News came late Wednesday night that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has accepted the head coaching position at the University of Connecticut.
The Huskies were a strong program under current Maryland head coach Randy Edsall but have struggled in recent years. Paul Pasqualoni was hired in 2011 but went 5-7 in each of his first two seasons before being fired this fall after a 0-4 start. T.J. Weist had been the interim head coach the rest of this season as UConn finished with a 3-9 record.
Diaco leaves behind an impressive resume with Notre Dame, immediately improving upon the woeful 2009 defense that preceded his arrival and guiding the Irish while only giving up 22.9, 12.8, 20.7, and 20.2 points per game in each of the last four seasons.
Diaco played linebacker at Iowa in the late 90's before grabbing a graduate assistant spot in Iowa City after graduating. From there he spent time as an assistant at Western Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. His first big job was with Brian Kelly at Central Michigan in 2005 as co-defensive coordinator. He would leave after on year to spend 3 years at Virginia as the linebacker and special teams coach but returned to work for Brian Kelly at Cincinnati in 2009 as the defensive coordinator. That December he came with Kelly to South Bend to embark on his 4-year journey with the Irish.
Best of luck to you, Bob.
So what does this mean for the Irish moving forward?
Coupled with the loss of offensive coordinator Chuck Martin last week this is a big blow for Notre Dame. Losing Martin wasn't as big of a deal with Kelly's control over the offense but having to replace Diaco and alter the defensive system (even just a little) could have some major ramifications for the future.
Diaco probably wasn't an elite defensive coordinator and he laid some clunkers in his time here but I still think the foundation he built back in 2010 and the defense he directed in 2012 should earn him a lot of gratitude from the Irish faithful.
We will see if this move has any ramifications in recruiting too. Losing both of your coordinators--even if both took head coaching jobs--can turn some heads and make recruits think twice about what they're stepping into at Notre Dame. Brian Kelly will also have to worry about Diaco taking some assistants with him to Storrs as well.
There are some major challenges ahead for this program. Luckily I think this is Brian Kelly's strong suit as a program developer. We'll see if he keeps the new DC position in house (Kerry Cooks will be a strong candidate) or goes outside South Bend for a new hire.
It's very likely the Irish will stick to their 3-4 scheme but I guess stranger things have happened.