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Brian Kelly Passes Knute Rockne for Notre Dame’s All-Time Wins Record

Kelly can continue to build the Irish coaching wins record through the 2024 season, when his contract expires in South Bend.
Brian Kelly Notre Dame

Photo: CFBONFOX/Twitter

Brian Kelly may not have a national championship, but he has the most wins of any head coach at Notre Dame.

With the Irish's 41-13win against Wisconsin on Saturday at Soldier Field, Kelly passed Knute Rockne for Notre Dame's all-time wins record at 106. 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 on March 31, 1931.

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Rockne went 105-12-5 in his 13 seasons at Notre Dame. Kelly is 106-39 (.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 4-0 start to the 2021 season with eight regular-season games remaining on the schedule. The Irish don't appear like a team that'll go undefeated for a second straight season and make the College Football Playoff. Kelly, however, has plenty of time to build on his win record at Notre Dame, which gave him a contract extension in 2020 that runs until after the 2024 season.