It didn’t take long for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to reportedly find their next football coach, as multiple reports indicate that the team will promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to the position.
According to Mick Assaf of On3 and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the 35-year-old is expected to be named the schools’ next head coach:
Freeman was hired by former head coach Brian Kelly after spending four seasons as Cincinnati, working as the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Reports had swirled that Kelly, who recently left Notre Dame to take the head coaching job at LSU, was trying to persuade Freeman to join him in Baton Rouge, but now it appears that he will take the reins of a Fighting Irish squad that just finished off an 11-1 regular season.
Another big retention for Notre Dame came in the form of offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who is expected to remain at the school after Kelly’s departure, according to The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna:
Rees played quarterback for the Fighting Irish from 2010 to 2013. He served as the team’s quarterbacks coach from 2017 to 2019, and has spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator for Kelly.
There is no word on when the school plans to make the decisions official, but they will not play again until they either play a bowl game or the College Football Playoff, should they finish the season in the top four of the rankings.
The drama all started Monday when it was reported that Kelly would be leaving the school. Kelly, the winningest coach in Notre Dame history, accepted a 10-year contract offer from LSU, leaving the Fighting Irish with a significant hire to make in the wake of an 11-win season.
Early speculation centered on Freeman, but plenty of other contenders had their names floated, including Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell.
Ultimately, the Irish went with the in-house promotion, reportedly locking up one of the top young names on the college coaching market.