Central Michigan's Kelly accepts Cincinnati job

Updated: December 8, 2006, 4:55 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CINCINNATI -- Brian Kelly accepted the coaching job at Cincinnati on Sunday, three days after he led Central Michigan to the Mid-American Conference championship.

He has a five-year contract with the school that includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a base salary of $250,000 but will earn him over $800,000 per year. The other income is from other bonuses, including radio and television appearances.

Kelly replaces Mark Dantonio, who left to coach at Michigan State after three seasons in Cincinnati. Earlier Sunday, the Bearcats agreed to play in the inaugural International Bowl on Jan. 6 in Toronto against Western Michigan.

Pat Narduzzi, who was the defensive coordinator under Dantonio, has been getting the Bearcats ready for their fifth bowl appearances in the last seven seasons. Cincinnati is 7-5 and 4-3 in the Big East, coming off a regular season that included an upset of then-unbeaten Rutgers.

Kelly's Central Michigan team beat Ohio 31-10 in the MAC title game Thursday night for the school's first championship since 1994. The Chippewas went 9-4 and will play Middle Tennessee State in the Motor City Bowl on Dec. 26, their first bowl appearance since 1994.

It wasn't clear Sunday whether Kelly would coach Central Michigan in the Motor City Bowl. Earlier, Cincinnati said Narduzzi would coach the Bearcats in their bowl game.

During his three seasons at Central Michigan, Kelly has turned the Chippewas into one of the MAC's top offensive teams. Central Michigan ranks 19th in passing in Division 1-A and 27th in scoring.

"From the time that I had a chance to meet him, I was taken by his personality and his drive for success," athletic director Mike Thomas said. "From coaching two national championship teams at Grand Valley State to winning the MAC championship in only his third year at Central Michigan, Brian has been a winner everywhere he has coached."

Kelly won Division II national titles at Grant Valley State in 2002-03. He coached 13 seasons at Grand Valley before moving to Central Michigan.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.