The University of Notre Dame announced today that 1994 graduate Bryant Young has accepted a position on the Irish coaching staff as a defensive graduate assistant.
Young, who turned 37 on Tuesday, played defensive tackle for four years at Notre Dame from 1990-93 and was named a First Team All-American as a senior in 1993. Young started 30 games and finished his career with 176 tackles, 22.5 behind the line of scrimmage and 18 sacks. The Irish went 40-8-1 in Young's four years in South Bend.
"I'm very excited that Bryant has decided to return home to Notre Dame," Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis said in a statement. "We're not just adding a future NFL Hall of Famer to our program, we're adding a Hall of Fame person. I look forward to establishing a long and lasting relationship with Bryant and his family."
Young was equally excited about his new opportunity. His wife, Kristen also graduated from Notre Dame in 1994 and the couple has four children: Kai, Colby, Kennedy and Bryce.
"I'd first like to thank Coach Weis for giving Kristen and me this chance to return to Notre Dame and introduce our four children to the Notre Dame spirit," Young said in a statement. "Notre Dame is a very special place that is near and dear to the hearts of my wife and me."
Young replaces Patrick Graham who was a graduate assistant for two seasons before becoming the defensive line coach at the University of Toledo in January. The Irish are still looking for an offensive graduate assistant to replace KiJuan Ware, who joined Mike Haywood's staff at Miami (Ohio).
After graduating from Notre Dame, Young played 14 seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. Young started more games for the 49ers (208) than any other player in franchise history except Jerry Rice (224). Young was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and finished his career with 89.5 sacks. Young retired after the 2007 season and was carried off the field by his teammates after his final home game.
"When I retired from the 49ers in 2007 I wanted to get away from everything and clear my head before deciding what I wanted to do with my life," said Young. "The game of football and thoughts of coaching never escaped me though. I explored options other than coaching but quickly found that I had a strong desire to be on the field and around the game."
When the chance to return to Notre Dame came up, Young knew it was something to think about.
"When Coach Weis presented me this unique opportunity I knew it warranted serious consideration," said Young. "It's not often that chances like this come around and the ability to work with kids and hopefully make an impact on their lives really interested me.
"My family and I had a wonderful 14 years in California but coming back to Notre Dame was a no-brainer because opportunities like this don't present themselves everyday. I can't wait to get back to Notre Dame and start this new chapter in my life."
Young is a native of Chicago Heights, Ill. and graduated from Bloom Township High School.