The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were in need of an offensive line coach after Harry Hiestand left to coach the Chicago Bears. That search is over as the Irish announced that Jeff Quinn would be promoted to the position.
Quinn is the quintessential "Brian Kelly Man" having worked for Kelly for 20 years. It started in 1989 at Grand Valley State, and continued all the way through to the end of 2009 with their time with the Cincinnati Bearcats.
“I’m thankful to Father Jenkins, Jack Swarbrick and Coach Kelly for this tremendous opportunity,” said Quinn. “There’s a tremendous legacy of coaching the offensive line at Notre Dame, from Brian Boulac to Merv Johnson to Joe Moore to Harry Hiestand. As each of those men will tell you, the focus of this job has been and always will be about the best interests of the players in the offensive line room, both on and off the field. I’m simply honored to now serve in this role.”
“Jeff has helped produce NCAA, conference and school record-breaking offenses along with multiple conference, bowl and national championships over his 34 years as a college football coach,” said Brian Kelly, Dick Corbett Head Football Coach at the University of Notre Dame. “He has an accomplished track record of not only identifying but also developing outstanding offensive linemen. Jeff also understands the high standard of offensive line play at Notre Dame, having been part of the offensive staff the last few years. He will continue to develop the culture necessary to produce college football’s top offensive line.”
Notre Dame interviewed 3 other candidates for the position including Bob Bostad (Wisconsin Badgers) and Jeff Frye (Boston College Eagles). To say this hire is a little disappointing would be a bit of an understatement.
This is a stark return to the way Brian Kelly would hire coaches prior to last season. Kelly's hires of Mike Elko, Chip Long, Matt Balis, and Brian Polian were inspired and went against the grain of what he normally does by promoting from within or hiring coaches he has ties to from the past.
I can't help but feel cheated here a little bit. Replacing a guy like Harry Hiestand was going to be hard enough, but now an uninspired addition to add a "yes" man to the fold just seems like one step forward and two steps back. For fans that are already highly critical of Brian Kelly, any downturn in play along an offensive line that loses two greats in Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, will be met with loud and raucous jeers (fair or unfair - it's going to happen).
Notre Dame is at full staff now, and we can only wait to see how much this hire helps or hurts the recruiting effort that is left in the 2018 class.