Cincinnati's Kelly heading to Notre Dame -

Cincinnati's Kelly heading to Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Brian Kelly will be Notre Dame's next football coach, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

The two people confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that a deal has been reached with the Cincinnati coach. They requested anonymity because an official announcement had not been made.

The South Bend Tribune first reported the hiring.

The 47-year-old Kelly is 34-6 in three seasons at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to back-to-back Big East titles and two straight Bowl Championship Series berths. The Bearcats set a school record last season for victories with an 11-3 record, then topped that with a 12-0 mark this season.

Notre Dame has been searching for a coach for about a week and a half since firing Charlie Weis after five seasons.

Kelly was at a Cincinnati team banquet, where he was expected to inform his players of the decision.

When Kelly arrived in Cincinnati three years ago, then-university president Nancy Zimpher told Kelly she expected him to turn the football program into a Top 25 mainstay, win a Big East title right away and make sure his players graduate. He'll face even higher expectations at Notre Dame, where school officials expect the Fighting Irish to be competing for BCS berths regularly and to occasionally win it all.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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