Brian Kelly, Tyler Eifert honored

In just his 3rd season as the Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has led the Irish back to the National Championship game.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly on Wednesday became the first two-time winner of the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award after leading the No. 1 Fighting Irish to a 12-0 record and a berth in the Discover BCS National Championship game against No. 2 Alabama.

Kelly previously won the award in 2009 when he was the coach at Cincinnati. He will receive the award Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards.

Under Kelly, Notre Dame is 12-0 for the first time since 1988 and just the second time in school history. His 28 wins at Notre Dame in his first three seasons are tied for the most of any Fighting Irish coach in his first three seasons with the school. He's also the first Notre Dame coach since Lou Holtz (1994-96) to record three consecutive winning seasons.

One of Kelly's top players also was honored with an award Wednesday. Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert has won the John Mackey Award that goes to college football's best tight end.

Coming into the season, Eifert was regarded as the best receiver for the Fighting Irish and drew extra attention from opposing defenses. Nonetheless, Eifert had 44 receptions for 624 yards and four touchdowns. His reception late in the game against Michigan iced a 13-6 Notre Dame victory.

A senior, Eifert is Notre Dame's all-time leading receiver among tight ends and has also been praised for his blocking.


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