We’ve Decided To Grow With Him
When Marcus Freeman was officially announced as the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish back in December of 2021, so many of us were AMPED. Like many of you, I was probably following the lead of all of the players standing behind the decision before it was totally official. As my brother mentioned to me in a recent conversation, that video of Balis introducing Marcus as the head coach as the team goes BALLISTIC will forever be ingrained in our minds.
From Day 1, Marcus Freeman has been a fantastic ambassador for the football program and University at large. He is dynamic, easily liked, and definitely has the inner workings of someone who can and will be a great head football coach. He loves his players and understand what it means to be for the team and for Notre Dame. That has shown up in spades, especially as he goes and travels to many Notre Dame Clubs across the country yet again this year.
Marcus Freeman is someone that wants to be approachable - as a human, coach, and man of Notre Dame. He understands that showing up is over half the battle of being a success and someone that can be counted on. We all have seen this with his support of the other athletic teams and becoming Catholic this past August.
What I have found interesting in all of this is not just the fact that he has been so dynamic and someone who understands the nuances of Notre Dame and the ND Football program, but that we all have collectively let him be himself. To paraphrase from the wonderful show “The West Wing”, we are letting Freeman be Freeman.
In that, I mean that because he has been so respected by his players and is a man that wants to represent himself, his family, and the University of Notre Dame well, we have very overwhelmingly backed him. His ways of being approachable have helped us feel more connected to him especially as he goes about his business in a more humble and forthright way. He is not trying to be smarmy, sarcastic, or holier than thou, which is incredibly refreshing to see especially as the team under him has had overall success so far.
If he didn’t show those traits and really build a level of excitement and trust, I don’t think we would understand growing with him. I have found it fascinating that because of what he built in under one year, it seemed like the fandom trusted him in some incredibly low points. The losses to Marshall and Stanford last season were so out of left field and admittedly embarrassing for a program that has avoided losses like that for nearly a decade. However, I was very proud of the fanbase for generally seeing the season through and letting Marcus Freeman come into his own as a coach. He’s only had one year as a head coach, and he did super well considering the wins the team had and how they ended the season with a bowl win. That game against Clemson last season also helped a ton.
Outside of the wins, though, we seemed to collectively ride the wave with Marcus Freeman and take some of the growing pains with the great joys. It is definitely an interesting phenomenon that occurred last season considering stuff like that does not necessarily happen in college football. We want to see immediate results. But, with the way Marcus Freeman built everything up, we interestingly gave him some space to grow. Now, that might have been a honeymoon period, and that might not happen again as we get into years 2 and 3 where the results need to be there, but I still see most fans riding with Marcus Freeman and the product he wants to produce both on and off the field.