Assumption University announced Monday that its multi-sport stadium has been named after alumnus Brian Kelly, who currently serves as the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team.
The stadium will now be known as the “Brian Kelly ‘83 Stadium” in recognition of Kelly’s contributions to build the school’s football program and his overall support of the university, which recently includes a challenge grant extended to alumni and friends of the institution.
Funds raised through that challenge grant will be used to enhance the university’s baseball and softball fields, most notably replacing the current grass fields with turf, a news release states.
While at Assumption, Kelly was a four-year letter winner as a linebacker on the school’s football team and set a record for most tackles (314 with 214 assists.) He graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science. After graduating, Kelly stayed at Assumption and served as a linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the football team, as well as head coach of the softball team from 1983 to 1986.
“My years at Assumption are some of the most memorable of my life,” said Kelly. “I was taught and mentored to become the man I am today, of which I am most grateful. I received a great education both in the classroom and on the playing field, but what I cherish most about my time at Assumption are the relationships I built along the way. I am humbled to receive this recognition. I always have been, and always will be, proud to be a Greyhound.”
Serving as a commencement speaker for the university in 2012, Kelly announced the establishment of a $250,000 endowed scholarship for student-athletes in the football program. This scholarship is matched by the university for female student-athletes, the release says.
Kelly also made a generous donation to the university’s “Light the Way” campaign, which was recognized with the naming of the Brian and Paqui Kelly Atrium in the Tsotsis Family Academy Center.
“The University community, and in particular our students who participate in club, intramural and varsity sports, are grateful to Brian and Paqui Kelly for the example they have demonstrated through their generosity and support of Assumption University,” said Assumption President Francesco C. Cesareo. “The Kellys’ donation and challenge grant will enable the University to make significant, and much-needed enhancements to the baseball and softball fields while establishing for the Kelly family a lasting legacy through the naming of the Brian Kelly ’83 Stadium. This gift is but one of many that Brian and Paqui have made to invest in the future of the university as it continues to provide students with opportunities to discover their vocation and explore timeless questions. The university community is grateful for this continued support.”
In 2006, Kelly was inducted into the Assumption Athletics Hall of Fame in honor of his contributions to the university’s football and softball programs.
“When I arrived at Assumption in 1979, the football program was relatively new,” said Kelly, adding that under Coach Paul Cantiani, the team was able to build its own identity and found early success, even making it to the playoffs, an aspect of his time as a player and captain of which he said he is very proud. “Playing at Assumption taught me that success and pride don’t come easily. They take time, effort, and sweat. … At Assumption our commitment and dedication extended beyond the normal tasks – there was a time that we actually painted lines on the field before each game. We dictated how our program would be remembered, what type of players we became and attracted, and the success of the program for years to come.”
Following his coaching career at Assumption, Kelly has made stops at Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University and University of Cincinnati before joining the University of Notre Dame in 2009. He is one of three coaches ever to be twice named the Associated Press college football Coach of the Year. In 2018, Kelly was named The Home Depot Coach of the Year and is the only coach to earn the recognition three times. He was also awarded the Dodd Trophy, which is awarded by the Associated Press and honors “scholarship, leadership, integrity and success on the field.”