Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator, Marcus Freeman, sends an outbound message to the Cincinnati Bearcats Football Program

It was announced on Friday evening that Defense Coordinator Marcus Freeman would be leaving Cincinnati for Notre Dame. He went on Twitter Sunday afternoon to send his best wishes for the Cincinnati soccer program in a classy, ​​heartfelt message.

“As we begin our new trip to South Bend, I want to thank the many people who have influenced our lives over the past four years.

“Coach Fickell – you have been my leader and mentor since I was 17 years old. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of your co-workers and your family. You took the chance of a first-time defensive coordinator and I cannot thank you enough for your guidance, teaching and guidance. You have helped me be a better husband, father, son, coach and friend. We will miss you and your family very much. You, Amy, Landon, Ashton, Aydon, Laykon and Lucian mean the world to us, and we will keep the incredible memories we made together.

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Freeman sent a classy message to his former team on Sunday. (UC athletics)

“Coaching Staff – We were a team based on hard work, mutual collaboration and friendship. Success starts at the top and we have been blessed with the greatest leader. They are the best teammates I could ever ask for, from laughing in the locker room to late nights in the office. From the celebrations after our victories to the many stories that cannot be repeated in this letter … THANK YOU! Thanks for the memories.

“University of Cincinnati Administration – Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work at one of the largest universities in the world – and to be part of ONE TEAM! Your continued support and trust on and off the field gave me the opportunity to serve our athletes with confidence and enthusiasm.

“Bearcat fans – It’s extremely difficult to leave you. Your unwavering support and encouragement have helped make the past four years a tremendous success. You have remained committed through wins and losses and I am grateful for that. It was an honor to be part of the Bearcat family. Thank you for your trust in us!

“Current / Past Players – They are all my WHY, my motivation and my inspiration. A success has been achieved because of your sacrifice for the good of the TEAM. I’m proud of the young men you’ve become. Our relationships will last forever!

“Once a bear-cat, always a bear-cat!

“With thanks and deepest appreciation to everyone, The Freeman Family”

Struggling Irish head coach Brian Kelly convinced Freeman to come to Notre Dame and quit his job with Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell, whose name also comes up in connection with big Power Five openings and should take Freeman with him in case he lands one. Fickell turned down an offer to become the Michigan state head coach in early 2020. Freeman reportedly turned down an offer to become the Spartan’s defensive coordinator after hiring Mel Tucker as head coach.

Freeman and Fickell have largely partnered for the past two decades, starting when Freeman was a player at Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio. Fickell recruited Freeman, a highly respected linebacker, to the state of Ohio and was his position coach with the Buckeyes during Freeman’s college career from 2004 to 2008. In 2010, Fickell also gave Freeman his first coaching job as an assistant to the Ohio State Graduate.

Before the couple reunited in Cincinnati ahead of the 2017 season, Freeman was the linebacker coach at Kent State from 2011-12 and at Purdue from 2013-16. He added a co-defensive coordinator to his duties in 2016.

At Notre Dame, Freeman reunites with Irish cornerback coach Mike Mickens, who held the same role at Cincinnati from 2018-1919 and was a Freeman high school teammate.

A source told BlueandGold.com that Freeman was interviewed in person for Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator job on Jan. 5, and LSU a few days later. He was reportedly a finalist for the Illinois head coach position. His name came up in connection with searches by Defense Coordinators in Auburn, Michigan and Texas.

Freeman is the fifth defense coordinator for Kelly’s tenure as Notre Dame.

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