Brian Kelly has taken an unusual path to leading Notre Dame to its first No. 1 ranking in 19 years.
He went from playing football at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., when it was a club sport, to coaching there, to being a graduate assistant at Grand Valley State. Now he may be on the verge of proving himself a worthy successor to Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz.
Those who know Kelly say his leadership abilities and inquisitive nature have led him to the success. Kelly says working his way up through the ranks from Grand Valley State to Central Michigan to Cincinnati has helped him prepare for this moment, when the Irish are a victory away from the BCS title game.