Now that the dust has settled from Brian Kelly’s controversial exit from one of the most prestigious gigs in all of sports, one thing is abundantly clear: The Fighting Irish will have their second Black head coach in the history of the school.
Per ESPN, Marcus Freeman, who previously served as the team’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, has been lauded for his innate ability to connect with players. He’s also pretty damn good at his job, as evidenced by the fact that the Irish held their final four opponents to a grand total of 23 points—including a shutout of Georgia Tech.
And while he might be one of the youngest coaches in the history of the school at all of 35 years old, it’s abundantly clear that both players and staff are excited to be under the former NFL player’s stewardship.
Don’t believe me? Watch this:
“It is an honor to be named the head coach of Notre Dame Football,” Freeman said in a statement. “I am eternally grateful to both Father [John] Jenkins and [athletic director] Jack Swarbrick for giving me the opportunity to lead the exceptional men who make this program what it is. Notre Dame is a very special place and I look forward to pursuing a national championship with the most outstanding student-athletes, coaches, and staff in college football.”
For those wondering if Freeman’s promotion was expected after Kelly pissed off the entire state of Indiana when he abruptly took $100 million of LSU’s money and ran, the former Fighting Irish head coach took a glance in his crystal ball back in July and prophesied this very thing happening.
“My defensive coordinator is Black,” Kelly said. “And he’s going to be the next head coach.”
SPOILER WARNING: He was right.
Sadly, Freeman’s hiring does not signal the end of racism in America, nor does it mean Black coaches still won’t get left on read when they express their interest in other head coaching opportunities. (Ask Eric Bieniemy, the Susan Lucci of this “all my life I had to fight” football shit.) But what makes Freeman’s hiring particularly interesting is that he isn’t inheriting the reins of some forlorn reclamation project (you know, like just about every other Black assistant who becomes a head coach); it’s that Notre Dame is primed and ready for a College Football Playoff push in the very near future.
That’s kind of a big deal, and could (America has taught me to temper my expectations, but I’m trying here) lead to some much-needed progress in regard to diversity within the college coaching ranks.
And for those saying Freeman is too young to do the job, here’s your cordial invitation to shut that shit alllllllll the way up:
Congratulations are in order to Mr. Marcus Freeman, and I look forward to watching you bring Black excellence to the sidelines.