ND Coaching Search Megathread

IrishLax

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For talk about potential candidates and the search. Have at it.

Here are my thoughts — your decision making process on a new hire is completely different if you fired a coach versus if you are trying to fill a void two weeks before signing day.

When you’ve fired a coach for performance reasons, you have time to gear up for a national search and evaluate all of your options. You often get a small boost to recruiting when you announce the hire.

When your coach gets poached, you have to choose between continuity OR trying to find the “right coach” for a reset of something that was “working.” If you choose the former, then you generally have only minimal recruiting losses and your risk comes from the unknown of the assistant being a bad coach. You might lose a bunch of games and have to fire them, but your roster isn’t going to be an issue. If you replace them with an outside hire, it usually takes two full cycles to get back on track with recruiting because you also have staff overhaul and have to “prove” that you can do as well as the previous staff.

Given all of that, I can’t see how the best option isn’t just to promote Freeman and also overpay to keep every key assistant that you can.

If you need to make an outside hire, you better be prepared to make that hire within a week or no one is signing in two weeks. You could probably get Matt Campbell or Narduzzi or some middle tier coach in that window. You are not going to get a Tier 1 coach. Unless John Harbaugh’s agent or the equivalent is blowing up your phone right now and saying that they want in then I don’t know how you justify making a big money, long term commitment to someone that may tank your whole program.
 
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ShamrockOnHelmet

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I’m confounded about whether Stoops could be in play. I have zero doubt he badly wants to coach ND, he always has, but there’s always been a barrier in the past. The XFL stuff and him always doing things at Oklahoma suggest his heart is still in it, and he’s only, what, a year older than BK.
 

IrishTusker

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You at least make the calls to Urban, Dabo, and John Harbaugh. Then, when they say no, Freeman or Fickell.
 

ACamp1900

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I want Fickell but it sounds like things are gonna get much worse if it isn't Freeman.

It sucks because this class is strong but you also don’t make a coaching decision on something like that,… Best long term answer,… if Swar and co honestly think that’s Freeman then okay.
 

Ndaccountant

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I want Fickell but it sounds like things are gonna get much worse if it isn't Freeman.

I think that's quite telling TBH. Think about that for a second....the recruits and players are basically begging you for this guy. Why would you do anything different at this point? Those players are the ones that make the call with their feet and they are the ones who ultimately make the difference on Saturday's. I hope Jack quits trying to be savvy and just does the rational thing and go with Freeman. My hunch is that he overthinks it and Freeman ends up in Columbus.
 

Ndaccountant

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It sucks because this class is strong but you also don’t make a coaching decision on something like that,… Best long term answer,… if Swar and co honestly think that’s Freeman then okay.

The best long term answer is to not be 6-6 next year. Short of Saban, John Harbaugh or Mike Tomlin walking thru the door, ND will be worse off long-term with a short-term decline. That short term decline is almost assuredly going to happen if you go another route.
 

Luckylucci

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Make Freeman the interim HC first thing tomorrow AM. His entire focus is on recruiting and bowl prep. That will give sometime to evaluate if this is the right long term move and what the temperature is like after things have cooled down. I mean, if the team responds in a big way and he keeps all the commits then I think thats a huge resume builder. If the team comes out flat and we still lose some guys then maybe it’s worth ripping off the band aid now.
 

NDPhilly

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Freeman + Elite OC would be fine. Saves the recruiting class and gives upside with an ace recruiter who can relate to players.

I kinda would love ND to throw their weight around with a flashy hire. USC got Lincoln Riley for Gods sakes. Gotta think booster money will be there for it if we want to go that route / there is reciprocated interest. Notre Dame is one of the most profitable programs in the country, not a fossil of past success.
 

Ndaccountant

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Make Freeman the interim HC first thing tomorrow AM. His entire focus is on recruiting and bowl prep. That will give sometime to evaluate if this is the right long term move and what the temperature is like after things have cooled down. I mean, if the team responds in a big way and he keeps all the commits then I think thats a huge resume builder. If the team comes out flat and we still lose some guys then maybe it’s worth ripping off the band aid now.

You can't wait until Jan to make that call. How can you get anyone comfortable to sign on the 15th if you don't know who your coach is? That's an impossible task. You need to give the next coach at least 10 days of runway. Otherwise, you cut him off at the knees.
 

T-Boone

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If we went after Fickle and got him ND should just take over the university of cincinnati and turn it into a campus.
 

TNUtoNotreDame

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Freeman + Elite OC would be fine. Saves the recruiting class and gives upside with an ace recruiter who can relate to players.

I kinda would love ND to throw their weight around with a flashy hire. USC got Lincoln Riley for Gods sakes. Gotta think booster money will be there for it if we want to go that route / there is reciprocated interest. Notre Dame is one of the most profitable programs in the country, not a fossil of past success.

