NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

November 14, 2012

Compassion part of Kelly's profile as Notre Dame coach

CHESTNUT HILL — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is a Heisman Trophy candidate and an NFL prospect who is playing for the No. 3 college football team in the country. So when he came here to play against Boston College over the weekend, you would’ve thought he was sitting on top of the world.

But Te’o hasn’t been living the dream in his senior year with the Fighting Irish, who boosted their record to 10-0 with a methodical 21-6 triumph over BC on Saturday night.

The football part of his life couldn’t be any better; it’s the other 20 hours a day that Te’o often struggles with. It’s been that way since the early September day when his grandmother and his girlfriend died of leukemia within six hours of each other.

There is no statute of limitations on grief. Te’o continues to lean on family and teammates for support. And Te’o revealed after the BC game that when he really hit rock bottom in the hours after the death of two loved ones, he received extraordinary compassion from his head coach, Brian Kelly, the St. John’s Prep alum who is in his third season at Notre Dame.

“When I had my personal tragedy, he was the first one there for me,” Te’o said of Kelly. “He was there by my side, making sure I had all the help that I needed.

“To me, that’s the measure of the character of a man,” Te’o added. “He was a family member to me when it all happened. Coach Kelly was there for me in every way. He’s an incredible coach and an incredible man to me.”

A 21-year-old senior, Te’o wasn’t one of Kelly’s recruits coming out of Punahou High School in Hawaii; former Patriots assistant Charlie Weis was the Notre Dame head coach at the time, and he was battling 28 other schools to sign Te’o, who appeared to be ticketed for Southern Cal. Te’o changed his mind when he was in South Bend, Ind., on a day when the Irish were upset by Syracuse and Weis and the players were pelted with snowballs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Tiger Woods: 1 on 1 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season
Special Features