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After a Wild Ride, ND Has Their Man: Gerad Parker

By: Mike Stacey ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter: @MikeStaceyIT

Photo Credit: Notre Dame Athletics


Similar to Brian Kelly last offseason, Tommy Rees shocked the Notre Dame faithful when he decided to make a lateral move to Alabama for the same position he had at ND. Now, you can certainly argue that Alabama can lead to better opportunities for one's future as a coach, but this move was still surprising considering Rees was going to have a star veteran quarterback and plethora of talent to work with this season for the Irish. Nonetheless, Rees made his decision and it was not to return to South Bend.

Another off-season, another important coaching hire. This was not as monumental as last year when the Irish had to replace Kelly, but this was a huge moment for Marcus Freeman after his first year as the HC. This was a decision that could shape the direction of this program moving forward, for better or worse. At first, it seemed like Marcus Freeman and Jack Swarbrick had struck gold and would be hiring Andy Ludwig from Utah. His experience, his style, his success with the Utes lead most to believe he would be just what Notre Dame needed to take a leap forward on offense. However, as the premature celebration was taking place amongst the fan base, something odd happened. Whispers of a deal falling through due to a buyout started to flood the internet. Joy turned to rage as Irish fans simply could not accept the fact that a school like Notre Dame would be unwilling to pay a buyout for an offensive coordinator from Utah. What started as great hope and excitement quickly turned to doom and frustration as it was evident that Andy Ludwig would not be getting the job. The feeling left afterwards was one of disappointment and resentment from the Irish faithful. It seemed that Swarbrick and the administration were not committed to winning or helping Marcus Freeman, and it hurt. After MANY emails were sent to Swarbrick, he sent back a response to everyone which was, uh, not exactly well received. Regardless, he denied refusing to pay the buy out and essentially told us Ludwig made the decision to turn down the ND offer. That is up to you to believe or not, but let's move on....


Of all the reasons to be upset about what transpired, one of them was this move would put an unfair cloud over the new hires head. It seemed evident the next person for the job would be viewed as a second choice, at best. Would this deter future candidates from taking the position? Who would be left to choose from? These questions and more circulated throughout ND nation, but not for a very long time. In short order, the Irish made their decision and it was to promote from within. They chose Gerad Parker.

Gerad Parker spent this past season as the tight end coach. Parker has been coaching since 2005 including an interim head coaching position with Purdue for half a season and an offensive coordinator job at West Virginia. Unfortunately, his lone year as OC at WVU did not have much success and he was demoted the following year which ultimately lead to him coming to ND. Since he's been with Notre Dame, the reports on him have been very positive. He is a high energy guy who is well liked by his players. This should bode well on the recruiting front. Below are a couple of quotes from some incoming ND Players about coach Parker:


Cooper Flanagan: "super excited for him. I love coach parker. He is a super smart and loving guy and i can already tell he brings out the best in his boys. I trust him and really believe in him and his ability to lead this offense."

Chris Terek: "I talked to coach for the first time last week. He seems prepared, and he knows what needs to be done to have success."

This is one of the benefits of promoting a coach from within the program. He already has a relationship with the current roster, and by all accounts, it seems to be a very good one. However, your relationship with your players is one thing, being able to execute an offense is another. Will Coach Parker be able to take this talented Notre Dame roster to the next level? Will he be able to finally give us a passing game that compliments our ground attack? Only time will tell, but his first press conference certainly gave me a jolt of confidence. Parker seemed calm, confident, and has the gift of jab one certainly needs to inspire hope and confidence in young men. Similar to Marcus Freeman, listening to Parker speak simply made me believe. That is an incredibly powerful tool to have in your pocket. I am not saying coach Parker has me convinced just yet, but he certainly seems to carry the intangibles to get the job done. I for one, can't wait to find out.


 

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