After losing its defensive coordinator to the Florida State Seminoles, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are expected to promote linebackers coach Clark Lea to the position.
Mike Elko, who is now with the Texas A&M Aggies, was the previous Irish defensive coordinator. He left South Bend despite Brian Kelly believing he would stick around.
“At first glance, yeah, I think you’re always on guard [about losing a coach], especially the defensive coordinator position,” Kelly said on December 26. “Mike came in, did a really good job. His name was out there, but he’s gonna be here at Notre Dame.”
Obviously, Kelly was wrong.
Lea has been coaching football since 2006, but has never held a position for a team with this much responsibility. In fact, since 2010, he’s been a linebackers coach for several different programs.
There is a direct connection between losing Elko and then promoting within, though. Lea came to Notre Dame following a one-year stint as linebackers coach at Wake Forest, alongside Elko.
At the time of this writing, there hasn’t been an official announcement by the university. Considering how quickly the offseason moves, and how impacting a coordinator can be on the recruiting trail, fully expect an official statement to be released soon.