Dear Notre Dame,
It’s funny how life works out.
I visited this university for the first time when I was about 16 or 17 years old and was recruited to play here. I had a choice to make, and in the end what it came down to was Ohio State or Notre Dame. And I chose Ohio State. I loved Tyrone Willingham. I thought he was a great coach, and to be honest, he reminded me a bit of my father.
Fast-forward to last year, and you might have heard that I was being considered for a couple of coaching jobs. During that time, me and my wife, Joanna, took a trip down to Louisiana and then up here to South Bend — and when we got back home, it was another tough decision. I can’t tell you exactly what it was that told us to come to Notre Dame, but there was something. We all know there’s something different about Notre Dame. We all know it’s something special. And I just thank God that I didn’t make the wrong decision twice.
Now, I know our community and our fans didn’t expect to get their head coach changed in Week 13 of the season, but that’s our reality, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins for their faith in me to step into this role.
I could tell you 100 ways that I understand how special this place is, that I understand this football team, and that I know what it takes to win a National Championship.
But I’ve learned something valuable in my career as a coach: It isn’t always about what you say. At the end of the day, it’s about the impact of what you do and how you make people feel.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten is that you have to be yourself.Marcus Freeman
I think back to my high school defensive coordinator. His name was Pat Wood, an older guy, probably in his sixties back when he was coaching me. He was old school. Tough, demanding….. not a big fan of…