Brian Kelley will be formally announced as the next University of Cincinnati head football coach at a 4 o'clock press conference Monday afternoon. Kelly took over the moribund Central Michigan program in 2004 and won the Mid American Conference championship game last week in a decisive 31-10 win over the East Division champion, Ohio University. The once proud Chippewa football program had won three or fewer games in three of the last four years prior to Kelly's taking over the Mt. Pleasant program. Kelly's CMU teams went 4-7, 6-5 and 9-4 over his three year stay. Last year's 6-5 record was the first winning season in Mt. Pleasant since 1998. The Chippewas will play in the Motor City Bowl against Middle Tennessee State on December 26th, but Kelly is not expected to coach in the game.
The CMU offense led by a redshirt freshman quarterback ranked #31 in total offense and averaged 380 yards per game. This put the Chippewas just ahead of Arkansas, Michigan and Tennessee in total offense. Central Michigan runs a three wideout offense that ranked #19 in the country in passing offense. The Bearcat offense this season currently is ranked #61 in total offense.
On defense, the Chips were ranked a below average #69 in total defense giving up 40 yards more a game than the Bearcats, but they were an opportunistic bunch with a very good nationally ranking of #38 in turnover margin. The Bearcat defense ranked #85 in turnover defense.
This season the Chippewas four loses came at the hands of Boston College, Michigan, Kentucky and Northern Illinois. All four will play in 2006 bowl games. CMU beat Western Michigan 31-7 on November 10th. The Broncos will be Cincinnati's opponent in the International Bowl so if Kelly does coach in this game, he apparently already has a pretty solid game plan.
In the MAC championship game last Thursday, Central Michigan overwhelmed a 9 win Bobcat team holding the #41 ranked rushing team in the country to only 87 yards on the ground and 224 total yards. The potent Chip offense toyed with Ohio #32 ranked defense by gaining 457 total yards.
Kelly came to Central Michigan after having a very successful career at NCAA Division II Grand Valley State University in Allandale, Michigan near Grand Rapids. Kelly's Lakers' teams played in three straight national championship games and won the final two before his taking the job at CMU. Kelly began his coaching career at Grand Valley State as a graduate assistant in 1987. He was defensive coordinator in 1989 and became the Lakers' head coach in 1991. His 13 year career record at Grand Valley State is 118-35-2.
The newest Bearcat head football coach is already 1-0 against Miami of Ohio. Central Michigan beat Miami in Oxford in 2005 by a 38-37 score.
Bearcat Insider has also been told that there will be a considerable buyout clause in Kelly's contract.