Sources have told ESPN that Cincinnati Bengals assistant assistant Al Golden has accepted the job to become Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator. He has agreed to a three-year deal, which sources say should be finalized in the coming days.
Golden is a longtime college veteran giving first-year coach Marcus Freeman a veteran soundboard. Golden spent 10 years as the college’s head coach from 2006 to 2015, moving 59-59 during his tenures at Temple and Miami, and has a reputation as an influential recruiter in the Northeast.
The appointment is complemented by Marcus Freeman’s field training staff, which included seven of the 10 new assistants. Golden’s appointment represents the only employee with significant training experience at the major college.
Notre Dame sports director Jack Swarbrick has some familiarity with Golden, interviewing him for the top job at Notre Dame in 2009 after Charlie Weiss was fired. The Irish ended up appointing Brian Kelly, who replaced Freeman in December.
Golden, 52, has spent the past six years as an NFL assistant with the Lions and Bengals, transitioning to professional football after being fired in Miami. He coached the Bengals quarterback players and was seen as a key component of the franchise’s Super Bowl staff.
Golden has received interest back in college for the past few seasons, with schools courting him as a candidate to be head coach and coordinator. The opportunity at Notre Dame suits Golden, a former Penn State captain from New Jersey who has come into the profession during his stints as an assistant coach at Virginia, Boston College and Penn State.
Golden went 32-25 during his five seasons in Miami, including a run for seventh in the country in 2013. Golden’s time in the Temple revival is remembered with greater fondness in college football, where he delivered one of the great transformations of the modern era of sports.
When Golden took over at Temple, the school was independent after being expelled from the Big East. The Owls ended up at the MAC center, going 17-8 in his last two years, and he has emerged as one of the most respected coaches in the country.
The Golden Temple staff included Carolina coach Matt Roll and Ohio State coach Ryan Day, and his tenure laid the foundation for both Steve Adazio and Roll to succeed as coaches there. Golden’s work led to his induction into the Temple Hall of Fame.
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