Notre Dame names Marcus Freeman as head football coach

College Sports

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WANE) – Days after Head Coach Brian Kelly departs for LSU, the University of Notre Dame announced Marcus Freeman, defensive coordinator, as the 30th head coach in the Irish’s history.

“Marcus Freeman has not only proven himself a superb football coach, he has shown–both in his time at Notre Dame and in my conversations with him this week–that he is a person of highest integrity who cares deeply about our student-athletes and is committed to their success in the classroom as well as on the field,” said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.  “I am excited to welcome him as our new head football coach, and to have his wife, Joanna, and their six beautiful children in the Notre Dame family.”

In his first season with the Irish, he led a transformation on the defensive side of the ball that includes a number of Top-20 national rankings. The Irish rank sixth nationally in interceptions (15) and defensive touchdowns (4), seventh in total sacks (40.0), 11th in turnovers gained (23) and scoring defense (18.2) and 18th in third-down conversion percentage (.329). The 40.0 team sacks is one shy of the program record of 41 from the 1996 season.

“It is an honor to be named the head coach of Notre Dame Football,” said Freeman. “I am eternally grateful to both Father John Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for giving me the opportunity to lead the exceptional men who make this program what it is. Notre Dame is a very special place and I look forward to pursuing a national championship with the most outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff in college football.”

Prior to coming to South Bend, Freeman spent the previous four seasons as the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati. During his time with the Bearcats, he was named the 2020 247Sports.com Defensive Coordinator of the Year and 2020 Broyles Award Finalist along with a nominee for the Broyles Award in 2019 and 2018.

Before joining Cincinnati, Freeman had a four-year stint at Purdue. He coached linebackers all four seasons and served as the Boilermakers co-defensive coordinator in 2015.

Prior to his time at Purdue, Freeman coached linebackers at Kent State from 2011-12, helping develop all-conference selections Luke Batton and C.J. Malauulu. Freeman started his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Ohio State, in 2010 and the Buckeyes went 12-1 with a victory in the Sugar Bowl.

Freeman is just the third Notre Dame head coach to have been selected in the NFL Draft, and is the first since Ara Parseghian was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1947. He is the 23rd Notre Dame head coach to have Division I playing experience and the first since Tyrone Willingham.

Freeman will be introduced on Monday, December 6 at a 2 p.m. press conference and will coach the Irish in their upcoming bowl game.

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