Kelly spurns Eagles, will remain at Notre Dame

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Kelly spurns Eagles, will remain at Notre Dame

Brian Kelly isn't going anywhere.

Notre Dame announced Saturday afternoon Kelly, who reportedly flirted with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles for the last few days, will remain in South Bend. His decision comes after an agonizing few days for Notre Dame fans, after the first report of Kelly interviewing with the Eagles surfaced Wednesday.

Earlier Saturday, it was reported Philadelphia was prepared to put all its efforts behind landing Kelly. But with Notre Dame starting classes on Tuesday and reportedly holding a team meeting Monday, Kelly's decision had to come quick. While he considered the NFL, Kelly ultimately wasn't ready to leave for football's highest level.

Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL," Kelly said in a statement released by the school. "However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame."

Likely part of Kelly's decision to stay was a desire to not uproot his family again. In his introductory press conference at Notre Dame in December of 2009, he spoke of how difficult that process was:

"You come home as a parent and you're going to tell your kids that they're moving and they love the friends and they love the community, and as we started to tell them, tears began to well up in their eyes," Kelly explained. "And (his daughter) Gracie came up to me, grabbed me, hugged me and said, 'Dad, I'm so happy for you. I know this has been your dream. And I'm sad for me just for a little bit. Is that okay?' And I kissed her, and I said, 'You know what, that's what is so magical about this is that my kids know that this was a dream for me.'"

Whether Kelly's dream actually was to remain at Notre Dame was called into question over the last few days. But when Kelly made that dream job remark, perhaps coaching in the NFL wasn't even on the table.

A shot at the NFL came into focus this week for Kelly. He would've done himself a disservice had he not listened to the Eagles, regardless of his intentions.

The Eagles' interest in Kelly was real and significant, just as it was for Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Oregon's Chip Kelly. But at the same time, the Eagles' goal of landing a college coach was a shot in the dark.

"We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts," the Eagles released in a statement.

CSNPhilly: Eagles candidate Brian Kelly to stay at Notre Dame

While four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Notre Dame following the reports of Kelly's interview with Philadelphia, it's unlikely there will be any more negative impact on Notre Dame's 2013 recruiting class. Most members of the class voiced their commitment to Notre Dame regardless of its coach while Kelly's status was in limbo during the week.

Kelly also seemed to intimate in his statement his interest in the NFL wasn't a ploy to gain leverage in contract negotiations -- leverage which he probably didn't need. Chances are, Notre Dame will announce a contract extension for Kelly and his coaching staff in the coming days or weeks.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick also released a statement, detailing how he -- unlike legions of Notre Dame fans -- was never worried Kelly would leave his post as head coach at Notre Dame. And, too, it's worth noting Swarbrick was kept in the loop at all times regarding Kelly's contact with the Eagles -- so this wasn't a process done behind the athletic department's back.

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. 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 whats ahead for Notre Dame football.

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.