Ryan Ernst of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER reports on what UC quarterback Tony Pike said about the prospect of coach Brian Kelly accepting the Notre Dame coaching job before the Bearcats banquet on Thursday:
“He told us from the get-go that we’d be the first people to know whatever he decides,” senior quarterback Tony Pike said Thursday evening before the team banquet. “We’re going to keep him at his word. We’ve trusted him this far and we’re going to believe what he says.”
Turns out the UC players were the absolute last to know, relegated to learning the news via ESPN television reports while their former coach slinked around banquet’s host hotel hallways flanked by security guards.
Kelly did not meet with the team before Thursday’s banquet. Most hadn’t seen or heard from him since he met with Notre Dame officials earlier in the week. Seconds later Kelly emerged from the escalator into the hotel’s Gibson Foyer, flanked by two police officers, and walked quickly past Jones. He issued no comment about the Notre Dame job, saying only, “We’re here to celebrate our seniors.”
Funny, those UC seniors didn’t seem all that interested in being associated with Kelly anymore:
“We don’t really care what he has to say anymore,” tight end Ben Guidugli said after a post-banquet team meeting. “He can go talk to his Notre Dame team. We’re ready to move forward with whoever wants to move forward with us. He’s not on the boat anymore, so we’ve got to continue on.”
Several players left that post-banquet team meeting early, including star receiver Mardy Gilyard:
“I didn’t want to hear it. I’m fairly disgusted with the situation — him letting it last this long. … Everybody and their mamma knew what was going on. I feel like he did our team an injustice. Hopefully he’ll pack his things up and get to South Bend in a hurry.”
Defensive lineman Alex Daniels also blew off the team meeting: “We want to make sure (people) still come out and support us. Because we were the ones out there playing every play, every snap. He was just the one calling the plays.”
Honest to god, is it too much to ask for a coach to tell his players he’s leaving before ESPN blares it on monitors before the team’s postseason banquet? Has there ever been a more classless, thoughtless act?
The Irish got their man!