Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly Wins 2018 Dodd Trophy
Kelly recognized for undefeated season, as well as his leadership in the classroom and throughout the community
ATLANTA (Dec. 28, 2018) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl today announced that Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly has been named the winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy.
Presented annually by the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, The Dodd Trophy, college football’s most coveted coaching award, honors the head football coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field throughout the season.
“It is an honor to present college football’s most prestigious coaching award to a coach who truly exemplifies the spirit of the award and embodies everything Coach Dodd stood for,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “Coach Kelly has had an incredible season leading the Irish to their first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff, while simultaneously striving for academic excellence from his players and making a difference in his community.”
“It’s an honor to be selected as the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year,” said Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly. “I accept this award on behalf of our team, university, staff and fans. Coach Dodd is a legend. He emphasized scholarship, leadership and integrity, and we do the same at Notre Dame.”
Coach Kelly led the 2018 Fighting Irish to the program’s 13th undefeated regular season in school history, becoming one of only five FBS coaches to guide their respective schools to multiple undefeated regular seasons since 2009. Under his leadership, the Irish have now posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 1992-93. His Notre Dame team currently leads the nation in victories over FBS opponents (12), ranks second in AP top-25 wins at the time of the game (four), sits at second in final CFP poll top-25 wins (three) and ranks tied for third in overall Power-5 wins (10).
Now in his ninth season as the head coach of Notre Dame, Kelly is currently tied as the winningest active coach in the FBS with 231 career wins, and also owns the ninth-best career winning percentage (.718) among active NCAA FBS coaches. Coach Kelly is the second-youngest and fifth-fastest coach to ever reach 200 career victories with at least five years of service or 50 victories at a school that was classified as a major college at the time. Kelly is also the only coach in school history to lead the Irish to at least eight victories over each of his first six seasons — a feat only 20 coaches have ever done at contract bowl eligible schools.
Coach Kelly’s involvement extends beyond the football field and into the classroom with an emphasis on the value of a well-rounded student-athlete. Kelly has helped lead his program academically with an Academic Progress Rating (APR) score of 966 last season, and has had several players earn Academic All-American honors during his time in South Bend. This season, 2018 Wuerffel Trophy winner Drue Tranquill and kicker Justin Yoon both earned spots on the 2018 Google Cloud Academic All-America list. Last year, Notre Dame finished tied for third among all FBS programs in the NCAA Graduation Success Rate standings.
Brian Kelly’s very own “The Kelly Cares Foundation” is in its 10th year and has established itself as a “Playbook for Hope.” The foundation invests resources to improve health and education throughout the community to strengthen and inspire hope. The Kelly Cares Foundation has donated more than $4.6 million to local, national and global causes; including cancer research, disaster relief, Boys & Girls Club and many more. The Kelly Cares Foundation’s primary initiative is raising funds for cancer research and helping end the fight against cancer. In 2014, South Bend’s Saint Joseph Health System announced the creation of the new Paqui and Brian Kelly Comprehensive Breast Center. This center was created by Kelly and his wife, Paqui, to provide women in the community access to treatment for a variety of benign breast diseases and the screenings to help prevent these diseases from occurring.
“Coach Kelly is an excellent choice to win the Dodd Trophy from what was a very competitive and deserving list of finalists,” said Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan. “He epitomizes the ideals of Coach Dodd and what the Dodd Trophy stands for – scholarship, leadership and integrity. We are honored to recognize Coach Kelly for his accomplishments on the field, as well as his leadership in the classroom and his community involvement.”
Seven of the nation’s top head coaches (Dino Babers, Pat Fitzgerald, Brian Kelly, Lincoln Riley, Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney) were named finalists for this year’s award by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member. Coach Kelly was selected as this year’s recipient by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. Of note, winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to win the award.