“Thursday — when Cincinnati holds its football banquet — promises to be a big day when it comes to the Notre Dame coaching search, but on Wednesday, the major name was Connecticut’s Randy Edsall. ESPN reported that there was ‘mutual interest’ between Edsall and Notre Dame, and the Chicago Tribune called Edsall the ‘backup plan’ in case Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly doesn’t work out.
The question, of course, is whether Notre Dame’s interest in Edsall is indeed sincere, or if this was leaked to indicate to Kelly that he’s not the only one up for the job and shift the power in negotiations back to Notre Dame. It’s a gamble, though. Notre Dame has set itself up to look mighty foolish if Kelly stares the Irish down on this, because it’s hard to believe that Edsall will actually wind up with the job. I mean, Notre Dame’s not going to make a coaching hire out of spite or to prove a point … will it? Either way, I get the sense that Edsall wouldn’t be a popular choice among Notre Dame fans, because today someone e-mailed to suggest that the first question asked of Jack Swarbrick at the press conference to announce Edsall’s hiring be ‘Seriously?’ The e-mailer then said the second question should be ‘No. Seriously?’ I think you get the point.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Kelly might be ‘seeking certain conditions from Notre Dame that will allow him to compete at the highest level.’ That could be anything from lowering academic requirements to better pay for assistant coaches to a dome on the stadium.
Closing the book today on Kelly, John Walters spoke to Grand Valley State coach Chuck Martin, who sounds willing to come with Kelly to Notre Dame as an offensive coordinator; and I talked to a couple of Kelly’s former players at Grand Valley who had some interesting things to say about him.
Also, former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville entered the conversation with an assist from the South Bend Tribune — is he the backup backup plan?
Notre Dame needs to come to a decision soon if it hopes to have a chance to keep a few of its better assistant coaches. Rob Ianello is already leaving to become the head coach at Akron — that’s a big blow to the Irish recruiting efforts — and Brian Polian could be in line to take over at Youngstown State. Tony Alford, meanwhile, could be headed to Florida.”