“I’m on 30 years now in college ball, and it’s like being a dad — you’re disappointed, but you know these things happen, and you want your players to be accountable,” said Kelly, 51, the winner of the Associated Press college football coach of the year award who is 81-33 since debuting on the sideline with Central Michigan in 2004.
“So there’s a big sense of pride in knowing that Everett handled himself in the right way, took full accountability and responsibility, is going to do everything in his power to get himself back here at Notre Dame. So, disappointed, certainly, that it occurred but not surprised. You can’t be surprised when you’re working with 18- to 21-year-olds. I’m not surprised when my 16-year-old knucklehead son comes home and does crazy things. But when there’s a family and we hope to support him, and in this instance with Everett, I’m very proud of the way he handled himself.”
Kelly, whose 28 victories in South Bend equal the most of any Fighting Irish boss in a three-year span, hopes the 20-year-old Golson will eventually return to Notre Dame.
“I would say that there are defining moments in everybody’s life,” said Kelly, a three-time Big East Coach of the Year.
“Mistakes are made, especially young kids make mistakes. And so I think Everett’s going to take this, and I think it’s really going to be truly his defining moment that he’s going to grow and live and learn from this mistake. I have a great deal of confidence that he will be a young man back here at Notre Dame. I’m hopeful of that — that’s up to him and what the university has in front of him. But I always look in the positives and I believe this will be an opportunity for Everett to really grow.”
Kelly, Rees and an overpowering defensive front seven will ensure Notre Dame continues to progress this autumn.
However, in 2014, it will be interesting to see if Everett Golson can “really grow” as a player and man and keep the precocious Malik Zaire off the gridiron.by