Newly-minted Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin listed Brian Kelly as one of his mentors during his introductory press conference in Oxford, Ohio, and waxed poetic about the coach he's worked for at Grand Valley State and Notre Dame.
"It's very rare that somebody has the success he's had but has the ability and the willingness to change at times — not who he is or what he believes in, but change how we do our business to fit the institution he's been at," Martin said. "He'll continue to win as long as he's coaching. And if he moves again, he'll continue to win because he'll figure it out, he's one of the smartest guys I've been around."
Perhaps Martin alluded to Kelly eventually moving on to the NFL, but for now, Martin pointed to Kelly's ability to win at D-II Grand Valley State, a MAC school in Central Michigan, a then-Big East school in Cincinnati and then at a big-time football school in Notre Dame.
"I would argue the most success of any head coach in America because he's done it at different institutions," Martin said. "There's been a few other coaches that have had his longevity, but they haven't done it at four schools, really at four different levels."
Martin offered his gratitude for Kelly hiring him at Grand Valley State, where Martin was Kelly's defensive coordinator from 2000-2003. Martin had just left a gig coaching Eastern Michigan's linebackers and was out of a job, but joining Kelly's staff "changed my life in coaching."
Martin has long-standing loyalties to Notre Dame, though he said he doesn't expect those to get in the way of recruiting players from territory occupied by Kelly's regime. That's because Martin doesn't expect to recruit the same players as Notre Dame — though if he did, he said he'd give that player his best sales pitch before asking him "what's the issue" with not choosing Notre Dame.
"The realistic deal is we probably won't recruit against Notre Dame often even though we're pretty like institutions," Martin said. "I've coached in the MAC before, we didn't run into Notre Dame on too many kids. And then obviously four years at Notre Dame we didn't run on too many kids that were looking at MAC coaches. So it's really apples to oranges based on the level and the size and some of the different things."
Martin received a five-year deal from Miami, which went 0-12 this season. It's his first head coaching gig since he held that title at Grand Valley State from 2004-2009.