Brian Kelly, Tyler Eifert honored

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 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.

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 such a time frame. 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, Tyler Eifert, was named winner of the John Mackey Award, which goes to college football's best tight end.

Going 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 on Sept. 22 iced a 13-6 victory.

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

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.