"Things are heating up" with regard to the likelihood that Brian Kelly will become the next Notre Dame head coach, a source close to the Cincinnati coach said Tuesday.
Kelly has had direct communication with representatives for Notre Dame but a decision was made not to have a formal interview with athletic director Jack Swarbrick while they were both in New York City on Tuesday, the source said. Further discussions between Kelly and Notre Dame are expected, said the source, who indicated that no contract had yet been offered but that the entire process could be completed within days.
An official announcement that Kelly will replace Charlie Weis could come Friday, after Kelly has had a chance to talk with his players at Cincinnati's annual football banquet Thursday night, according to a report on the Chicago Tribune Web site.
If Kelly is hired, he is unlikely to coach the Bearcats in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Florida on Jan. 1, the Web site reported. Associate head coach and defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs would likely be Kelly's replacement for the bowl.
Last week Kelly and Notre Dame officials had an informational meeting, which was facilitated by Parker Executive Search, the Atlanta firm that Notre Dame used to gauge potential candidates' interest, according to the Web site. The Tribune also reported that Irish representatives discussed the opening with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, but Ferentz told ESPN's Joe Schad that he never spoke with a search firm representing Notre Dame.
However, Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who like Kelly is in New York City, was never a serious candidate, according to the Tribune. Harbaugh reiterated Tuesday that "there is no meeting" with Notre Dame scheduled.
Lou Holtz, who is a college football analyst for ESPN, believes Kelly will be named the coach by Friday.
"I believe that's what is going to happen," said Holtz, who coached the Irish from 1986 to '96 and won their last national championship in 1988. "I believe something will be done by the end of the week, at least that's what all the indications are."
Holtz was a guest on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
"[Kelly] really wants the job," Holtz said. "I think that's his lifetime job. He would love to be there.
"He has an Irish name, plus he has all the ingredients the athletic director is looking for. Here's a guy who's been prepared every place he's been. He's done a tremendous job at Cincinnati."
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.