Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly Named 7th Best Coach By Sporting News
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has put the 2016 season completely in the rear view, and it appears that national publications are recognizing that as well.
Heading into the 2018 season, Kelly was named by Sporting News as the nation's 20th best head coach despite having a pair of 12-1 seasons in the previous decade and having led the Irish to a pair of 10-3 seasons in the previous four years.
After his third 12-1 season in the last decade and third Home Depot Coach of the Year honor, Kelly has jumped up to No. 7 in the latest break down by the publication.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, who won a title in 2013 at Florida State, was No. 3 on the list. Fourth-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart was No. 4, Oklahoma third-year coach Lincoln Riley was No. 5 and Washington head coach Chris Petersen was No. 6.
A strong case could be made that Fisher and Petersen are ranked more for what they did at their previous schools than their current school.
Author Bill Bender wrote this:
"What a difference two years makes. The Irish are 22-4 the last two seasons, and Kelly pushed the Irish into the Playoff for the first time last season. There are still lessons to learn on the big stage, but Kelly has reinvented Notre Dame into a program with fewer questions than they had when he was on the hot seat in 2016. He's earned top-10 billing."
Here is where Notre Dame's 2019 opposing coaches are ranked:
No. 4 - Kirby Smart, Georgia
No. 10 - Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
No. 11 - David Shaw, Stanford
No. 27 - David Cutcliffe, Duke
No. 31 - Clay Helton, USC
No. 38 - Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech
No. 47 - Bronco Mendenhall, Virginia
No. 49 - Scott Satterfield, Louisville
No. 61 - Steve Addazio, Boston College
No. 73 - Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
No. 106 - Bob Davie, New Mexico
No. 125 - Scot Loeffler, Bowling Green