It was actually pre-ordained that Marcus Freeman would become the next head coach at Notre Dame; Brian Kelly said so himself many months ago.
Now according to multiple reports, it is actually happening, with official word to come soon from the university itself. Freeman, 35, excelled in his short time as defensive coordinator, and was the leading candidate all along.
FWIW Brian Kelly did say that Marcus Freeman would be the next head coach last summer pic.twitter.com/gcdveytTxt
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) November 30, 2021
As we wrote in our coaching candidates column, published shortly after the Brian Kelly to LSU news broke:
If they go in house then this is the only option, but it’s also a good one. Freeman is a rising star, and this is a chance for him to continue making his way in the universe. Path of least resistance? Sure. Easiest course of action? Definitely.
But at the end of the day, the former Ohio State linebacker still has the chops to get it done.
Tommy Rees will stay on as offensive coordinator, with ND stepping up to make sure their legendary former quarterback stays put, and works with Marcus Freeman.
That’s a great spite to Kelly too; so that’s an added bonus. Yesterday morning, ND Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick indicated what he’s looking for in the next head coach. Interesting to think about how Marcus Freeman fits the bill now.
“Fit at Notre Dame is number one,” said Swarbick.
“This is a unique place, and it is important that you understand and appreciate the uniqueness. That’s a critical element of this. Increasingly the role of college football head coaches is a CEO role, and so clearly understanding your approach to building and managing staff becomes very important.”
“Next, what’s your approach to playing the game? What’s your style? How do you achieve victory on the football field?
“And then a whole list of things that relate to attracting and developing great student-athletes, and especially the development part of it.
“I am really pleased with where our recruiting is today and the improvements we’ve made in it, the resources we’ve put into it, but I still want to be a great development program, so what are your ideas on developing young men to be great players, great champions and great parts of our community.”
Marcus Freeman leads an 11-1 Notre Dame team that currently sits #6 in the College Football Playoff rankings. There is an outside chance, should things break their way, ND gets into the CFP. But most likely, it is looking like they’ll be in a New Year’s Six bowl.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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