While this may be the number one story for many, on Bearcat Insiders list it finds itself as the second biggest story of 2007.
When it comes to selling I've seen some of the best. It doesn't matter what you do in life, at one time you've sold something to somebody. For Brian Kelly the job was easy. Sell a fan base that just lost their head coach who guided the team to one of the biggest wins in school history and change the perception that Cincinnati was a basketball school. Not only did Kelly sell the UC Faithful, he stirred the pot enough to get local media to take Bearcat Football as a legitimate BCS program capable of winning against the top teams in the conference while also taking care of business against those from outside of the Big East.
While Kelly and his staff went to work showing fans how much had changed during Bearcat Bowl I, it wasn't until midway through the 2007 season that Bearcat Football and the job Kelly was doing hit its height.
A ten win season and an eleven win year made Kelly one of the top coaches in college football while making Cincinnati fans a believer for the first time in many seasons. Not only did the Bearcats get off to a hot start, Kelly used his power to hit the streets making sure anyone who would listen took notice. It paid off as the Bearcats enjoyed three sellouts for the season and a strong number of Bearcat fans willing to travel to the PapaJohns.com Bowl despite feeling their team had been left out of where it should have gone.
But it wasn't just what happened on the field that had Bearcat fans talking about Brian Kelly. Off the field fans worried they may lose the coach after such a great year and some big named programs went looking for new head coaches. Kelly, along with Cincinnati Athletic Director Mike Thomas went to work wasting little time on the stuff that didn't matter. When all was said and done Kelly agreed to a new contract giving him all the stuff he felt was need.