Safeties coach Bob Elliott arrived at Notre Dame before this season with all of the credentials needed to believe it was a good hire.
He spent 29 of his 33 seasons coaching defense, primarily working with defensive backs, and he was a defensive coordinator for a combined 11 years at San Diego State, Kansas State, Iowa and Ball State.
Elliott also had a longstanding relationship with co-defensive coordinators Bob Diaco and Kerry Cooks.
Both Irish assistants played for Iowa when Elliott worked there, and Diaco was a graduate assistant under Elliott in 1996 and 1997.
Elliott said it wasn't a hard transition to work alongside two players he had helped mentor earlier in their careers.
"It wasn't hard at all because I've been in close touch with Kerry and Bob over the years," Elliott said. "I've seen how they have grown even before I got here.
"They were really good as young coaches, but they've grown so far from that to the point now that they're at the top of the profession. I knew that was happening from afar, because I would spend a lot of time with them whenever I could.
"When I came in here I had great respect for what they are today, not what they were. I think that's the key element.
"If you are with a guy as a player or a graduate assistant and then don't pay any attention to what they are doing for the next 15 years, it may be hard for you to realize they are not the same guy. But I knew these guys had grown."