Editor’s note: When the Brian Kelly era began two years ago, it got Ted Mandell ‘86, ND professor of Film, Television and Theatre, thinking. The more he thought about Notre Dame’s 29th head football coach, the more he thought he saw the second coming of Lou Holtz. Now, last week’s announcement that Kelly had been offered and had accepted a two-year extension of his contract through the 2016 season has triggered another Mandell epiphany.
I saw that BK got a two year extension, and I thought, Hmmm, after two seasons is he still the New Lou?
Well, let’s see . . . Brian Kelly has the exact same record after 26 games as Lou Holtz (16-10).
At the conclusion of Holtz’s second season (1987), the greatest receiver in ND history (Tim Brown) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.
At the conclusion of Kelly’s second season (2011), the greatest receiver in ND history (Michael Floyd) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.
Timothy Brown and Michael Floyd both have exactly 12 letters in their names.
Louis Holtz and Brian Kelly both have exactly 10 letters in their names.
After two years, Holtz replaced his defensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.
After two years, Kelly replaced his offensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.
Notre Dame finished the 1987 season 8-4.
Notre Dame finished the 2011 regular season 8-4.
In 1987, Notre Dame beat #17 Michigan State 31-8, highlighted by two kick returns for touchdowns by Tim Brown, future Oakland Raider.
In 2011, Notre Dame beat #15 Michigan State 31-13, highlighted by a kick return for a touchdown by George Atkinson III, son of a former Oakland Raider.
In 1987, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-13.
In 2011, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-14.
In 1986 and 1987, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 90 points.
In 2010 and 2011, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 88 points.
In 1987, Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer” spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts.
In 2011, Jon Bon Jovi spent two minutes on the field at Notre Dame Stadium as the ND Band played “Livin on a Prayer.”
The live recording of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” was first released in 1987.
The studio recording of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” was first played live inside Notre Dame Stadium in 2011.
And just in case you’re wondering for season three . . .
In 1988, Notre Dame defeated four teams ranked in the Coaches’ Poll Top 10.
In 2012, Notre Dame plays four teams ranked in ESPN.com’s preseason Top 11.
Meet the New Lou . . . same as the Old Lou.
Ted Mandell is a faculty member in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. Author of the multimedia book Heart Stoppers and Hail Marys: The Greatest College Football Finishes (Since 1970), he also filmed the documentary Inside The Legends, following Lou Holtz in his final game on the sidelines during the 2009 Notre Dame Japan Bowl.