It didn’t take long for the first bit of bad news to hit Notre Dame this off-season with reports of running backs coach Tony Alford leaving Notre Dame to be the assistant head coach and running backs coach at Ohio State.
Just days after Alford’s recruitment of Dexter Williams led the talented Florida running back to Notre Dame on Signing Day, he decided to leave Notre Dame after six years for the same position at Ohio State under Urban Meyer marking the third different assistant coach to leave Notre Dame to join Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton who left following the 2012 season.
Williams, one of Notre Dame’s big wins on Signing Day initially posted some comments on Twitter voicing his disappointment with Alford leaving stating that he felt betrayed, but shortly after posted his affirmation of his decision to choose Notre Dame.
This ND Support Tho >>>>
— iGotJuice (@DexterW_22) February 7, 2015
Alford was the only hold over coach from the Charlie Weis regime five years ago when Brian Kelly took over the reigns of the program. Over his six seasons at Notre Dame Alford developed a reputation for being a top notch recruiter and was placed in charge of Florida and its hot bed of talent.
Perhaps the most impressive recruiting job Alford ever did at Notre Dame was getting Louis Nix to commit to Notre Dame in December 2009 while his status was still in limbo with Notre Dame as the University was in search of a head coach. Nix, who turned out to be an invaluable member of Notre Dame’s 2012 national title runner up team, selected Notre Dame over Miami even without a head coach in place because of the recruiting job of Alford.
This past season Alford was the lead recruiter for both Williams and early enrollee Tevon Coney – two of the most instrumental recruits in the entire class. Two years ago Aflord also led the charge for Notre Dame landing both Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston.
As a position coach at Notre Dame, Aflord has coach both running backs and wide receivers over his six years with the program.
Notre Dame will now have to replace three position coaches with quarterback coach Matt LaFleur leaving Notre Dame for the same position with the Atlanta Falcons and defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks taking the same role with Oklahoma.
Multiple reports have stated that former Notre Dame great Todd Lyght will replace Cooks, but no official announcement has been made by the University.
On the recruiting front, Notre Dame will need to replace its lead recruiters in the pivotal states of Florida and Texas.