Dec. 2, 2008
(12:40 p.m.): Brian Kelly made a strong statement today regarding his future at UC. In essence, he says he's staying. This, after a meeting this morning with school president Nancy Zimpher, chairman of the board of trustees Jeff Wyler, athletic director Mike Thomas and Kelly to discuss the future infrastructure of the Bearcats program.
"I am here to tell you that I am committed to the University of Cincinnati," BK said at his weekly news conference. "I can tell you my name is always going to be out there and we're flattered about that. There's no question my family and I have made a decision that Cincinnati is going to be where we are."
I asked if he was saying he wasn't going to entertain any offers after the regular season.
"My intention as I stand in front of you right now, I want to coach this football team," BK said. "After today's meeting, I feel great about having that laid out in front of me. I'm going to be the football coach at the university. Right now and into the future."
Yeah, but what about the Notre Dame job to which you've been linked? What happens if that comes open?
"All I can say is with all the speculation and all the jobs that have been out there, sooner or later, no means no," BK said. "I don't want to ever speak in terms of forever and ever, what I can tell you is there's been a lot of interest in my services. I went to be here in the University of Cincinnati for the right reasons. My wife and kids love it here. I've got great people to work with. It's a really good situation. It's only going to get better. For the present and future, I expect to be here at the University of Cincinnati coaching football."
UPDATE (2:22 p.m.):
Mike Thomas was the first to address us this afternoon, and he talked about the expansion of Nippert Stadium (UC is studying the issue and coming up with a plan to get it done), new practice facilities (on track to be completed by next year, as per BK’s contract) and more money for the football program’s operational budget.
Let’s shoot it over to Mike Thomas for comment.
“This (practice field) is important for the day-to-day success of our program but also for the quality experience of our student-athletes,” Thomas said. “That’s a basic 101 type opportunity we should provide our coaches and student athletes. No. 2, there are some things operationally within (BK’s) budget that allow him to continue to be successful and competitive and to provide a quality experience for our student-athletes. Those things are going to happen. They will be in the plan for this fiscal year or next year, based on what’s really needed.
“The third piece is important, and it’s Nippert Stadium. Nippert Stadium has always been to some extent a facility that needs to be addressed. We were in the midst of a capital campaign, and Nippert Stadium was in the capital campaign. We really needed a trigger moment to launch that thing. Right now, we really have an infrastructure that can’t accommodate 35,000 people, let alone adding additional seats, premium seats, club seats, and dealing with infrastructure as it relates to restrooms and concession stands and merchandise stands. We needed certainly to have that as part of the agenda. I’m very comfortable as it relates to where that sits.”
Thomas doesn’t know how much the stadium will expand or how much it will cost. He said he wasn’t comfortable in disclosing a ballpark figure for either. But he went on to say he had architects studying Nippert during the Pitt game, because Thomas wanted them to see the stadium at its most stressed. From there, UC will receive cost estimates. What UC would like to do: add seats, build club seats and luxury boxes (that will help pay for the costs of the expansion and will continue to provide the school a source of income), and possibly expanding concourses and adding restrooms/merchandise stands/concession stands. From there, you start raising money to pay for it all.
Sounds like a visit or two to Paul Brown Stadium also still is in the cards, especially if construction at Nippert becomes an issue.
BK seemed happy about everything.
“Leaders need to be energized,” BK said. “As I’m out there as the face for this football program, I, too, need the gas to run. Today my tank was filled. It was filled because the message was reinforced today. It was given to me two years ago when I took the job here, the commitment to excellence and academics and athletics. That was not made any more clearly than in the meeting I had this morning with President Zimpher and allows me to continue to build this program on a day-to-day basis and into the future.”
Line of the day also goes to BK as he discussed other potential job openings:
“My name has come up with virtually every job that’s been out there. I’m hoping very soon Obama mentions my name for the ambassadorship to Ireland.”
Regarding a new contract for BK, he said he and Thomas had begun discussions. They are not ready to announce anything, although BK alluded to maybe saying something in Hawaii. But it sounds like BK will be in for another raise.
I don’t know, you think he’s earned it?