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In 1st press conference as LSU coach, Brian Kelly says he took position to 'be with the best'

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Aubry Procell
/
WRKF

Former Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly received a formal introduction as LSU’s 34th head coach of the Tigers football program in a press conference Wednesday.

LSU President William F. Tate IV lauded Kelly as “the most accomplished coach” ever hired in LSU’s history.

Kelly began his remarks by saying that he was drawn to LSU by his “alignment” with the values held by Tate and LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward, specifically noting his appreciation for LSU’s focus on both “athletics and academics.”

Kelly had not planned to leave Notre Dame at the beginning of the 2021 football season, but LSU’s athletics staff got his attention with the opportunity to coach an SEC team and the resources available to LSU’s football program. The decision to move to LSU was also reportedly because it presented “another challenge” for Kelly and because the university’s “resources are incredible.”

He said he is not concerned about tarnishing his legacy at Notre Dame by leaving the program so suddenly, and he did not state any specific plans to bring his former assistant coaches to LSU or any plans to rearrange LSU’s existing coaching staff.

“I came down here because I wanted to be with the best,” Kelly said. “I wanted to be in the bright lights. I want to be on the Broadway stage.”

When asked whether he would bring players he recruited while at Notre Dame, Kelly said, “My focus will be on those who made the decision to come to LSU.”

He hopes fans will “come early and stay late” at tailgates and at games, adding that he’ll build up the university’s football culture by putting “a great product on the field.”

He emphasized that players will have to be “self-disciplined” and “have accountability” in order for the program to succeed.

LSU’s football team met with their new coach for the first time Tuesday afternoon, when he told his players that their development would be his top priority.

Kelly said that his next move will be to prepare the Tigers for their upcoming bowl game. He isn’t certain that he’ll be coaching that game.

Kelly departed from Notre Dame Tuesday morning after a meeting with his former team that lasted less than two minutes, according to The Athletic’s Pete Sampson. He did not take questions.

Kelly said he did the best he could saying goodbye to the Fighting Irish, considering the information about his move to LSU was leaked Monday night. He sent a message to players shortly after the news broke in which he expressed regret for not giving them the news himself.