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Notre Dame to Elevate Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman to Head Coach

Following Brian Kelly's departure from Notre Dame, defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman is expected to take over as head coach.
Marcus Freeman Notre Dame Head Coach

Photo: NDFootball/Twitter

Notre Dame has reportedly found its new head coach just two days after the unexpected news drop of Brian Kelly’s untimely departure. Marcus Freeman, who previously served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, will now take over as the 32nd head football coach of the Irish.

This will be the first head coaching job for the ambitious 35-year-old.

Coaching History

Freeman started his coaching career at Kent State as a linebackers coach from 2011-2012. From 2013-2016, he served as the linebackers coach at Purdue. In his final year at Purdue, he earned a promotion to co-defensive coordinator.

In 2017, Freeman joined Cincinnati's defensive staff under head coach Luke Fickell, who was also a potential candidate to lead the Irish. Freeman served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati, where he won 247Sports defensive coordinator of the year. In 2020, his last year with the Bearcats, Freeman's defense held the second-best rating in all of Division I football.

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The 2021 season was Freeman’s first with Notre Dame, and he clearly made a big impact. While the Irish were trying to figure out their go-to quarterback early in the season, Freeman's defense kept the team in games.

Taking The Reins

After Brian Kelly left, several Irish players clamored for Freeman to take over the head coaching position. Known for his personable recruiting skills, Freeman was he was able to land star players at a school like Cincinnati and elevate their defensive play.

Freeman undoubtedly has large shoes to fill. But with the No. 2 and No. 4 recruitment classes over the next two years, he should have no issues putting together College Football Playoff-caliber teams while keeping recruitment on a roll.

Now, Notre Dame's biggest worry is on offense. Freeman's defensive leadership speaks for itself, but the other side of the ball represents foreign territory. Luckily, current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees announced he will remain with Notre Dame.

Despite the chaos of the past few days, Notre Dame has a bright future with Marcus Freeman at the helm. He will have his first opportunity to show the world his brand of football in whichever bowl game the Irish reach.