Why the Chargers should hire Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly

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(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

He would bring a winning culture to the Chargers

First and foremost is the fact that Kelly would bring a much needed winning culture to Los Angeles. This is something that has plagued the Chargers for years. The last two coaches have approached the job with the mentality of coaching and playing not to lose.

It’s a mentality that creates complacency, and it’s a big reason why the Chargers have only been to the playoffs two times since 2009.

That is not, and would not be acceptable with Kelly. Now yes, he has yet to win a National Championship at Notre Dame. Maybe he wins one this year, who knows. That’s not really the point though.

Being a winner at the college level is so much more complex than just winning championships. It’s a sport that is historically dominated by two or three teams in any given era. Right now it just so happens to be Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State.

Notre Dame enters every season with the expectation of competing for championships. Even though it’s been over 40 years since their last one in 1988. Lou Holtz won a lot of games there, but everyone treats him like he was winning at the level of a Bear Bryant, Nick Saban or even Dabo Swinney level.

The reality of their situation is that it’s a really tough place to win football games, and Kelly has brought a lot of stability to South Bend.

National Championships are the benchmarks for elite programs, but for most programs, it should really be about ten-win seasons. Fans of the aforementioned big three can complain about ten seasons.

But if you are a fan of a team outside of the big three like I am, and your football team wins 10 games or more, that is a special season. Twenty-two years and four other coaches spanned between Kelly’s arrival (2010) at Notre Dame and their last National Championship (1988). In those twenty-two years, Notre Dame won ten games or more six times.

That’s respectable, but they wanted more. Kelly is currently coaching his eleventh season in South Bend and is headed for his sixth 10+ win season. He essentially doubled their success rate and because of that, he’s been worth every penny, regardless of the lack of a National Championship.

Kelly’s calling card over the years has been his ability to turn programs around quickly, and that’s what the Chargers need right now after two back to back losing seasons. In the ten years prior to Kelly being hired, Central Michigan had just one winning season.

And to make it worse, they had only reached the four-win mark in seven of those ten seasons. After going 4-7 in his first year, they improved to 6-5 (their first winning season in a decade) in his second year and then jumped all the way up to nine wins in his third season.

The Cincinnati Bearcats were a decent program in the Conference USA that was usually good for six or seven wins, before moving into the Big East in 2005. They struggled in their first two years but showed promise.

They hired Kelley after the 2006 season was over. He took a traditional six or seven-win team and won 33 games over the next three years. He elevated that program to new heights it had never seen before and now they are one of the best programs in the American Conference. Now he’s turned Notre Dame into a consistent playoff-contending team.

The man simply knows how to win football games. He’s been coaching football at the division one level for 18 years and is about to reach that ten win benchmark for the ninth time. Over the 18 years, he has accumulated a 154-59 record (.723%). That is truly remarkable given where he has been coaching at.