NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three coaches with a combined 43 years of coaching experience with backgrounds in recruiting California, Florida and Chicago have been added to the University of Notre Dame football coaching staff, Irish head coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday.
Former Indiana State associate head coach Mike Denbrock will coach Notre Dame's tight ends, former Cincinnati assistant head coach Mike Elston will work with the Irish defensive line and former Grand Valley State head coach Chuck Martin will oversee Notre Dame's defensive backs.
"I'm excited to welcome Mike Denbrock, Mike Elston and Chuck Martin to the Notre Dame coaching staff," Kelly said. "Because these guys have worked with me in the past, all three guys understand the importance of player development and we share the same philosophies for making our team better. They each will be valuable recruiters for us as we put together a staff that will be able to cover the country and attract some of the best talent available."
Denbrock has spent five of the past nine seasons coaching in the Pacific-10 Conference and developing recruiting connections on the West Coast. Sandwiched between his stops at Stanford (2001) and Washington (2005-08), Denbrock coached the offensive tackles and tight ends at Notre Dame (2002-04).
While at Notre Dame, Denbrock directly coached seven players eventually drafted into the National Football League. He first met Kelly in 1987 when the two were graduate assistants at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. Kelly later served as the Lakers' head coach and Denbrock was on his coaching staff from 1992-98, serving as the offensive coordinator from 1992-95.
"Mike Denbrock will coach our tight ends which is a great fit because he played the position in college and has a familiarity with our offense," Kelly said. "I always believe that anyone who has played the position brings a perspective that is hard to duplicate. Combining that with the knowledge he gained of my offensive system as a coordinator for me in the past will help make him a great coach for us.
"Where he could really pay dividends for Notre Dame is on the recruiting trail. Mike will be our lead West Coast recruiter and that fits him well considering he has recently spent five years at schools in the Pac-10 developing relationships with high school programs. That is a competitive part of the country when it comes to recruiting and I'm excited to see him represent us out there."
Elston has been a member of Kelly¹s coaching staff the last six seasons and was promoted to assistant head coach at Cincinnati following the 2008 campaign. Elston, who played collegiately at Michigan, has developed a two-time All-American, multiple all-conference players and has coaching experience as a special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
Last year with the Bearcats, Elston's defensive line recorded 25.5 sacks alone, more than 63 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, including Notre Dame. He was a top recruiter for Cincinnati in the state of Florida and will continue that role for the Irish.
"Mike Elston has been with me the past six years and has seen how important it is to develop your players," Kelly said. "He knows the defensive system we plan to implement and will be a tremendous asset to our defensive linemen. Mike was also instrumental in our special teams success at Cincinnati and became one of the top special teams coaches in the country.
"He was our top recruiter in the state of Florida and Mike will have a prominent role in that state along with Tony Alford. We'll define the rest of Mike's recruiting roles at a later time, but he will certainly assist Tony with all of the talent in Florida."
Martin joins the Irish after serving as head coach at Grand Valley State since 2004. With the Lakers, he won 74 of 81 games (.914) and posted the second-best winning percentage of any active coach – regardless of NCAA division. Martin guided Grand Valley State to the NCAA Division II national championship game three times, winning the title in 2005 and 2006.
He was first hired by Kelly at Grand Valley State as the Lakers' defensive backs coach in 2000 and was later promoted to defensive coordinator. Martin was raised in suburban Chicago and has many recruiting ties throughout Chicago and the Midwest.
"Chuck Martin's resume as a head coach speaks for itself," Kelly said. "He has experienced unparalleled success and maximized his player¹s ability at Grand Valley State. I expect that to continue at Notre Dame. Chuck started with me as a defensive backs coach, and I was always impressed with his ability to teach the fundamentals and develop defensive backs' technique.
"Since Chuck is a native Chicagoan, it only makes sense to have him serve as our lead recruiter in that area. Chicago is one of our base areas that we have to be able to recruit. Chuck knows the high school coaches in Chicago and will be a great fit there as we look to build a solid recruiting base in Chicago and the Midwest."
The remainder of the Notre Dame coaching staff will be announced at a later date.