as a USC Trojan alumnus, I am accustomed to rooting against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame BUT I haven’t become blind to journalistic ethics and standards or to religious bigotry.

    By Maurice on Oct 29, 2010

  8. The asterisk is there in the unlikely event that Kelly bears no responsibility in this — like if someone didn’t listen to an order he gave to bring the kid down. As Ed points out, we don’t know ALL the facts yet. But based on what I know from experience about the basic operation of a football practice, I am convinced those facts will hold him responsible. And the fact the Jack Swarbrick already lied about it does not help the cause.

    By Hick Flick on Oct 29, 2010

  9. Maurice…get a life, loser. I love how people just throw around the word bigot any chance they get.

    By ABigD on Oct 29, 2010

  10. Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick has already said that weather conditions were “unremarkable” prior to the incident. Sullivan’s tweets are in direct opposition to this statement, not to mention the National Weather Service.

    Was it necessary for the Catholic Church to sweep the molestation of children under the rug? You’re goddamn right I’m going to make a snarky comment. And I’m not sure how bigoted I can be coming from a family of Irish and Catholic descent.

    By Hick Flick on Oct 29, 2010

  11. Wait, we’re journalists? I probably shouldn’t have made all those ass-rape jokes then. My bad, guys.

    By McD on Oct 29, 2010

  12. Ass-rape jokes?

    Oh, you were referencing the last three ND seasons. Gotcha!

    By MJenks on Oct 29, 2010

  13. Oh, and thanks for the asterisk explanation, Hick Flick. I wasn’t sure if I was missing something.

    By MJenks on Oct 29, 2010

  14. Hey Guys, I thought they fired Tyrone W. two years too soon. This young man’s life has been destroyed prematurely and we are jumping to conclusion prematurely as well. Let’s allow the completion of investigation before we jump to any more conclusions. Regardless, this is going to make recruiting difficult to say the least.

    By dbmlwd on Oct 29, 2010

  15. These people are catholic so it must be a cover up. You are Mexican you must be illegal. You are from San Fransico. Are you gay? All ignorant dumbass biggoted statements. I also call BS on being irish and catholic because you would know better. Your a hater Hick.

    By Dshe on Oct 30, 2010

  16. The thought that the couch gets fired for this is a little scary to me. I think someone is looking for a reason to get rid of kelly due to the fact he can’t get a winning season out of what he was left by the previouse coach ( which ain’t much folks!).
    If notre dame wants a return to the glory days,they better hang on to Kelly for awhile.The job could become one of those no one wants ’cause even if you win,you gotta win the championship or else!!

    By kevin beranek on Oct 30, 2010

  17. Amen to Dshe.You are a hater,hick.You are the epitomy of the ugly American. As an Australian catholic that loves your nation’s brand of football, do the world a favour and never get a passport. Go and hang out with cousin Eddie

    By Marbles on Oct 30, 2010

  18. Hick, I’m an alumnus of the school, and I know your skin is pretty thick and you don’t need me rushing to the rescue, but you’re absolutely spot on here. If Kelly sent him up there and didn’t think about the conditions and made him stay up there, then Kelly should be fired and charges of manslaughter or criminal negligence should be brought against him. And I’m not being reactionary just because ND looked like shit against Navy and just lost against Tulsa. If Kelly had a hand in this, fire him immediately. No buy out. Nothing. And then send Swarbrick packing, as well, if for nothing more than his bullshit tale about the wind suddenly blowing out of nowhere.

    You guys know I’ve been behind Kelly the whole way, even through the shitty start, the yelling “controversy” and the pwnage by Navy.

    As for the Catholic Church controversy…people calling Hick a bigot and hater need to crack open a history book. The Catholic Church has made a living off shady dealings and bilking believers out of their money for centuries. It’s not just the priest scandal.

    The Catholic Church doesn’t have much to do with this, though. This is going to just be a school covering their asses to try and save as much face and settlement money as possible. The religious affiliation of the school has nothing to do with it.

    By MJenks on Oct 30, 2010

  19. Exactly. Religious affiliation has nothing to do with it.
    If you want the negative angle,read his other shit.Hater

    By marbles on Oct 30, 2010

  20. I’m not sure of all the facts as some of you “experts” seem to be. Unless you were actually at the site, you really don’t know what the conditions were. I live less than 15 miles from campus. Conditions here were very different from what is being reported. So unless you were actually there, the AD may or may not being lying. It seems too many have appointed themselves judge & jury without any investigation – without any FACTS, just assumptions. But ain’t that America?

    By GH on Oct 30, 2010

  21. I don’t care if Notre Dame is 7-0 right now. Trivializing this is a matter of wins and losses is ridiculous. Like I said, Kelly’s not a bad coach.

    And really, conditions may have been different than what the kid who died tweeted and the National Weather Service data indicates? Keep sipping the Kool Aid, friend.

    In regards to not getting a passport, I’ve actually lived in Ireland for a summer. I’m not some redneck, nor am I anti-Catholic or anti-Catholicism. That assertion is beyond moronic. But I guess a throwaway line about legitimately ugly events makes me a bigot against a culture I grew up in.

    By Hick Flick on Oct 31, 2010

  22. If Kelly gets fired, ND will never become elite again. This is already a “job no one wants” because of the demands from certain fans. As for Hick Flick, the kid was being a “smart alec” during his first tweet.” The second however indicates a different story and I agree, he should have been brought down, as for your defense about not being anti catholic, the proof is in the pudding. I’ve been around many people that don’t consider themselves racists, however make or laugh at racial slurs or jokes when they’re said. Your response is shameful and completely inappropriate for this manner.

