Brian Kelly, head coach of the undefeated and BCS National Championship Gamebound Notre Dame Fighting Irish, has been named the Walter Camp 2012 Coach of the Year.
The Walter Camp Coach of the Year is selected by the nation’s 124 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors. Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to receive the award.
Under Kelly’s direction, the top-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) earned their first Discover BCS Bowl Championship Game appearance and will meet No. 2 Alabama (12-1) on January 7 in Miami.
It is Notre Dame’s first unbeaten regular season since 1988. Notre Dame’s 2012 season has been highlighted by victories over ranked teams at the time the Fighting Irish played them: Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Oklahoma.
As a team, Notre Dame leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 10.3 points per game, while ranking sixth in total defense, allowing 286.83 yards per contest. The Fighting Irish rank fourth in rushing defense (92.4 yards allowed per game).
Several Notre Dame players earned 2012 All-America accolades from the Walter Camp Foundation. Senior linebacker Manti Te’o was a First Team honoree and was selected as the 2012 Walter Camp Player of the Year – the third defensive player to earn the award.
Three other Irish players – senior tight end Tyler Eifert, senior offensive lineman Zack Martin and sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt – were Second Team All-America honorees.
Kelly was hired as Notre Dame’s 29th coach on December 10, 2009. In three seasons, Kelly has a 28-10 (.733) and is headed for Notre Dame’s first national championship game appearance in 23 years.
Prior to his arrival in South Bend, Kelly was the head coach at three schools – Cincinnati (2007-09), Central Michigan (2004-06) and Grand Valley State (1991-2003).
At Cincinnati, Kelly led the Bearcats to an impressive 34-6 (.850) record and two straight Big East Conference titles and BCS bowl appearances. Kelly served three seasons at Central Michigan, registering a 19-16 overall record, including a 9-4 mark and a Mid-American Conference title in 2006.
His first head coaching job was at Grand Valley State, a Division II school in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. For 13 years, Kelly totaled a 118-35-2 (.767) record, highlighted by two NCAA Division III national championships (2002 and 2003).
In 22 seasons as a head coach, Kelly has an overall record of 199-67-2 (.746).
Born in Everett, Mass, Kelly is a 1983 graduate of the Assumption College and earned a B.A. in political science after earning four varsity letters (as a linebacker) and serving as a two-year captain. Kelly started his coaching career at his alma mater, serving four years as defensive coordinator and also coached the softball team.
Coach Kelly and Te’o, along with members of the 2012 Walter Camp All-America team, will be honored at the organization’s national awards banquet on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.
In addition, the Foundation will recognize three individuals – former Nebraska head coach and Athletic director Tom Osborne, former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards and NFL All-Pro Derrick Brooks – with major awards.