Copyright by Global Electronics Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes.Com™
January 8, 2002
Mattison Out of Limbo
By The IrishEyes.Com News Service
NOTRE DAME, IN (IE) – There was solid news on the defensive front Monday.
New head football coach Tyrone Willingham has retained Greg Mattison to coach the defensive line. To the players, Mattison was one of the most popular assistants on the Irish staff. The 52-year-old will almost certainly be the only holdover from Bob Davie's staff to be kept by Willingham.
Mattison, 52, will work under new defensive coordinator Kent Baer, Willingham's defensive coordinator at Stanford the last three years.
"I have known Kent for a while," Mattison told Al Lesar of the South Bend Tribune on Monday. "He ran a program where he would set up tripss for coaches to Japan…I spent a week with him and got to know him pretty well."
Mattison and Baer received some terrific news later in the day when St. Paul, Minnesota recruit Marcus Freeman committed to the Irish. The 6-3, 230-pound linebacker was a first team All-State selection and IrishEyes' recruiting guru Chris Pool considers him to be one of the best prospects in the Midwest. See Pool's complete report on Freeman on the IrishEyes home page.
Notre Dame cannot announce any other assistant coach hirings until their paperwork is processed by Human Resources, but it's safe to report that four of Willingham's Stanford assistants are already on the job: Buzz Preston (running backs), Mike Denbrock (tight ends and tackles), John McDonnell (centers and guards) and Phil Zacharias (defensive ends).
Defensive coordinator Baer, like his offensive counterpart Bill Diedrick, has spent his entire playing and coaching career West of the Mississippi, having played and coached at Utah State, before moving on to Idaho, California, Arizona State and Stanford. Their biggest adjustment is getting used to the sun rising in South Bend at 8 a.m. this time of year.
In a final piece of football news on Monday, it was revealed that the proposed Aug. 25 date for the Kickoff Classic between Notre Dame and Maryland will need to be changed. The 25th is Freshmen Orientation Day on campus and all freshmen must attend.
The teams and Kickoff Classic organizers have targeted Aug. 31 as a potential new date.
(For feedback on IrishEyes' editorial coverage contact Managing Editor Alan Tieuli at firstname.lastname@example.org)