Notre Dame Coaching Candidates: There's No Option Too Crazy

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Coaching Candidates: There's No Option Too Crazy

Notre Dame

Notre Dame Coaching Candidates: There's No Option Too Crazy


5 Top Notre Dame Head Coaching Candidates

5. Dave Clawson, Wake Forest

Here’s your head coach who actually can bring the decided schematic advantage.

All the guy has done is take Wake Forest to the ACC Championship with one of the most dynamic and fun offenses in college football.

Six straight bowl games, five winning seasons in the last six, and he has done it all at one of the toughest academic institutions in FCS college football.

4. PJ Fleck, Minnesota head coach

He’s young, he’s 100 miles per hour all the time, and he’s the hope to get another Minnesota head coach – Lou Holtz the last one – to take the Irish to a national title.

His teams have had some puzzling performances – seriously, the Bowling Green loss? – but they’ve been tough, they run well, and he’s widely seen as one of the bigger Next Job Up hires.

However, he’s very, very PJ Fleck. He might not wake up the echoes, but he’d wake up something.

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3. Matt Campbell, Iowa State head coach

You don’t come up with four straight winning seasons at Iowa State without knowing how to do something right.

Here’s the problem. He was the hot coach after last year.

This year’s Iowa State team had everyone back, it came into the season with a ton of high expectations, and it was an okay run. 7-5 was fine, but Baylor is playing for the Big 12 Championship – that’s Iowa State’s spot if it’s not Oklahoma or Texas.

He’ll eventually be a great get when he decides he’s ready to take on a bigger-name gig, but USC just got Lincoln Riley. That’s the level of sizzle the Irish base will want.

However, if the idea is to get in on the hot stock before it blows up massive …

2. Marcus Freeman, Notre Dame defensive coordinator

He’s only 35, he has never been a head coach before, and …

Try to find anyone around the Notre Dame football world that doesn’t think he’s soon going to be a superstar.

He helped make the Irish defense into a brick wall this season after helping to turn the Cincinnati D into a powerhouse under Luke Fickell.

The continuity would be there with him, the energy would be off the charts, and as long as there’s a little bit of a grace period allowed considering his lack of head coaching experience, the payoff might be there.

However, the more likely scenario is that he takes the job left open by his old boss, and the next Notre Dame head coach is …

1. Luke Fickell, Cincinnati head coach

If it’s not Oklahoma that gets Fickell, it’s Notre Dame – it’s the better fit.

Mediocre in his one year as the Ohio State head coach, he got his shot at Cincinnati, struggled for a year, and then … boom

33 wins and counting in his last four seasons, he has the program on the cusp of a historic season and a spot in the College Football Playoff, and look out if and when he gets his chance to use his recruiting skills at a place like Notre Dame.

It might take a week or so to see where Cincinnati is in the CFP picture, but he might quickly become the main target no matter what happens against Houston.


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