On Thursday afternoon, Pete Thamel reported that Mike Mickens will be the next cornerbacks coach for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Mickens had coached the defensive backs for the Cincinnati Bearcats over the past two seasons.
Sources: Notre Dame expected to hire Mike Mickens as defensive backs coach. Mickens was a star player for Brian Kelly at Cincinnati. He comes from Cincinnati, where he served as DBs coach.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 13, 2020
Multiple outlets have since confirmed the yet to be official hire, but it’s just a matter of human resources and social media graphics before the University announces that both he and John McNulty are the new additions to the Irish staff.
Mike Mickens played for Brian Kelly in Cincinnati during his junior and senior years of 2007 and 2008, and it was during that 2008 season when Mickens became a Thorpe Award semi-finalist.
Mickens is just 32 years old, and after playing one year in the NFL in 2010, he started coaching in the college ranks. First, he became a defensive assistant at Cincy in 2011, and then for the Indiana State Sycamores in 2012. In 2013 he became the cornerbacks coach for the Idaho Vandals before taking the same job for the Bowling Green Falcons from 2013-2017. His arrival in the Queen City helped turn the Bearcats defensive pass efficiency ranking from #113 in 2017 to #13 in 20188 and #15 in 2019.
The Irish are hiring Mickens to replace Todd Lyght who left to go back to be with his family in California. Lyght was never known as an ace recruiter during his time in South Bend, but Mickens has begun to get a reputation for being an excellent recruiter and had a lot of ground to cover at Cincinnati with Ohio, Michigan, D.C. area, and Atlanta.
There had been a lot of names circulating that were candidates for this job at Notre Dame. Christian Parker of the Packers, Daronte Jones now with the Vikings, and De Smet HS coach Robert Steeples were 3 of the top 4 names circulating.
We should probably expect an announcement from Notre Dame soon (although your guess is as good as mine when that happens). Winter workouts are underway, and spring football is getting closer and closer. Mickens will have to help bring along a secondary that has experience on the front end with Shaun Crawford and TaRiq Bracy, but has considerable inexperience behind them with Isaiah Rutherford and KJ Wallace — as well as early enrollee Caleb Offord.