Heard it From Hoard: Column 62After 25 games at Cincinnati, Brian Kelly is 20-5 for a winning percentage of .800. Combine that with two Division II National Championships at Grand Valley State and a Mid-American Conference title at Central Michigan, and any high-profile program in the market for a new head coach would be stupid not to have BK on its short list. If one of those programs offers him a long-term contract with a huge raise, I wouldn't blame him for at least considering it. Wouldn't you? But Brian Kelly sure doesn't sound like someone who's looking for his next job. "We want to stay here," Coach Kelly told me on Sunday. "We think there are some things that need to be addressed. I don't want last night to be as good as it gets. If it's as good as it gets last night than my job is done. I don't want my job to be done. I want to be challenged here to keep getting bigger and bigger. Do we need a 100,000 seat stadium? No, but we need to add some things here and that would be the only thing that would make it difficult for me to stay at Cincinnati. I think our administration wants to make sure that my job is not done and if that's the case, this is where I want to be." I asked if he had a list of "dream jobs." "No, wearing the colors of Ohio State, Notre Dame, or Boston College - that's not really for me," Kelly said. "It's really about raising your family in an environment they enjoy and having challenges. If I can keep having those in front of me then I'm at the right place in Cincinnati." That won't stop the rumors. But don't panic every time that somebody with an unidentified "inside source" claims that Brian has been spotted on another campus, or that his wife Paqui is shopping for a new house. "I went through this process last year," Kelly said. "It was in the papers that I was getting the Michigan job and it was talked about and I'm not going to go through this again. I told everybody that represents me that I don't want any contact - you guys need to keep this stuff off my desk. I've got a job to do - I came here to win a championship. What happens is that some guy in Tennessee throws something on a blog that ESPN thinks is a good story and some of it I can't control. The things that I can control, I've said stay away from me because I've got a job to do." That job is to beat Syracuse on Saturday to clinch a Big East title and a BCS bowl bid, and no scuttlebutt about his future is going to interfere. "Everybody writes a blog, everybody has access to fast media coverage - it's just the business that we're in today," Kelly said. "We're paid a lot of money, we're scrutinized and what you try to do is make certain that your team understands that you're here and focused on them. We're here to win a championship and nothing is going to detract from that." If you think the players are anxious about seeing their coach's name attached to job rumors you shouldn't be. "Guys joke about it and that's always going to happen," Connor Barwin told me. "In college football coaches move around a lot. I have no idea what Coach Kelly is going to do - I think he's going to stay but I thought Coach Dantonio was going to stay so that shows you what I know. As long as Coach Kelly is winning here, that question is going to come up every single season so the younger guys are going to have to get used to it." What Kelly wants the younger players to get used to, is what they're experiencing this season as Bearcats - playing for high stakes in front of sellout crowds at Nippert Stadium. "That's where we want to get our football program - where it's an electric night at Nippert Stadium and it's a great atmosphere for college football," Kelly said. "That's what we've been trying to create and I think I said when we first got here, if you can do it in Piscataway, New Jersey you can certainly do that in Cincinnati and I think we showed that last night." "I think the most important thing here is not only bringing in the students and the band but finally breaking through in the city. That really was exciting for me to see last night because there weren't any Pitt fans here. That was all Cincinnati fans and that's why I think there's a lot left here that can be done and I'd like to be able to do that." Coach, you're welcome to stay as long as you'd like.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.
Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad posing with a couple of big Bearcats.