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Notre Dame Embraces Marcus Freeman With Unanimous Excitement After Transformative Week – CalBearsMaven

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The door to Notre Dame’s spectacular indoor football facility opened, and Joanna Freeman led her brood out the door and into the bracing cold. Behind her trailed Vinny, Siena, Gino, Nico, Capri and Rocco, dressed in varying elements of tartan plaid, all bustling across the street as the wind howled at them from the west.

“Look at the ducklings!” Called out Pat Terrell, one of the stars of the last team to win a football national championship here. The Freemans turned, laughed, and kept scurrying in duckling formation.

Minutes earlier, the kids had been chasing each other in the end zone on the artificial turf. And minutes before that, they had watched their father, Marcus, choke up with emotion at the podium while being formally introduced as the new coach of the Fighting Irish.

The last Monday of November was tinged with bitterness and betrayal here. The first Monday of December was a warm-and-fuzzy family day—both Freemans sprawling immediate family and the Fighting Irish family at large. It was quite the transformation in a week’s time.

Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports

Rarely has Notre Dame been so likable for people not already predisposed to like Notre Dame. And rarely do you see and feel such unanimous excitement about a hire that carries no small element of risk. In introducing a charismatic people person, the Irish won the press conference Monday by as wide a margin as they usually lose College Football Playoff games.

Head coach Brian Kelly bolted, leaving a team that was still in contention for the College Football Playoff. Defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stayed to replace him. The winningest coach in school history is being succeeded by a 35-year-old rookie head coach, a daunting premise, and yet everyone here is thoroughly amped.

The current players are amped because of the continuity they helped maintain. A 45-minute meeting between the team captains and athletic director Jack Swarbrick last Tuesday impressed upon Swarbrick the need to maintain the culture the players had created. That was ensured by not just the promotion of Freeman but the retainment of offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, strength coach Matt Balis and other staffers.

The video of Freeman walking into a euphoric group of players was powerful. So was Swarbrick’s satisfaction in cutting off the potential flow of Notre Dame to Baton Rouge with Kelly. “Let’s just say I was energized by the possibility (of cutting off Kelly’s coattails),” Swarbrick said.

The former players are amped as well. Terrell and 1988 teammate Chris Zorich showed up for the Freeman introduction because they felt so strongly about his hire—both the opportunity for a Black coach and also a man who had made such a profound impression on everyone in just 11 months at the school.

“I just wanted to let him know he has the support of the alumni,” Terrell said. “He needs to feel that. We had a coach like Marcus, who you would do anything for—and it wasn’t Lou Holtz. It was …….

Source: https://www.si.com/college/2021/12/07/notre-dame-embraces-marcus-freeman-after-transformative-week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The door to Notre Dame’s spectacular indoor football facility opened, and Joanna Freeman led her brood out the door and into the bracing cold. Behind her trailed Vinny, Siena, Gino, Nico, Capri and Rocco, dressed in varying elements of tartan plaid, all bustling across the street as the wind howled at them from the west.

“Look at the ducklings!” Called out Pat Terrell, one of the stars of the last team to win a football national championship here. The Freemans turned, laughed, and kept scurrying in duckling formation.

Minutes earlier, the kids had been chasing each other in the end zone on the artificial turf. And minutes before that, they had watche…….

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The door to Notre Dame’s spectacular indoor football facility opened, and Joanna Freeman led her brood out the door and into the bracing cold. Behind her trailed Vinny, Siena, Gino, Nico, Capri and Rocco, dressed in varying elements of tartan plaid, all bustling across the street as the wind howled at them from the west.

“Look at the ducklings!” Called out Pat Terrell, one of the stars of the last team to win a football national championship here. The Freemans turned, laughed, and kept scurrying in duckling formation.

Minutes earlier, the kids had been chasing each other in the end zone on the artificial turf. And minutes before that, they had watche…….

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