Notre Dame Expected to Hire Marcus Freeman as Head Coach, Reports Say

FILE - Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is shown during the Blue-Gold NCAA spring football game in South Bend, Ind., in this Saturday, May 1, 2021, file photo. Marcus Freeman believes the best thing he can do as Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator is to get out of the way of his players. “This is theirs. They built this. I’m the new guy,” said the 35-year-old Freeman, who seven months ago was picked by coach Brian Kelly to replace Clark Lea after Notre Dame finished 10-2 and ranked No. 5.
AP Photo/Robert Franklin, File

While the team has not made an official announcement, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is reportedly promoting defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach, multiple sources say.

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.

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.

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