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Notre Dame's Brian Kelly wins Eddie Robinson Award for coaching

Early in his career at South Bend, Brian Kelly is already in rare company.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly may only be in his third year coaching the fighting Irish, but he's already in rarefied air after winning the Eddie Robinson Award as the nation's top coach Thursday.

Given by the Football Writer's Association of America, the Robinson Award has been given to three former Notre Dame head coaches. Kelly now joins Ara Parseghian (1964), Lou Holtz (1988) and Charle Weis (2005) as the only head coaches in South Bend to take home the coveted award.

Brian Kelly led Notre Dame to a perfect 12-0 record this season, bringing the Irish to their first appearance in a BCS Championship. The last time Notre Dame won the National Championship was in 1988, under the aforementioned Holtz.

The Robinson Award is the first for Brian Kelly, but his players have already been recognized in awards ceremonies. Middle linebacker Manti Te'o led the charge, with seven awards of his own.