"We feel like we're getting the short end of the stick here, definitely, " Bearcat tight end Ben Guidulgi said. "To have come this far this whole season with all the work we've put in, with this coaching staff, and to have him kind of walk out on us at the end is kind of disappointing."
While the focus on Friday's press conference was on his new Fighting Irish team, Kelly tried to mend the wound left on the players he left behind.
"I am forever grateful for the players at the University of Cincinnati for what they gave me. They gave me this opportunity here at Notre Dame. Their work on the field gave me a great opportunity for my family. And for that I'm forever grateful."
Kelly won't have time to fret over hurt feelings. He's been given five years to return the program to its winning tradition after a 21-year title drought.
"When I refer to the challenge, it's strictly getting to that high bar that's been set at Notre Dame," said Kelly. "We've got challenges, but we'll go to work on those right away."
The 47-year-old coach met with his new players for 25 minutes Friday. Despite Monday being his first official day, Kelly didn't waste any time switching up his Twitter page that became a must follow for sports writers the last few weeks.
His page now sports the Notre Dame stadium and says "Thrilled to be the coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Committed to stirring People with PASSION and PURPOSE."