Jack will pick Freeman.
 

GATTACA!

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Make them say no:
Saban
Dabo
Urban (if he's a take at ND)
John Harbaugh
Kirby Smart

Realistic:
Fickell
Freeman
Campbell
Stoops
Joe Brady

No dice:
PJ
Joey Freshwater
Pat Fitzgerald
Jeff Brohm
 

Luckylucci

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You can't wait until Jan to make that call. How can you get anyone comfortable to sign on the 15th if you don't know who your coach is? That's an impossible task. You need to give the next coach at least 10 days of runway. Otherwise, you cut him off at the knees.

Yea that doesn’t read like I intended. Maybe put differently, give him the interim tag and let’s get started on evaluating him on the job immediately while we check the general temperature for new hires in the coming days/week/s as things cool down.

I mean, there is still so much of this to play out that it’s hard to gauge. For example, Loy is adamant that the Merriwesthers love Rees and Del. Well, what if Rees follows BK so Merriweather goes elsewhere, while CJ goes to USC, and Walker to Michigan. What if Quinn follows BK and we lose Wagner to UK. At some point there has to be some attrition that makes an outside hire more of an option. If we’re going to lose recruits then that no longer is an added bonus of keeping Freeman. I’d think getting him out on the trail with a message is very important. Evaluating how he does with that message, also important.
 

Irishnuke

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Do what the Cubs did when Joe Maddon left. Give the job to the oldest player on the team. Kurt Hinish, new ND HC.

Seriously though, it's gotta be Freeman. He can hold together the 22 and 23 recruiting class minus the diva WRs. Lose this class and those guys committed next year and we'll be looking for another HC in a couple years.
 

GATTACA!

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I think you throw the interim tag on Freeman and plan on giving him the full title after the season is over unless you can convince Fickell to take the job with Freeman staying on.

Or obviously any of the home run pipe dream options. Urban would put together a better class before NSD anyways.
 

Crazy Balki

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Marcus Freeman and pair him with Joe Brady (it's looking like Rhule may not last in Carolina).
 

irishfan

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Urban/Rhule/Petersen should be first calls. Then either Freeman or Fickell needs to be the decision assuming the other three say no. No need to complicate it beyond that.
 

ulukinatme

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The Twitter Space ended about 30 minutes ago, lots of current and former players in there.

Mick Assaf seems to think they have very good sources that Freeman is the next guy, but that might just be interim too. For what it's worth current and former players all vouched for either Freeman or Rees to get the job. They said both are loved by the players, and it's not 1996 anymore. They said we've seen Lea getting promoted from within and it worked, we've seen Rees get promoted from within and it worked. The program is in a great spot now, and the players would get behind either and it would help with keeping recruiting together.

That said, more than the HC position it's vital we retain the S&C staff, and not just Balis. This was a unanimous thing across the board, the players said they spend 90% of their time around those guys and they're the cornerstone of the program. Each player had their own position coaches they were fond of, Finke actually spoke highly of Rees and Del Alexander, J Love spoke highly of Lyght, etc, but the overwhelming majority all brought up Balis and Flint as must stays. Makes me think for that reason BK is going to really want to take them to LSU.

The other thing I'll mention from that round table was the players all supportive of Kelly. They get that you have to do what's best for your family first, and that anyone else in his position would do the same if big money landed in your lap. That was refreshing to hear. There wasn't a bunch of negativity and they wished him well, the only regret was that he couldn't coach in the bowl.

5 Star Philure was listening in and they tried to get a comment, but he wouldn't speak. Some of the other current and former players that were there, the first several all speakers: Nick Weishar, Chris Finke, J Love, Ian Book, Golic Jr, Kyle Hamilton, Cole Kmet, the Okwaras, Corey Mays, Rick Mirer, Lugg, Hinish, C'Bo, Tremble, Jayson Ade, Plantz, John Bonner, Tranquil, Troy Pride, George Takacs, Matt Salerno, Chris Watt, Nick McCloud, Big Fish, Gummy VanGorder, Hunter Bivin, Torii Hunter, James Onwualu. There were certainly more, but those were the ones that I can remember that were around.

Entertaining moment: Assaf asked what the others thought that meeting with BK will go like tomorrow morning. VanGorder responded, "Well, it can't be any less uncomfortable than watching your dad get fired, cause that happened to me." Awkward, but kinda funny (The comment, that is).
 
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GATTACA!

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Urban/Rhule/Petersen should be first calls. Then either Freeman or Fickell needs to be the decision assuming the other three say no. No need to complicate it beyond that.

Rhule and Peterson both suck. Not interested in either.

Also shouldn't we assume USC made the call to Urb? If he didn't take that job me thinks ND doesn't have a shot.
 
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