The rework of Notre Dame’s coaching staff should have a familiar look.
North Carolina defensive line coach Keith Gilmore is expected to leave Chapel Hill after just one season for South Bend, where he’ll reunite with head coach Brian Kelly. Their careers began together at Grand Valley State, then continued at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, where Gilmore served as assistant head coach and defensive line coach.
In South Bend he’d replace Mike Elston, who coached linebackers, tight ends and special teams at Cincinnati before taking over the defensive line in South Bend. It’s expected that Elston will return to linebackers under defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder while also taking on the role of recruiting coordinator, vacated by Tony Alford.
Reached by Irish Illustrated on Tuesday, Gilmore declined comment on his move.
“At this point I don't want to comment on that," Gilmore said. "If and when anything comes out, I'd be happy to talk with you.”
Gilmore left Cincinnati following the 2009 season for Illinois, where he spent four years before moving to North Carolina last off-season. Known more as a technician for the position than a bulldog recruiter, Tar Heels defensive lineman Tim Jackson took to Twitter when word leaked about the hire, calling Gilmore the best defensive line coach he had in Chapel Hill.
Gilmore arrived at North Carolina as part of a rework of the Tar Heels staff last off-season, one that fell flat in the fall. North Carolina ranked no better than 101st in any major defensive category, allowing 39 points and 497.8 yards per game. North Carolina jettisoned some of its defensive staff this off-season and hired Gene Chizik as coordinator, who seemed set to keep Gilmore on staff.
Instead, Kelly is primed to bring one of his trusted hands to South Bend.