The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a solid coaching staff for 2019, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s coach profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming season.
Tommy Rees, Quarterbacks Coach
We can’t call him “Tom” because legends don’t change their name. Tommy made his bones early at Notre Dame as he was inserted as the starting quarterback during his freshman season with the Irish in 2010. It was an “up and down” kind of career for Rees during his four years in South Bend as a student, but he was vital to any and all success from 2010-2013. Notre Dame’s 2012 undefeated regular season NEVER happens without Tommy’s services, and he was the consummate team player.
Oh and by the way... Tommy is 2nd all-time at Notre Dame in passing TD’s and 3rd all-time in passing yards. PUT SOME RESPEK ON THAT NAME.
Path to Notre Dame
It wasn’t a very long professional playing career for Tommy. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Redskins on May 13th 2014, and waived by the Skins on May 17th 2014. It didn’t take long for that — or for Tommy to find his true calling as a coach. Rees was hired by the Northwestern Wildcats as an offensive grad assistant for the 2015 season, and then Tommy took off for California to be an offensive assistant for the San Diego Chargers (also known as the Los Angeles Chargers also known as Notre Dame West). After just one year with the Chargers, Tommy was hired by Notre Dame to coach quarterbacks in 2017 as part of the Kelly 3.0 program renovation.
Tommy’s key stat is anything you want to pluck from Ian Book’s stat line. While Brandon Wimbush went into 2017 & 2018 as the starter at quarterback, it was Ian Book that emerged to take over the program. Some of that has to do with the relationship Rees and Book have developed. There are so many similarities with Book’s and Rees’s game, that it’s easy to see how they work together so well. Book doesn’t have to face quite as much fury from Brian Kelly as Tommy did, but the mentor relationship here is dripping with flavor.
Job for 2019
There is a lot more on Tommy’s plate this season as opposed to the previous two. The continual development of Ian Book is crucial to Notre Dame’s success in 2019, but the development of Phil Jurkovec and Brendon Clark is just as important. There were a lot more questions than answers about Jurkovec after a rocky spring, and at some point this season, Notre Dame could very well need Phil to win a game or two — and that’s where Tommy Rees can make his money.