Tony Alford Leaving Notre Dame for Ohio State

Tony Alford - Notre Dame RB Coach
Notre Dame runnings back coach added another back to the Irish stable on Monday in Josh Adams (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

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.

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.

Where Does Brian Kelly Have Notre Dame Football Headed?

On the recruiting front, Notre Dame will need to replace its lead recruiters in the pivotal states of Florida and Texas.


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  1. Evan 4 years ago

    This is a short term blow, no doubt. But it’s not the end of the world. As good as Alford was in recruiting, ND was top 15, not top 5. Lateral moves are a bit concerning, but the reality we all have to face is that Alford was looking to get HC opportunities, so 1) he wasn’t going to be here for infinity anyway, and 2) going to OSU puts him closer to a HC position in the next 2-3 years as they are primes for another NC run next year. Next man (men) in!

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  2. Shazamrock 4 years ago

    I always liked Tony Alford.
    He’s dedicated, a hard worker, and an outstanding recruiter.

    A couple of years back he was able to persuade a fine 5 star running back by the name of Greg Bryant out of Florida to come up north and join the Irish. As a 5 star Bryant was heavily recruited by every major program, especially those in his home state, so that was a great job by Tony.

    Now I understand in Bryant’s first year he suffered an injury which he had to rehab from and it set his development back a bit.

    But I would be lying if I said that Bryant met expectations in 2014. (or even came close)

    How many times did we all read, here, about Bryant dancing around too much, or not hitting the hole, or not running north and south enough, or missing his blocks?

    Nuff said.

    I wish Tony all the best.

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  3. bj 4 years ago

    how about lou as head recruiter, nobody knows the message better,with a young blond assistant

    who recruits for usc, bama, clemson, etc

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  4. bj 4 years ago

    One of those decisions may have already been made. Irish Illustrated also reported on Saturday that former Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn will replace LaFleur as quarterbacks coach. Quinn served as Kelly’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at their stops at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati

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  5. Damian 4 years ago

    Big loss for ND. Alford was a good coach, yes. But ND can get someone to coach RB’s that could do just as well. The big loss is no doubt on recruiting. That is where he had a special gift. That is what will be especially hard to replace. Not sure how invested BK was in Alford as he was not his man. Since Alford was there for 5 years under BK I have to believe they had a good working relationship though. Alford probably could have been a good OC as well, but then they might have risked losing Denbrock, another good coach and recruiter who I would hate to lose. At the end of the day, Denbrock was probably closer to BK.

    Losing Alford to a lateral move is concerning though. I mean, if he were becoming an OC at Ohio State, that’s one thing. I really can’t begrudge a man for seeking a promotion. But a lateral.

    I’ve said all along, while I still think BK is likely the man to bring ND back, he needs to look at himself too. Are there things he can improve on? I’m a NY Giants fan and I saw Tom Coughlin do some self reflection back in 2007-2008. He changed some things within himself and the Giants went on to win a Superbowl. BK should do the same thing. He made some adjustments in 2012 that led us to being in the NC game–we just learned we need a bigger O-line to complete which they are actively pursuing. There are undoubtedly other things that can be done and I hope he does.

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    1. Shazamrock 4 years ago

      For the last 3 years Tony Alford has been ND’s recruiting coordinator.

      That’s a huge, full time job, with huge responsibilities.

      The guy probably wanted to go back to just coaching and leave the lead recruiting job to someone else so he could spend more time with his family.

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