Fortunately for fans of Notre Dame football, leaving South Bend in favor of the NFL ‘is not an option’ for Brian Kelly

It seems that whatever Irishman Brian Kelly touches turns into gold.

With the top-ranked University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish ready to compete against No. 2 Alabama for the BCS National Championship Game this evening at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Brian Kelly said Saturday he has zero intention of bolting South Bend for the NFL.

“Leaving is not an option,” said Kelly, the winner of the Associated Press college football coach of the year award who is 81-32 since debuting on the sideline with Central Michigan in 2004. “I don’t even think about it.”

The fiery Kelly, who mercifully replaced the pathetically obese Charlie Weis as Notre Dame’s leader in December 2009, also became the first two-time winner of the Home Depot Coach of the Year last month.

Despite staring at a preseason schedule that seemed overwhelmingly difficult, one of the primary reasons the Irish (12-0) flourished on the gridiron was due to the play of All-American linebacker Manti Te’o, standout nose guard Louis Nix, dominant defensive end Stephon Tuitt and the rest of one of the more formidable front sevens in recent memory.

Nevertheless, Kelly, who initially earned the Home Depot Coach of the Year in 2009 while running the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, deserves as much credit as anyone for halting the Irish’s descent into college football’s version of redheaded stepchildren.

Without a close peer, Kelly, whose 28 wins in South Bend equal the most of any Fighting Irish boss in such a timeline, is the preeminent college football coach today.

Understandably, with seven coaches being axed, Kelly, a three-time Big East Coach of the Year and the first Irish leader to grip the AP prize, is a wet dream for many NFL general managers.

Fortunately for fans of Notre Dame football, a program that is in position to capture its first crown since 1988, “leaving is not an option” for the extremely coveted Irishman and, therefore, winning will continue for the Gold and Navy Blue.

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