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Sunday, January 6, 2013
AD looks to keep Brian Kelly happy

By Matt Fortuna

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jack Swarbrick will talk with Brian Kelly shortly after the season to ensure that the athletic director keeps the coach happy at Notre Dame for a fourth year and beyond.

With the Irish set to face Alabama in Monday's Discover BCS National Championship and the potential allure of bigger and better things on the way for Kelly, more could be coming in his direction from his school.

"Every year when we're done we talk about whatever the program needs to position itself, and it's been reflected in staff hires and equipment and all kinds of things that you do to make sure the program's got the resources it needs to go forward, so we go through a laundry list of those," Swarbrick said Sunday.

"Everything that goes into the program is on the table when we have those discussions," he added.

Kelly's contract was extended through the 2016 season following consecutive 8-5 campaigns. During his final pregame news conference Sunday, the coach said the expectation in years forward will be to get back to where the program is following this 12-0 campaign.

"Playing in this game is an incredible springboard into the next season, because as I just mentioned, you set a goal, you set a bar," Kelly said. "They've already been here. You come back the next year, it's unacceptable for a standard to be any less than being back here again. So it's an incredible springboard.

"When I was playing for championships at the Division II level, it just changes everything when you walk into that building on a day-to-day basis. Everybody is playing for championships. So this will be a great springboard in making sure that we get back to this game."

Swarbrick was later asked how good it feels to have a coach NFL teams may actually want, a new problem following the Charlie Weis era.

"It feels great to have a great coach who's doing a phenomenal job for us," Swarbrick said. "I think what you heard in there about process and setting the bar is an important part of where we are. What I feel best about is the foundation is built. There will be great years and not so great years; that's the nature of elite-level athletics. But I feel that the foundation is in place to give ourselves an opportunity every year, and that's great."

Notes: Swarbrick told ESPN.com that he does not expect any changes to the playing surface, which will undergo its once-every-five-year replacement this spring. … He said there is still no resolution or extra clarity in the Irish's negotiations with the Big East about their exit. … The AD relayed his account of the anonymous donor who was able to cut title game student ticket prices in half: "Just somebody who came forward on his own initiative and said, 'I want to make sure our student allotment is able to be used by students.' The lottery is a process that isn't skewed by their ability to pay. And so he came forward and said what would it take to cut the tickets in half, and we told him and that person put forward the money. It was incredibly generous."