LSU made the explosive announcement on Tuesday that it had signed a 10-year, $ 95 million contract with Kelly.
Kelly left Notre Dame as the most successful head coach in program history with 113 wins in 12 seasons (including canceled wins).
“There was no plan in place as I entered the 2021 season as I looked for another opportunity,” Kelly told reporters during her introductory press conference in Baton Rouge. “I had a great football team that we were developing but, you know, when you get the chance to talk to [LSU athletic director] He and Scott Woodward presenting a clear vision, the plan here and the opportunity, it was an exciting vision for me to watch. As I got the chance to tell more people about this opportunity, I just felt like it was something I had to take responsibility for. “
News of Kelly’s departure fell on Monday. He addressed the players at a team meeting the next morning, saying he wanted to “stand in front of them” and tell them face to face.
Kelly said he loved his former players and their relationship made the decision to go to LSU difficult.
“It’s never easy when you go,” he said, “but we did our best. “
Kelly said Notre Dame, who is 11-1 and ranked sixth nationally, “deserves to be in the playoffs.”
He acknowledged his interest in bringing some of his former assistants with him to Baton Rouge, but stressed that they were still employed and had not completed their season.
“This is a process that we will have to follow,” he said. “There are teams to train on both sides.
Woodward confirmed on Wednesday that LSU, who finished the regular season 6-6, is planning to play in a bowl game.
Kelly said the current setup is for offensive line coach Brad Davis to remain the interim head coach during the bowl game, but that wasn’t something he and Woodward discussed. Kelly called this an “open discussion”.
Kelly takes over at LSU following the departure of head coach Ed Orgeron, who led five full seasons before being fired in mid-October.
Orgeron led the Tigers to a national championship in 2019, but has gone 11-11 in the two seasons since. As part of its buyout, Orgeron owes $ 16.9 million.
President William F. Tate IV said of Kelly’s hiring: “This is a historic moment for Louisiana State University.”
Woodward said he met Kelly and came away convinced that “the 60-year-old’s winning days have only just begun.”
“His plan to take this program to the next level is the same as ours,” he said. “He’s not here to taste success. He is here to support his vision of what LSU football can become is the same as ours. He is not here to simply fit into our culture. He is here to transform it. And most importantly, his expectations for LSU football are the same as ours. He’s not just here to win. He’s here to win championships. “
Kelly, who has coached his entire career in the Midwest, stressed that he was drawn to LSU because of the college president’s alignment with athletic director.
“I came here because I wanted to be with the best,” he said. “The resources here are exceptional. It starts with alignment, excellence, the level of expectations. Listen, you’re being watched in terms of championships here. I want this. I want to be under the bright lights. I want to be on the Broadway stage. This is my passion. So, yes, that’s part of the draw, there’s no doubt about it. ”