Skip to main content

Breaking: Notre Dame, Marcus Freeman make choice on defensive assistant

Notre Dame is preparing to look internally to complete its defensive staff.

Multiple sources tell FootballScoop that the Fighting Irish are poised to make Chris O'Leary their new safeties coach to replace Terry Joseph, the popular former Notre Dame assistant now on Steve Sarkisian's first-year Texas staff.

A Terre Haute, Indiana, native, who played collegiate football at Indiana State, O'Leary has served as a graduate assistant on the defensive staff for the Fighting Irish in recent years.

Per sources with direct knowledge, Notre Dame conducted multiple in-house and exterior interviews in recent weeks before it settled on O'Leary as the final staff piece for new first-year defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.

The Irish conducted both in-person and Zoom interviews in the preceding weeks, sources told FootballScoop.

Freeman was hired in January to replace the departed Clark Lea after Lea accepted the head coaching position at his alma mater, Vanderbilt.

Both Freeman and Lea were 2020 Frank Broyles Award finalists, the honor given annually to college football's top assistant coach.

After a standout career at North Vigo High School (Indiana), O'Leary was a contributing wide receiver for Indiana State.

O'Leary has previous coaching stops at both Georgia State and Florida Tech in addition to his graduate assistant work at Notre Dame.