Shortly after news broke that Bob Diaco would be leaving Notre Dame to be the next head coach at UConn, it was reported that Diaco had plans on offering Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston his defensive coordinator. That doesn’t appear to be the case according to a tweet from Elston and a report from the SBT.
Up until yesterday it was unclear what Elston’s future held. Saturday night though he sent out a tweet that left little for interpretation.
Staying at ND. Love thee Notre Dame. Go Irish.— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) December 14, 2013
Further some further confirmation, Brian Kelly told the South Bend Tribune on Saturday that he expects to keep all of his assistants other than his coordinators – both of whom have already accepted head coaching positions this off-season.
For Notre Dame, keeping Elston is huge. With the loss of both coordinators there is going to be a lot of new faces on the staff next year – even if Kelly were to promote from within for his coordinators – losing another assistant would have made it even tougher to retain the current recruiting class and close it out strong. Elston is a dynamite recruiter for the Irish and if Kelly were to lose him from his defensive staff, it would have made it challenging to keep all of the defensive commitments on board.
Luckily for the Irish it sounds like Elston will be staying on board with the Irish and there is still the possibility that he will get promoted to defensive coordinator after the bowl game even though Kerry Cooks will be serving as interim coordinator for the Pinstripe Bowl. In the same SBT article reference before, Kelly said that while having coordinator experience would be ideal, it would not be a mandatory requirement as he looks to replace both Bob Daico and Chuck Martin.
Speaking of Diaco, the now former defensive coordinator was back on campus at the end of the week to address the defensive and explain why to some players why he left suddenly and unexpectedly. Given some of the reactions that appeared on Twitter – some of which were quickly deleted – having Diaco back to talk with the team was a great idea and a good way for him to say goodbye to a group of players he has spent so much time with over the last four years.
There haven’t been any substantial rumors regarding replacements for either Diaco or Martin yet, but don’t expect Kelly to bring in someone with a radically different offensive or defensive system. Notre Dame has spent the last four years recruiting for a specific defense and has a deep roster recruited for that system. Whoever replaces Diaco will be expected to run a similar style.