Former Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman and Notre Dame defensive coordinator is expected to become the next head coach of the Fighting Irish, according to multiple reports.
Freeman will replace Brian Kelly, who left the program to lead LSU in the Southeastern Conference after he spent the previous 11 years with Notre Dame.
Freeman’s coaching ascension is remarkable. After playing at Ohio State from 2004-08, he spent one season in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Ohio State in 2010 and received his first full-time coaching job at Kent State, where he was the linebackers coach in 2011 and 2012.
The Wayne, Ohio, native then spent four years at Purdue, where he started as linebackers coach and was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2016. Freeman spent his next four years at Cincinnati, where he was defensive coordinator under Luke Fickell.
Notre Dame appears set to make Freeman the head coach of one of college football’s most storied programs despite his lack of head-coaching experience. It’s not unprecedented, as Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley earned their first head coaching experiences at historically dominant college football schools.
Freeman’s promotion ends rumors that he would return to Ohio State to become its next defensive coordinator. With the program expecting a significant overhaul of the defensive staff in the offseason, the Buckeyes will have to look for new hires.
Notre Dame will also be retaining current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who announced Wednesday that he was staying at the university after receiving an offer to join Kelly at LSU.
Freeman will be back at Ohio State for Notre Dame’s visit to Columbus on Sept. 3, 2022 — the season-opening game for both programs.