Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football’s Brian Kelly Is Among the Most Tenured Head Coaches In College Football
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Brian Kelly Among Most Tenured College Football Coaches

As the fall approaches, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly prepares for his 11th season at the helm of one of the most popular college football programs.

This is no small feat, because it ties him with Fighting Irish legend Ara Parseghian for second all time at the school for the longest tenure. They trail only Knute Rockne, who coached Notre Dame for 13 seasons before his career abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash in 1931.

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Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly
Kelly’s 11 years at Notre Dame ranks eighth in the country among Power Five programs. (Bill Panzica)

This also makes Kelly one of the most tenured coaches in the county, with only seven Power Five leaders holding their current job longer. Two of those programs in Utah and TCU have only been members of Power Five conferences since 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Table Name
Head Coach School Number of Seasons

Kirk Ferentz

Iowa

22

Gary Patterson

TCU*

21

Mike Gundy

Oklahoma State

16

Kyle Whittingham

Utah*

16

Nick Saban

Alabama

14

Dabo Swinney

Clemson

13

David Cutcliffe

Duke

13

Brian Kelly

Notre Dame

11

David Shaw

Stanford

10

Gus Malzahn

Auburn

8

Dave Doeren

North Carolina State

8

Mark Stoops

Kentucky

8

*Programs That Became Part of a Power Five Conference after Brian Kelly Became Head Coach At Notre Dame.

The longest-tenured head coach is Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, followed closely by TCU’s Gary Patterson. They are the only current head college football coaches to be at their current school for longer than 20 years.

Two coaches Notre Dame will face this season have coached at their respective schools longer than Kelly: Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. Both have been at their respective schools for 13 seasons. Though not a Power Five head coach, Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo is entering his 14th season at the helm of the Midshipmen.

Not far behind Kelly is annual rival in Stanford head coach David Shaw, who is entering his 10th season with the Cardinal.

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman represents the only coach in his first year at his respective school.

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