Pluck of the Irish: Brian Kelly to visit Buffalo
blog by Ben Kirst • March 23, 2013 @ 11:51am
Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly is coming to Buffalo! No, not to take over the woeful University at Buffalo Bulls, who finished 4-8 and suffered through a six-game losing streak to start their Mid-American Conference schedule. Rather, Kelly is appearing at the UB Center for the Arts as part of an event dubbed ‘Gridiron Conversation,’ a moderated chat with the fiery leader of the Fighting Irish and his much-less-successful protege, Jeff Quinn, head coach of the Bulls.
The Gridiron Conversation will be held at 7 p.m. on May 8 in the Arts Mainstage Theater. Tickets are available online.
The conspiracy theorist in me arches an eyebrow at this visit by the high-profile coach—Quinn received a five-year contract extension in November from Buffalo athletic director Danny White despite posting nine wins over three seasons (in fairness, he’s gone from two in 2010 to three in 2011 to four in 2012—at this rate, by the end of the contract, UB may be pretty good). The same Danny White who unceremoniously dumped popular men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon, whose teams generally, you know, won games. The same Danny White who just canned 17-year wrestling coach and 2010-11 MAC Coach of the Year Jim Beichner.
Is this a little PR move, a little slight of hand to deflect away from the crooked glances the community may be throwing towards the athletic department? An attempt to buoy a football program’s embattled coach by bringing in a celebrity to remind everyone just how smart Quinn can be? Eh…
Anyhow, UB is pitching the event as a “...must-see special event (that) will let fans get an insider’s view of college football as the two coaches share stories, talk football and reminisce about their 21 years of coaching together.” Quinn was part of Kelly’s staff at Grand Valley State University, where the duo built a legitimately dominant Division II program. Quinn then joined Kelly in Central Michigan, building a bowl team, and Cincinnati, where they boosted the Bearcats into a Big East bully and national title contender.
Kelly split for Notre Dame after the 2009 season (well, not quite after), and Quinn took the head job at Buffalo. The rest is history! Kelly has restored the Fighting Irish to national prominence, and Quinn—well, in 2012, he nearly doubled his win total from 2010.
Kelly has seen his share of controversy at Notre Dame, and should certainly have some interesting things to talk about. Consider:
- he was skewered by his own players for leaving Cincy before their (crucial) bowl game in 2009;
- a student assistant died during a Notre Dame practice in 2010;
- he was reprimanded for his potty mouth;
- his star linebacker got Catfished;
- he led the Irish to the 2012 title game (good) and was summarily destroyed by Alabama (bad);
- he interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles for their coaching vacancy after pledging that he would not leave Notre Dame.
I have my ticket! Every ticket buyer also gets a free pass to see the Bulls play Stony Brook on Sept. 14.