Notre Dame AD not surprised by Kelly's departure to LSU
"I was not surprised," Swarbrick said Tuesday, according to The Action Network's Brett McMurphy. "There had been enough in weeks leading up, gave me the sense that there were other things attracting Brian."
Kelly was formally announced as LSU's new coach earlier in the day. He leaves the Fighting Irish as the program's all-time winningest head coach with 113 victories. He informed Swarbrick on Monday that he was resigning to take another position and didn't give Notre Dame the chance to match a contract offer, according to EPSN's Adam Rittenberg.
The athletic director sensed a "restlessness" with Kelly, hinting at some "Freudian slips" where he indicated he wanted to move on, according to Rittenberg. Swarbrick believes that Kelly ultimately wanted a new challenge, similar to new USC coach Lincoln Riley.
Swarbrick added that Notre Dame hasn't decided on an interim coach, and if one is hired, they wouldn't be considered for the permanent role, per Rittenberg. Swarbrick insisted Kelly won't coach the Fighting Irish in the postseason, whether it's a bowl or playoff game.
The athletic director will shoulder the task of conducting a coaching search. Swarbrick, who was part of the search to hire Kelly 12 years ago, believes the Irish are in a much better position to make a hire than they were then.
"Back then I was trying to fix a broken program," he said, per Rittenberg. "Circumstances could not be more different."
Notre Dame concluded the 2021 season with an 11-1 record.