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The Journal Gazette

Friday, December 30, 2016 3:28 pm

Reports: Notre Dame hires Chip Long as offensive coordinator

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

Memphis offensive coordinator Chip Long has accepted the same position at Notre Dame, according to multiple reports Friday.

He would replace Mike Sanford Jr., who after two seasons as Irish offensive coordinator was hired as coach at Western Kentucky.

Long also coached tight ends in his only season at Memphis and could fill the void left when Irish coach Brian Kelly fired tight ends coach Scott Booker. Notre Dame is giving Long a three-year contract, Fox Sports reported, citing an unnamed source.

Memphis went 8-4 in the regular season but lost 51-31 to Western Kentucky in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 20. Long's offense finished the 13-game schedule averaging 463.7 yards and 38.8 points a game, ranking in the top 35 nationally in each category.

The Irish's offensive braintrust was a three-man operation the past two years among Kelly, Sanford and associate head coach Mike Denbrock, but Denbrock reportedly is leaving Notre Dame to be offensive coordinator at Cincinnati, so the onus was on Kelly to make an outside hire to help him oversee his program's offensive strategy and development.

Prior to joining the Tigers, Long was tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona State from 2012-15 and tight ends and fullbacks coach at Illinois from 2010-11. 

After graduating in 2005 from North Alabama, where he was an All-Gulf South Conference pass-catcher, Long spent four years as a graduate assistant under Bobby Petrino, two at Louisville and two at Arkansas.

As important as his résumé is the fact Long carries a strong reputation as a recruiter, something that undoubtedly appealed to Kelly, who would like to have an Alabama native in his early 30s such as Long who could potentially make recruiting inroads in the South.