With the Irish’s 27-13 victory against Purdue on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium, Kelly tied Rockne for Notre Dame’s all-time wins record at 105. Kelly’s win total includes 21 victories Notre Dame still counts, despite the fact those wins were officially vacated by NCAA penalty.
Rockne led Notre Dame to its first three national titles in 1924, ’29 and ’30. He set the standard for the Irish program as a national power, which has won eight more titles since his death in a plane crash March 31, 1931.
Rockne went 105-12-5 in his 13 seasons at Notre Dame. Kelly is 105-39 (.729) with the Irish since he left Cincinnati in 2010. He has guided the Irish to a 5-4 bowl record. Three of the losses were in the 2012 BCS national Championship Game and College Football Playoff semifinal games in 2018 and ’20.
Kelly has yet to win a national championship at Notre Dame like Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz have. Those five national championship-winning Irish coaches each have a statue around Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame is off to a 3-0 start to the 2021 season with nine regular-season games remaining on the schedule. It’s not if Kelly will take the record from Rockne this year, but a matter of when.