    By Glen Clavin on Nov 1, 2010

  23. By the way, Hitler came from jewish descent, but that didn’t stop him from being one of the biggest murderers and worst human’s in world history now does it?

    By Glen Clavin on Nov 1, 2010

  24. Oh, oh, I can top that! Diocletian was born in Serbia! They’re ORTHODOX! And yet he turned out to kill WAY more people than Hitler! It’s a fact! I just tangentally brought it up!!!! That makes me smarter and better than anyone else!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By MJenks on Nov 1, 2010

  25. And I was being a smart aleck talking about corruption happening within the church’s culture not being unusual. Look it up, it’s true. And apparently now that allows my favorite Cheers character’s brother to jump to the Beckian conclusion that I wouldn’t mind seeing Catholics die. Or at least that’s the Beckian conclusion I jump to when Hitler’s name is invoked in comparison to me. Good call, I never liked three-quarters of my friends and family anyway. Good Lord. My family is in this country BECAUSE Catholics essentially had no rights in Ireland in the 19th Century. How does snarky criticism of something gone horribly wrong within the church’s hierarchy equal bigotry? Maybe it would be better for us all if that dark cloud was lifted, but I guess it should remain ignored under the rug. This idiocy blows my mind. I’m done talking. This was supposed to be about Notre Dame backed into the unfortunate corner of needing to get rid of Brian Kelly, not theology or “bigotry” or anything else.

    By Hick Flick on Nov 1, 2010

  26. Hickey isn’t a bigot, he hates everyone the same…

    By Booter on Nov 1, 2010

  27. In the famous words of Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott, “Everybody’s got a little Irish in them, I’ve got a little for you right here!”

    So what if you have Irish heritage,we all do.

    Do everyone a favour and quit while you are way behind and never to recover.
    The more you whine the more you expose yourself as the true douche behind the keyboard.

    Learn your lesson and stick to the subject in the future instead of making sweeping statements about topics you know absolutely nothing about.

    You’re a turd,beat it

    By marbles on Nov 1, 2010

  28. First of all a 20 year old kid was killed and most of the people here seem to overlook that. Secondly, the victim himself tweeted his fear, yes, as a 20 year old college kid would but leaving no question as to the weather conditions. Notre Dame officials are doing the same thing the Catholic Church has done over molestation charges, trying to hide it instead of working for the truth (which is why people are making comments about it). Perhaps our ridiculous legal system has them acting this way but that doesn’t bring the kid back to life. His tweets indicate he was forced to go up there (or face academic ruin as anyone who has been to college knows). If this wasn’t murder, it was as close as you can come and a 20 year old is still dead! Yes, we should wait for the investigation to be completed but the hypocrisy of the university and of its coach is very sickening.

    By Colonel Tom on Nov 1, 2010

  29. How about we blame God for this? He is the jerkoff that created the wind and allowed this to happen. You religious nuts always want to give God credit for a miracle when it happens, but never call him out when something terribly tragic happens at a religious institution because it’s “part of his plan.” I’m Hick Flick’s cousin, so I guess we are just a family of Hitler-loving bigots. Or maybe we just like to think logically and realistically about the world.

    By Cousin Charlie on Nov 1, 2010

  30. I drove to the Jordan Hall on that day and saw him up there. WNDU personal was even pointing up to him and I thought what kind of idiot is going up there in this wind. It was windy ALL DAY and not just all of a sudden. We canceled our soccer practice because of it. Kelly is the man who gets paid to make sure everything is all right. He ought to have known better but was arrogant. He SAW him up there and did nothing. He MUST get fired and so does the AD. He was there as well. They are put into these positions and get a high salary for it.

    By wow on Nov 2, 2010

  31. As an alum, Kelly and Swarbrick should both be fired. Kelly because the evidence is there and he even admitted to it being his call. An innocent young man was killed. I don’t care if Notre Dame is considered significant in football again we are suppose to have standards, at least that is what they tried to teach us there. Swarbrick just for that comment trying to play down the weather when warnings were all over the news. To the individual that said it would be hard finding a coach wanting the ND job is somewhat ludicrous. First, Kelly’s firing is because of his negligence a young man died. Second, you get them to a bcs and they will give you a lucrative multi-season, multi-million dollar position and barely have to break five hundred after that to collect their pay-out.

    By redyr on Nov 2, 2010

  32. I dont want him to be fired…I want him to stay there at ND long enough so that he can realize that leaving the Univ of Cinti was one huge mistake… gotta look at the supernatural aspect of this also…a university named after the Mother of God honored a pro-abort nut case like Obama….this infuriated Her and Her Son..and because of that, Brian Kelly will never have a winning season at Notre Dame…oh Jesus and Mary will allow some victories, but will never allow a winning season until the University apologizes to all Catholics and to Them also.

    By Bob George on Nov 4, 2010

  33. […] Rumors and Rants » Blog Archive » Brian Kelly Must Go* […]

    By methods on Jan 4, 2011

  34. Big game same result. Team not prepared looked flat. Will end with 2 or 3 losses again. He gets the talent cant do anything with it. Clemson out played and coached him

    By Gone on Oct 7, 2015

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