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The Journal Gazette

Monday, January 09, 2017 12:19 pm

Irish announce hiring of coordinator Chip Long

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame made official Monday the hiring of Memphis offensive coordinator Chip Long to the same position.

Here is the text of the news release from the Irish:

Chip Long, instrumental in the development of dynamic offenses over his entire coaching career, most recently as offensive coordinator at Memphis, has been named offensive coordinator for the University of Notre Dame.

“It’s an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to serve as the offensive coordinator at the University of Notre Dame,” Long said. “The challenge to lead at a university with such high standards is incredibly motivating. I’m very grateful to Brian Kelly and Jack Swarbrick for extending this opportunity.

“It’s Notre Dame: the values, the culture and the leadership. My wife, Kari, and I are excited to move to South Bend and to join the Notre Dame family.”

“Chip will be given the full responsibility to call plays in 2017,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “His offense at Memphis displayed a unique blend of physicality, athleticism, versatility and explosiveness. Chip’s play-calling created mismatches all over the field and did it in a number of different ways. He likes to use players who can fill numerous roles in an array of formations, whether that be two and three tight ends or multiple running backs.

“Chip has experience coaching at almost every position on the offensive side of the ball. He’s worked for and learned from some of the most respected offensive minds in college football -- Bobby Petrino, Mike Norvell and Jeff Brohm -- to name a few.”

Long, comes to Notre Dame after one season as the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Memphis. In 2016, the Tigers ranked among the top 20 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in passing offense (304.4, 14th), scoring offense (38.8, 16th), completion percentage (.635, 17th), passing efficiency (152.53, 19th) and first downs gained (303, 20th). Memphis was one of six FBS teams to rank in the top 20 in each of those offensive categories last season.

Prior to his tenure at Memphis, Long spent four seasons at Arizona State (2012-15) as the recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach. He also coached the Sun Devils running backs in 2015. He worked closely with then Sun Devils offensive coordinator and now Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. The Sun Devils averaged 37 points a game, finished with consecutive 10-win seasons (2013, 2014), earned a pair of top-25 finishes in the national polls and won the 2013 Pac-12 South crown.

Long’s direction and guidance played a significant role in the development of Arizona State tight end Chris Coyle, the school’s top performer at the position this decade. In his senior season of 2013, Coyle finished third in the nation among tight ends with 4.38 receptions per game, averaged 14.6 yards per catch and caught four touchdowns. He finished his Sun Devil career third on the program’s all-time list for most receptions by a tight end (92) while his nine touchdown grabs tied for fourth in ASU history among tight ends.

In his first season in Tempe (2012), Long made an immediate impact as Coyle set the single-season school record for most receptions by a tight end with a team-leading 57 catches and was one touchdown shy (five) of tying the school’s single-season record for touchdown receptions by a tight end.

Long was also recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters by both Rivals and 247Sports in 2015. Rivals listed Long as one of the top recruiters in the Pac-12 from 2012-14. He served as the lead recruiter for wide receiver Jaelen Strong, who earned 2014 ESPN All-America first-team accolades and was a 2015 NFL third-round draft selection by the Houston Texans.

Long has also coached at Illinois, Arkansas and Louisville.

Long served as the tight ends/fullbacks coach with the Fighting Illini for two seasons (2010-11). In his first season with Illinois, Long was given the task of molding tight ends and fullbacks out of a roster that was largely designed to run the spread offense. True freshmen Evan Wilson and Jay Prosch thrived under his tutelage, with Wilson starting 11 games at tight end and Prosch starting seven at fullback. Long’s coaching was instrumental as Prosch eventually developed into a Pro Football Weekly first-team All-American in 2011.

Long coached the Razorback tight ends as an offensive graduate assistant for two years (2008-09). He helped develop tight end D.J. Williams, who in 2008, became the first Mackey Award semifinalist in Arkansas history. Williams had a record-breaking season that saw him garner All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors. He led the Razorbacks in both receptions (61) and receiving yards (723). Williams was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2009 and ultimately captured the 2010 Mackey Award as the nation’s most outstanding tight end.

Long worked with wide receivers and quarterbacks as a member of Louisville’s staff as an offensive graduate assistant for two years (2006-07). The 2006 Cardinals squad posted a 12-1 overall record and a 6-1 Big East mark. Louisville won the Big East title and earned a spot in the 2007 Orange Bowl, where it posted a 24-13 victory over No. 15 Wake Forest. The Cardinals were ranked No. 5 (AP)/No. 6 (coaches) in the final national polls.

Three times in his career, Long played an integral role in developing an offense that finished among the nation’s top 10 in scoring offense. Furthermore, a Long-associated offense has ranked among the nation’s top 20 in scoring offense in seven of his 11 seasons as a collegiate coach.

Long earned his bachelor’s degree in history with dual minors in psychology and business administration from the University of North Alabama. Long, a wide receiver/tight end for the Lions from 2002-05, earned first-team All-America honors as a senior. In 2010, Long was named to the Gulf South Conference All-Decade Team at tight end.

Long and his wife, Kari, welcomed daughter Lyla in June of 2016.