New Notre Dame HC Marcus Freeman Says He'll Never Take Role 'for Granted'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2021

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 02: Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebackers coach Marcus Freeman looks on during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 2, 2021, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Marcus Freeman is prepared to make a seamless transition as the new head coach of the Notre Dame football team.

The 35-year-old discussed his new job at Monday's introductory press conference.

"I'm ready," he told reporters. "I'm ready to lead this program."

"The chance to lead the football program at the University of Notre Dame is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I'll never take that for granted," he added.

The coach also broke down his plans to lead the team to success:

Tyler Horka @tbhorka

Marcus Freeman's "Golden Standard"<br><br>1. Challenge Everything - a mentality to find a better way<br>2. Unit Strength - turning players in to a team<br>3. Competitive spirit - creating a winner's mindset<br><br>"This is the standard that will drive this program to a 12th national championship."

Kyle Kelly @ByKyleKelly

Freeman on the attributes he looks for in assistant coaches: <br><br>“You have got to be a relentless recruiter. If you can’t recruit, you’re probably not going to be the best for our university and our team.”

Patrick Engel @PatrickEngel_

Freeman on his invovlement with recruits as the HC:<br><br>“I better be the No. 1 recruiter. I better be the lead recruiter in every kid we recruit."

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick opened the press conference by explaining his reasoning for selecting Freeman:

Megan Smedley @Megan_WNDU

Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says Marcus Freeman “won” the job.<br><br>Says he met with the seven captains last Tuesday. <br><br>The captains insisted that they had built the best culture in college football.<br><br>Says they conveyed the message, “Jack, don’t screw this up.”

Tyler Horka @tbhorka

Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick: Marcus Freeman is the "perfect guardian" of Fighting Irish football culture.

Freeman takes over for Brian Kelly, who surprisingly left to fill the head coaching vacancy at LSU. 

The team announced Freeman would be elevated to the lead role, a move that got a lot of support in the locker room:

Notre Dame Football @NDFootball

a player's coach<a href="https://twitter.com/Marcus_Freeman1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Marcus_Freeman1</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoIrish?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoIrish</a> <a href="https://t.co/pf9E1OygA8">pic.twitter.com/pf9E1OygA8</a>

The former Ohio State linebacker was in his first year as the Notre Dame defensive coordinator, helping the team go 11-1 while finishing No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff ranking. The defense ranked ninth in the country with just 18.3 points allowed per game and is among the top 10 nationally in sacks (40) and interceptions (15).

Prior to his time with the Fighting Irish, Freeman served as a defensive coordinator with Cincinnati and Purdue.