SOUTH BEND — It’s official — Notre Dame has a new head football coach. It appears that a long national search for the head coach didn’t last as long as some might have thought.
Notre Dame has elevated current defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to the head coaching position at the school, becoming the 30th in program history, doing so officially on Friday morning. This will be his first head coaching job at any level and he’ll take on the role immediately.
Athletic director Jack Swarbrick didn’t have to look far at all to find Brian Kelly’s replacement.
A native of Dayton, Ohio, Freeman had only been on Kelly’s staff this year as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He came to South Bend after four seasons in the same position at Cincinnati. A former linebacker from Ohio State who was selected by the Bears in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Freeman began his coaching career with the Buckeyes as a graduate assistant in 2010.
He was linebackers coach at Kent State under head coach Darrell Hazell in 2011 and 2012 then went with him to Purdue in 2013. He served as the linebackers coach in his first three seasons with the Boilermakers then was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2016.
Freeman takes over an Irish program that is currently 11-1 and awaiting their postseason destination. Ranked sixth in the latest College Football Playoff poll, Notre Dame still has a chance to make the four-team playoff for the national title, but at the very least could make a “New Years Six” Bowl.
Any postseason win this year would represent the Irish’s first major bowl victory since the 1994 Cotton Bowl triumph over Texas A & M.
The defense led by Freeman was a big part of Notre Dame’s success as their 18.3 points per game allowed is tied for 11th in all of FBS, giving up 338.9 yards a contest. The coach has also been lauded for his recruiting efforts as the Irish are in line to have a Top 5 class in 2022.