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Notre Dame owes much of its success to coach Brian Kelly

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AP Coach of the Year Brian Kelly built closer relationships and a trust with his players in his third season at Notre Dame and it paid off with a 12-0 season.

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Brian Kelly has come a long way in his three years as head coach at Notre Dame and now the Fighting Irish owe a lot of their success to their coach. Kelly was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year on Wednesday for leading the Irish to a 12-0 record and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.

After two frustrating years at Notre Dame, Kelly was able to improve his relationship with his players and establish a trust this season. Kelly said the first two years he had to be harder on players as he established the way he wanted things done, but in his third season things have improved. With the standards already set coming in, Kelly said, "it allowed me to spend more time with my players and build those relationships that are so important to having great morale."

Manti Te'o said it was a tough start with Kelly, but now "I'm happy to have him as my coach. He's the best coach in college football." Few coaches can come in an implement a new system in their first season, but now that Kelly has made those changes the Irish have responded and are playing for a championship.