June 22, 2009
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CINCINNATI - Head football coach Brian Kelly and the University of Cincinnati have agreed to terms on a new five-year deal that will keep Kelly on the sidelines through the 2013 season, Director of Athletics Mike Thomas announced today (June 22, 2009), pending the approval of the contract by the University Board of Trustees.
Kelly previously signed a new five-year contract on Dec. 17, 2007.
"In a short period of time, Brian Kelly has made a name for himself and the University of Cincinnati football team across the country," said Thomas. "His impact has been immediate not only as a coach, but also as a member of our community and a great ambassador for the University. This past season Brian led the program to historic heights on and off the field, winning the BIG EAST Conference and leading the Bearcats to their first BCS appearance in the FedEx Orange Bowl. His program also earned accolades in the classroom for one of the nation's highest graduation rates and posting the highest GPA in the BIG EAST. We look forward to watching the future of the football program unfold under the leadership of Coach Kelly for many years to come as we strive to stay atop the BIG EAST and bring a National Championship home to Cincinnati."
Entering his third season at the helm of the football program, Kelly led UC to a school-record 11 wins in 2008, along with the school's first BIG EAST Conference Championship, and an appearance in the 75th FedEx Orange Bowl, the first Bowl Championship Series appearance by Cincinnati.
Following the close of the regular season, Kelly was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year for the second-straight season. He also earned American Football Monthly Schutt Sports Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Coach of the year accolades, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 1 Coach of the Year honors, and was named the Sporting News' BIG EAST Coach of the Year.
"I want to thank Monica Rimai and the Board of Trustees for their confidence and support," Kelly said "This agreement between the University of Cincinnati and its Athletic Department, under the charge of Mike Thomas, allows me to continue to grow, develop and ensure success for Bearcats Football. I also want to thank the Bearcats Community, fans and all those associated with our program for their support over the past 30 months. This is what truly makes Bearcats Football special - the passion of our fan base. You can be assured that we will continue to recruit quality student-athletes, so we can achieve national excellence in the classroom and on the football field. This agreement allows me and my family to call Cincinnati our home, not just a place where we live."
The Bearcats' 21 wins since 2007-08 marks the best two-year stretch in school history, and the first time UC has won 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons.
UC established single-season attendance records in each of the past two years, and eight of the top-12 crowds in Nippert Stadium history have come during Kelly's tenure. The Bearcats enter the 2009 season on a six-game home winning streak.
Kelly's student-athletes have succeeded in the classroom as well. Cincinnati was one of seven programs nationally to receive recognition for its graduation success rate of over 90 percent, while 11 players were named Academic All-BIG EAST. The Bearcats also ranked fourth in Higher Ed Watch's 2008 Academic BCS rankings and won the BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award, signifying the highest collective GPA among the league's football squads.
UC returns 43 letterwinners and 11 starters, including quarterback Tony Pike, offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach, and safety Aaron Webster. Senior wide receiver/kick returner Mardy Gilyard, was an all-America selection and First-Team all-BIG EAST performer a year ago.
Kelly receives a guaranteed salary of $1.475 million over the next five years as well as performance-based incentives. Kelly's assistant coaches will also receive pay increases to keep them in line with their BIG EAST counterparts.