Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Football Officially Hires Marcus Freeman as New Head Coach

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SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 02: Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebackers coach Marcus Freeman looks on during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 2, 2021, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After much speculation that Marcus Freeman — previously Notre Dame Football's defensive coordinator — would be promoted to head coach, the team confirmed the hire Friday morning.

In a video posted to Twitter Dec. 3, Marcus Freeman walks into the locker room and is excitedly embraced by players after he is announced to the team as "your brand new football coach."

In a video posted to Twitter Dec. 3, Marcus Freeman walks into the locker room and is excitedly embraced by players after he is announced to the team as "your brand new football coach."

Freeman, 35, 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.

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.