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Reports: Marcus Freeman will be Notre Dame’s new head football coach

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 9:22 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It appears the Fighting Irish have found their new leader.

There are multiple reports that Notre Dame plans to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach just days after Brian Kelly abruptly left the program to become LSU’s head coach.

Former Irish walk-on running back Mick Assaf was the first to report the news that many have now confirmed.

In 2020, Marcus Freeman had a choice between Notre Dame and LSU for a new defensive coordinator job. This week, his choice between the two schools was different because staying at Notre Dame means his life changes forever.

The 35-year-old former Ohio State linebacker has never been a head coach, but even his former boss Kelly said in the summer that he expected Freeman to be a head coach very soon.

For the last four years, Freeman has been one of the top defensive coordinators in the nation, including leading the Irish to the 11th-best total defense in the country this season. From the moment he stepped on campus, Freeman has been enamored with coaching at Notre Dame.

On Signing Day last year, Freeman said, “I knew this place was special. I went and took another trip. What a blessing all these opportunities to be a defensive coordinator different places. Me, myself and my wife -- we had a chance to go home, sit down and think about what we want for our family and what we want to be a part of. There was no decision to be made.”

“To be a part of this program at the University of Notre Dame is an opportunity you can’t pass up. You just can’t. And every day that I’m here, I realize more and more why this place is so special. It’s very unique.”

Freeman will have a very familiar face leading his offense.

Earlier tonight, Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees met with the team to say he is staying at his alma mater as offensive coordinator.

The former Irish QB has been on the staff since 2017.

Defensive line coach Mike Elston tweeted tonight that he is staying and that Notre Dame is home. Worth noting -- Elston has been on Kelly’s staff every year since 2004.

There are also multiple reports tonight that tight ends coach John McNulty and running backs coach Lance Taylor will also stay in South Bend.

Freeman was the obvious players’ choice. Almost every member of the team posted on social media in support of Freeman as their new head coach.

The 35-year-old is considered one of the up-and-coming coaches in all of college football.

He came to the Irish this season after a successful run as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator.

There is no official word yet from the University of Notre Dame in regards to Freeman.

The final playoff rankings drop this Sunday -- and #6 Notre Dame is still in the running for a coveted final four spot.

We will keep you up to date as we learn more on air and online.

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