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Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly answers a reporters question 12/17/2012 during the media availability day at the university. Photographers and reporters met with coaches and players from 11:30 am to1:30 pm to talk with reporters about the up coming BCS national championship game. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Kelly (AP)
Kelly to remain Irish coach
Posted on Jan. 12, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 12, 2013 at 6:57 p.m.

Notre Dame can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Brian Kelly isn’t going anywhere.

After going off the radar since news broke Tuesday that Kelly was interviewing with the Philadelphia Eagles, Notre Dame released statements from Kelly and athletic director Jack Swarbrick that ensured Kelly was staying on board with the Irish.

“This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach,” Kelly said in a statement released by the university. “Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL.

“However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame. This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country. We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead.”

Kelly led the Irish to a 12-1 record in 2012 in his third season as Irish head coach. Notre Dame finished the regular season ranked number one in the BCS standings, with the top-rated scoring defense in the country. Kelly now stands 28-11 in his three seasons in South Bend.

Even though the Eagles said Kelly had become their top target to replace former coach Andy Reid, Swarbrick said he never doubted Kelly’s commitment to Notre Dame.

“I was always confident that Brian would continue to lead our football program, I am very happy to have that confirmed and share Brian’s excitement about what lies ahead for our program,” Swarbrick said in a statement. “I appreciate the Eagles reaching out to request permission to speak with Brian, and I also appreciate Brian keeping me fully informed throughout this process. We all look forward to what’s ahead for Notre Dame football.”