Notre Dame Football, Coach Brian Kelly, Declan Sullivan & Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Seeberg; The Shocking Truth About Failed Leadership!… Character Is A Personal Issue
In the past month Notre Dame’s head football coach, Brian Kelly, has been the subject of two gruesome events. Both of these tragedies ended in the death of a student.
In the case of Declan Sullivan, a student filming practice for the Fighting Irish, he was atop a scaffolding unit while the winds whipped around him with gusts reportedly of at least 50 mph. These same reports note that he was terrified as the unit was relentlessly swaying in the wind. Rather than use some simple common sense, Coach Kelly allowed the filming to continue. In the end the scaffolding tumbled over, killing the student during the course of performing his duties. That may not have been a firing offense but it was hardly an event that should have gone unnoticed. It truly demonstrates some culpability on the part of the coach. Now there is a scandal that erupted over the suicide of a young co-ed. Purportedly one of Kelly’s players is the suspect in a sexual assault. The victim, Elizabeth Seeberg, a St. Mary’s College student, committed suicide nine days after reporting the incident to Notre Dame police. She took her own life with an overdose of depression medication. The assault reportedly took place at the end of September. A crisis intervention may have averted this tragedy. Unfortunately, the coach has refused to name the player or even take appropriate action with respect to this matter. Kelly noted that the purported assault was a University issue, not an athletic department issue; Coach Kelly, character is a personal issue.
Any issues that serve to call into question the integrity of a university need to be handled immediately. Kelly has not only the right but the responsibility to handle the situation on his end immediately. Now that the victim is dead, Kelly can rest comfortably one more time. Brian Kelly is definitely a standard bearer for character at Notre Dame. His lack of hands on control with both the on-going behavior of both his program and players is definitely proof that he is not up to the job. Is it that difficult in today’s environment to find a coach with the ability to handle both the personnel & management issues of the football program? Obviously Kelly is a challenged administrator in his capacity as head football coach. His players are learning a valuable lesson; Coach Kelly will defend and even cover for them under almost any circumstance. As for his other hires, they should now understand that coach Kelly’s concerns definitely do not involve their safety.
Brian Kelly might be a fantastic football coach but he is also a terribly flawed leader. He moves away from one tragic mistake after another. How many bodies are going to have to litter the South Bend landscape before Kelly decides that he is definitely obligated to act as a man, in his capacity as Notre Dame’s head football coach? Unfortunately, too many low character people are able to fly below the radar. A pass is often given when coaches like Kelly do what they were hired to do; win! He forgot the small paragraph in the unwritten code of coaches that mentions character matters; both his and that of his players. He is safe for now because Notre Dame lost the values of Knute Rockne long ago. The Catholic institution has been challenged for many decades now. Where is an Ara Parseghian when you need him most? The University has been given a black eye on two counts. First the coach’s reluctance to act appropriately and / or in a timely manner in terms of both incidents. Secondly, the University Administration should have stepped up and done the right thing, directing the coach to be quiet and suspend the accused player.
To date the deafening silence is clearly permeating the atmosphere at this storied University. The President and Trustees should be ashamed. They have repeatedly, in the past few years, failed to respond quickly and / or appropriately. It seems that football at that University overtakes any level of good sense or common sense. A great football team is just not a winner on the field. One has to wonder why this player’s teammates even tolerate having him on the field as a dark cloud hangs over all of their heads. In the end, it says something more than the traditions surrounding this once great college power. These behaviors actually reek of deceit and dishonor. Good luck to this team of losers for not standing up when given the opportunity!