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Kelly reshapes coaching staff

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly didn’t replace a large number of coaches on his staff, but he did plenty of rearranging.

Kelly defined the roles of his assistants Friday.

The biggest moves were on the offensive staff as Chuck Martin went from safeties coach to offensive coordinator; Tony Alford returned to coaching running backs and will also coach slot receivers after handling receivers the last two seasons; Mike Denbrock went from tight ends coach to outside receivers coach and passing game coordinator; Harry Hiestand, who was hired from Tennessee, will coach the offensive line and will serve as running game coordinator; and Scott Booker, who was an offensive intern the last two seasons, will coach tight ends.

Kelly said he will continue to call plays during games.

“From an offensive standpoint we did not reach the goals that I was looking for,” Kelly told reporters at a news conference Friday. “Anytime you step back you have to evaluate all facets of your program. We think these are significant changes that will improve our football program, and I believe they already have immediately in terms of relationships communication and vision we have on the offensive side of the ball.”

Some of Kelly’s moves on the offensive staff were necessitated by the loss of assistant coaches. Former offensive coordinator Charley Molnar left to become head coach at the University of Massachusetts and former running backs coach Tim Hinton and offensive line coach Ed Warinner joined Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State.

Alford and Booker were also given coordinator duties. Alford will take over as the Irish’s recruiting coordinator, which was previously handled by Martin, and Booker will be the special teams coordinator, replacing Mike Elston. Kelly told reporters every staff member will have a hand in coaching special teams.

Kelly kept most of his defensive staff intact with slight changes to their responsibilities.

Bob Elliott took over as safeties coach, replacing Martin. Elliott was the secondary coach at Iowa State last year. Bob Diaco remained the defensive coordinator and will continue to coach linebackers but added the title of assistant head coach. Elston will continue to coach the defensive line. Kerry Cooks will continue to coach cornerbacks but is also the co-defensive coordinator.

Notre Dame also named Josh Reardon (defense) and Pat Welsh (offense) as graduate assistants, and Bill Brechin (offense) and David Grimes (defense) will be interns for the spring and become graduate assistants in August, when the NCAA allows schools to have four GAs.

Kelly said he likes the mix of familiar coaches and new coaches as he gets ready for his third season with the Irish.

"That brings a synergism to your staff when you have new ideas, new ways of doing things," he said. "I think when you combine that with what we believe are some very good systems in place, I like that synergy."

Notre Dame Football Coaching Staff

  • Brian Kelly – Head Coach
  • Bob Diaco – Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Kerry Cooks – Co-Defensive Coordinator/Cornerbacks
  • Chuck Martin – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
  • Tony Alford – Running Backs and Slot Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
  • Scott Booker – Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator
  • Mike Denbrock – Outside Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator
  • Bob Elliott – Safeties
  • Mike Elston – Defensive Line
  • Harry Hiestand – Offensive Line/Running Game Coordinator
  • Josh Reardon – Graduate Assistant for Defense
  • Pat Welsh – Graduate Assistant for Offense
  • Bill Brechin – Intern for Offense
  • David Grimes – Intern for Defense