As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers search for a new head coach, they seem ready to try to coax Brian Kelly out of the college ranks.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has surfaced as a potential candidate for NFL jobs at times over the years, and he interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles before they hired Chip Kelly back in 2013. There is no indication he’s anything resembling a hot candidate right now, even with the Fighting Irish coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff.
But according to David Haugh of the 670 The Score in Chicago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have interest in Kelly.
While owner Joel Glazer has said general manager Jason Licht will lead the coaching search, the Buccaneers have enlisted a search firm to help identify candidates to replace Dirk Koetter. The search firm’s involvement seems to have yielded Kelly’s name, which points to the fallacy of using search firms.
Haugh added the Buccaneers are willing to pony up as much as $10 million per season for a new head coach. That would be hard for Kelly to turn down, even with other sources of income to supplement his current $2.1 million base salary at Notre Dame. If Tampa Bay dangles a title like head of football operations, with power over the entire organization, that would be enticing too.
The Buccaneers went into the college ranks for a new head coach when they hired Greg Schiano. nearly seven years ago. That did not go well, with an 11-21 record over two seasons as Schiano tried to take his act as a taskmaster college coach seamlessly to the NFL.
College coaches have generally not transitioned well to the NFL, where they have to deal with adults who are getting paid to play. But Kelly comes off as a different personality than guys like Schiano or Nick Saban, so maybe he’d have success if he made the jump.
Of course that’s assuming Kelly even wants to go to the NFL, which is unclear at best right now. To consider the Tampa Bay job he’d also have to be comfortable with Jameis Winston as the quarterback, with an early (but ultimately meaningless) indication they’ll let him play out his fifth-year option next season.
All things considered, the Buccaneers seem likely to quickly move past Kelly in their coaching search. That would be the best outcome for both sides.