Notre Dame Football: Examining the Coaching Staff and Brian Kelly's Options

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Notre Dame Football: Examining the Coaching Staff and Brian Kelly's Options
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to preparing his team for the Pinstripe Bowl and finalizing a recruiting class, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly needs to replace both of his coordinators.

The departure of Chuck Martin to Miami (Ohio) and Bob Diaco to UConn leaves Kelly with some intriguing options. He could fill vacancies by promoting capable assistants from within or reach outside his program and make a splashy hire. 

For those worried about Kelly's ability to adapt and replace two trusted lieutenants, consider that every coordinator he's had in the last five years has become a head coach. First it was offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn, who left Cincinnati for the Buffalo head coaching job. Two offseasons ago, Charley Molnar left the Irish to lead UMass into the FBS level. Now Martin and Diaco get their shot at running a program.

While the Irish head coach demands loyalty from his assistants, he also knows that success in South Bend brings opportunities for his staff.

"I know that my coaches won't leave for lateral moves. They'll have to be leadership positions," Kelly said last week. "So I'm certain of that. But if there's a head job out there that makes sense for one of the assistant coaches, I'd look at them. I have really good football coaches.

"You never know. But, as I said, my guys aren't out sending resumes looking for jobs. If the right situation comes along, all these guys, especially the ones that have been with me a long time, they know what it looks like. They'd be great at running programs." 

Because Kelly has had such success priming assistants, expect the open positions on his staff to be coveted. 

Let's walk through the head coach's options on both sides of the ball as well as some of the candidates Kelly is likely vetting.

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