New Notre Dame Coaching Staff Takes Shape

Michael CollinsAnalyst IJanuary 20, 2009

Last week, Notre Dame announced the hiring of Frank Verducci, veteran offensive line coach from the NFL with the Browns, Bills, Cowboys, and Bengals.  Verducci also spent nine years on Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff.

Verducci said, "I'm very excited for this opportunity and am grateful to Coach Weis.  Notre Dame is the one college job I pursued and is the only school I considered leaving the NFL for.”

Today, Notre Dame announced the hiring of Tony Alford, running backs coach (pictured above).  Alford replaces Mike Haywood, who left to become the new head coach of Miami (Ohio).  Alford has 14 years experience as RB coach, with the last two years at Louisville and five years prior at Iowa State.

According to Weis, "In talking with several sources at the college and NFL levels for suggestions, the first name that came up was Tony's. He came highly recommended because of his tremendous reputation as both a running backs coach and as a recruiter and is a great addition to our program.”

Alford expressed his pleasure at joining Notre Dame: "Notre Dame is the epitome of college football.  To join a place with the tradition and history of Notre Dame is very exciting, and I'm grateful to Coach Weis for extending me this tremendous opportunity.

"I have several people in my life that I greatly respect and use as sounding boards for important life decisions such as changing jobs. When this position opened, I counseled with those individuals, and they were as enthusiastic about this opportunity as I am. I am very flattered that Coach Weis considered me for this post, and my family and I are thrilled to join the Notre Dame family."

Two graduate assistant positions may have some star power names.  Former Notre Dame All-American lineman Bryant Young, who enjoyed a 14-year All-Pro career with the San Francisco 49ers, has, according to Irish Illustrated, agreed verbally to the position of assisting coaching the defensive line.

Tim Grunhard, another former Notre Dame player and an ex-Kansas City Chief, will interview for the position today of assisting in coaching the offensive line.  At Notre Dame, Grunhard anchored an offensive line that went 24-1 in his junior and senior years, including the classic 1988 Miami game.  He was the fourth offensive lineman taken in the 1990 NFL draft, anchored one of the best offensive lines in the NFL for eleven years and played in the Pro Bowl once.  Grunhard is currently head coach at Bishop Miege High School in Kansas City.

We’ll have to wait on formal announcements for those.  The defensive line coach position has yet to be filled by Weis.