The Most Intriguing Head Coaching Changes of the 2021/2022 Season
- Brian Kelly resigned at Notre Damn to take the head gig at LSU, followed by the Fighting Irish promoting 35-year-old Marcus Freeman to replace him.
Wow! Talk about Notre Damn President John I. Jenkins and Director of Athletics John B. Swarbrick Jr. rolling the dice on this hire. After all, Freeman—who has no head coaching experience—steps in to fill the shoes of the school’s winningest coach (113-40) at arguably the most storied football program in America.
Why is ND wagering that a young African American coach can handle the job with no head coaching experience? Well, it’s definitely not like the Irish are making a “politically correct” statement or have something to prove here by hiring a Black head coach—they’ve already done that before. Remember? Tyrone Willingham (2002-2004) is Notre Dame’s first Black head football coach.
The Irish hired Willingham away from Stanford in 2001 to replace George O’Leary after the latter resigned only five days after being named to succeed Bob Davie as head coach because the Irish caught him lying about his achievements on his resume. Fortunately, Freeman is not taking over the program in such an awkward way that Willingham began his tenure.
Nevertheless, the glaring fact remains: Notre Dame could have hired their pick from a group of successful and experienced head coaches. So then, why did they promote Freeman to the position?
The Deal on Marcus Freeman: He’s No Pig in a Poke
For Notre Dame to make this move, we can only assume that Marcus Freeman must have shown the leadership, drive, dedication, and aura to impress the top brass enough for them to hand him the keys to their hallowed blue and gold supercharged Lambo. After all, they’ve seen him work his magic as their defensive coordinator for the past season. In addition, the Irish are well aware that Freeman has shined everywhere else he has been during his brief coaching career.
In 2020, Marcus Freeman was selected 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year at Cincinnati (2017-2020). He was also a three-time Broyles Award nominee, an annual award to honor the best assistant coach in college football; he was a finalist for the award in 2020. Before his stint with the Bearcats, Freeman served as a co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Purdue in 2016.
Brian Kelly was so impressed with Freeman that he snagged the former 2nd Team All-Big Ten Ohio State Linebacker (2004-2008) to be his DC at Notre Dame after the 2020 season. The rest is history. Well, admittedly, as brief as it is.
One thing is for sure, Jenkins and Swarbrick Jr. will soon look like geniuses or madmen for hiring someone so young and with no head coaching experience to lead one of the nation’s elite college football programs. And no doubt—all eyes will be watching.
My sincere hope is for the young brotha, Marcus Freeman, to succeed. But still, damn! I’m getting my popcorn out to watch this show.
Last updated January 3, 2022:
2021-2022 NCAA FBS Head Coaching Changes
|#||School||Conference||Old Coach||Reason for Move||New Coach, Former School and Position|
|1.||Akron||MAC||Tom Arth||Fired||Joe Moorhead, Oregon OC|
|2.||Colorado State||Mountain West||Steve Addazio||Fired||Jay Norvell, Nevada HC|
|3.||Duke||ACC||David Cutliffe||Fired||Mike Elko, Texas A&M DC|
|4.||Florida Int. U.||USA||Butch Davis||Fired||Mike Macintyre, Memphis DC|
|5.||Florida||SEC||Dan Mullen||Fired||Billy Napier, Louisiana HC|
|6.||Freson State||Mountain West||Kalen DeBoer||Left for Washington||Jeff Tedford, Former Fresno State HC|
|7.||Georgia Southern||Sun Belt||Chad Lansford||Fired||Clay Helton, Washington State DC|
|8.||Hawaii||Mountain West||Todd Graham||Resigned||Timmy Chang, Nevada WRC|
|9.||LSU||SEC||Ed Orgeron||Resigned||Brian Kelly, Notre Dame HC|
|10.||Louisiana||Sun Belt||Bill Napier||Left for Florida||Michael Desormeaux, Louisiana Co-OC|
|11.||Louisiana Tech||USA||Skip Holtz||Fired||Sonny Cumbie, Texas Tech OC|
|12.||Miami||ACC||Manny Diaz||Fired||Mario Cristobal, Oregon HC|
|13.||Nevada||Mountain West||Jay Norvell||Left for Colorado State||Ken Wilson, Oregon ILB Coach|
|14.||New Mexico State||Independent||Doug Martin||Fired||Jerry Kill, TCU Assistant HC|
|15.||Notre Dame||Independent||Brian Kelly||Left for LSU||Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame DC|
|16.||Oklahoma||Big 12||Lincoln Riley||Left for USC||Brent Venables, Clemson DC|
|17.||Oregon||Pac 12||Mario Cristobal||Left for Miami||Dan Lanning, Georgia DC|
|18.||SMU||American||Sonny Dykes||Left for TCU||Rhett Lashlee, Miami OC|
|19.||TCU||Big 12||Gary Patterson||Resigned||Sonny Dykes, SMU HC|
|20.||Temple||American||Roy Carey||Fired||Stan Drayton, Texas RB Coach|
|21.||Texas Tech||Big 12||Marty Wells||Fired||Joey McGuire, Baylor AHC|
|22.||Troy||Sun Belt||Chip Lindsey||Fired||John Sumrall, Kentucky ILB Coach|
|23.||Uconn||Independent||Randy Edsall||Resigned||Jim Mora, Uconn OA and former UCLA HC|
|24.||UMass||Independent||Walt Bell||Fired||Don Brown, Arizona DC|
|25.||USC||Pac 12||Clay Helton||Fired||Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma HC|
|26.||Virginia||ACC||Bronco Mendenhall||Resigned||Tony Elliot, Clemson OC|
|27.||Virginia Tech||ACC||Justin Fuente||Fired||Brent Pry, Penn State DC|
|28.||Washington||Pac 12||Jimmy Lake||Fired||Kalen DeBoer, Fresno State HC|
|29.||Washington State||Pac 12||Nick Rolovich||Fired||Jake Dickert, Washington State DC|
2022-20023 NCAA Football Recruiting Calendars