Rees staying with Notre Dame as Irish retain several coaches
Aidan Thomas | Wednesday, December 1, 2021
In massive news for the Notre Dame football program, offensive coordinator Tommy Rees announced Wednesday he is staying with the Irish. Rees had been offered the LSU offensive coordinator position shortly after former head coach Brian Kelly left for the Tigers.
Rees is finishing up his second season leading the Notre Dame offense. The Irish average 35.2 points per game and rank 17th in the FBS in points per play. They rank sixth in the latter metric over their past three games. Rees has led the offense on a remarkable turnaround, as his unit scored less than 30 points in three straight games earlier this season. That stretch concluded with the 24-13 loss to Cincinnati. However, since their bye week, Notre Dame has averaged 39.5 points per contest.
Rees gave the announcement in person, right as the news started to break on Twitter. “I wanted to be able to get in front of you and tell you guys so that you guys knew it,” Rees said in a short speech to the team. This came after the Brian Kelly news broke on Twitter, and Kelly didn’t reach out to his team until 2 hours and 17 minutes after the first report on Twitter.
The reaction to the news was exceptionally positive from Notre Dame players. Several Irish quarterbacks had tweeted out “#PayTommyRees” prior to the news breaking. Freshman running back Logan Diggs was emphatic, posting messages on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Rees affirmed with his players on Wednesday evening: “You guys have been through a lot this week…this is where my heart is. Let’s go win a national championship.”
McNulty, Balis also confirmed to be staying on staff
In other news for the Irish, tight ends coach John McNulty and director of football performance Matt Balis also were announced to be staying on staff. McNulty has been the tight ends coach since 2020. Balis came to South Bend in 2017, and he was hailed by former players as a ‘cornerstone’ to Notre Dame’s coaching staff.
These moves were met positively by many Irish players as well, both present and future. Notably, four-star tight end recruit Holden Staes was quoted saying: “I know what I want. I know that’s what all the offensive commits want. I’m super excited for that. Coach Rees is a huge part of my commitment, with the type of offense he runs and what him, Coach McNulty and the rest of the offensive staff do.”
McNulty also reportedly turned down an offer from LSU, and Balis turned down “significant” money from the Tigers. As of now, Kelly remains the only former Irish coach headed to the Bayou.