The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team has a new head coach, and to no one’s surprise, it’s defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.
Ever since Freeman was hired to be the defensive coordinator before the 2021 season, there was quite a bit of noise about him possibly taking over as the head coach one day — but certainly not this soon. Brian Kelly’s defection to the LSU Tigers on Monday accelerated this process in ways that seemed unfathomable just a week ago.
Never before have I seen fans, media members, former players, and current players unite so strongly and so quickly behind one man. Marcus Freeman has been trending on Twitter almost as strongly as Brian Kelly over the past few days, with an outpouring of input, opinions, and support.
It seems as if the giant collective Christmas wish for the Notre Dame football world has now been granted.
As a Dayton, Ohio, native, Marcus Freeman played his college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes where he was an All-Big 10 linebacker in 2007 and 2008. After a short stint in the NFL that was marred with injuries, Freeman went back to Ohio State in 2010 as a grad assistant. He then went to work on the ladder up by coaching linebackers at Kent State and then for the Purdue Boilermakers. In 2016 he was promoted to the co-defensive coordinator position at Purdue.
He followed his heart to the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2017 to be the defensive coordinator for his longtime mentor, Luke Fickell. After four very successful years of building one of the nation’s better defenses, Freeman left Cincinnati for LSU — until Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick convinced him to take the job at Notre Dame.
The immediate impact of Freeman’s hiring was felt on the recruiting trail, and as more and more people in and around the program were able to deal with Marcus — the more and more reports we got about him being something very special. Notre Dame’s defense went through some growing pains during the beginning of the season, but as each game passed, the unit got better and better. It was certainly the sign of progress that was good enough for many of us to say that Freeman “could be it” when discussing who the next head coach at Notre Dame might be.
And now it’s all true — all of it.
We will have much more about the hire on OFD and on tonight’s podcast, but until then, be VERY happy about this dynamic and breathtaking hire.