The college football coaching carousel is spinning at a dizzying pace this week and it appears to have caught Notre Dame in its jet stream.
As of this afternoon, LSU is targeting Irish coach Brian Kelly for its open head coaching position. To define a term here: "targeting" means LSU wants Kelly. It doesn't necessarily mean the interest is reciprocal or that Kelly to Baton Rouge is a done deal. But it appears as though Kelly, 60, the winningest coach in Notre Dame history, will have a decision to make in the next week or so. LSU, which has already reportedly been spurned by Lincoln Riley, who left Oklahoma for USC instead of the Tigers, is looking to make a splashy hire and Kelly would fit the bill.
The Tigers apparently had Kelly among a list of candidates during the start of this coaching cycle, after they announced in October they would part ways with former coach Ed Orgeron at the end of the season. Kelly reportedly said "no" to LSU at the time and the Tigers likely then zeroed in on Riley, before going back to square one when Riley took the USC job Sunday.
Now, LSU comes back to Kelly and it's pretty clear that any move to Louisiana would bring a massive payday for the Irish coach. He already reportedly gets paid among the top salaries of any college coach (as a private school, Notre Dame does not release coaches salaries) and if he didn't have any interest when LSU asked originally, it will probably take a massive offer to get him to think about it.
That's consistent with what he said when asked a week ago about leaving Notre Dame for anything other than retirement:
"No, I mean, look, I think (Pittsburgh Steelers coach) Mike Tomlin had the best line, right? Unless that fairy godmother comes by with that $250 million check, my wife would want to take a look at it first. I'd have to run it by her."
Could LSU offer a deal so ridiculous that Kelly would have to seriously consider it? Absolutely, yes, especially if the Tigers have decided they want Kelly and there is no Plan B. However, Notre Dame can always match any offer and it is obviously not shallow-pocketed in its own right. Less than a year ago, the Irish trumped LSU for defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, demonstrating Notre Dame's willingness to spend when it has to.