Monday, February 02, 2009

Young Again | by Pat

Notre Dame is heading into Signing Day still absent a defensive line coach -- ex-Browns head coach Romeo Crennel is a rumored target according to Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune -- but they still made a move in shoring up the coaching staff along the d-line.

In what is surprising and fantastic news, Notre Dame All-American and likely NFL Hall of Famer Bryant Young has officially accepted the job of graduate assistant for the next season.

"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. "Notre Dame is a very special place that is near and dear to the hearts of my wife and me.

"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. 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 Coach Weis presented me this unique opportunity I knew it warranted serious consideration. 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."

It's great news for ND as it brings an all-star talent to help assist the coaches and while Young isn't allowed by NCAA laws to travel for recruiting purposes, he can call and field calls from recruits as well as interacting with them during visits to campus. The instant impact he'll have on the defensive line probably isn't great as he will still be the position coach's assistant and do all the dirty work that comes along with the GA job title. But it's natural to assume that this hire was made with the idea of grooming him to eventually take over a position coaching job at ND. So far it has been an effective strategy for Pete Carroll. This past season, USC's defensive line, linebackers, and secondary coaches all were previous graduate assistants at USC under Carroll.

Back to Young, Lou Somogyi over at Blue and Gold Illustrated wrote a wonderful piece on Young and his first go-round at Notre Dame. Make sure to check it out.

Charlie tried a similar approach for the offensive side of the ball, shooting for ND great Tim Grunhard as offensive graduate assistant. (Each program is allowed two graduate assistants) However, Grunhard, a high school head coach, opted to keep his family where they are for the time being.
“I have four kids who are very happy and established in the Kansas City area,” said Grunhard, who met with Charlie Weis last week to interview for the position. “Although it was a nice offer and a great presentation by the people at Notre Dame, it’s probably not the best time to do it. We thought about it long and hard.

“It’s always been my dream to coach at Notre Dame, though, and I think some day it will come to pass.”