In SummaryIn his first official press conference as the head coach, Freeman said he aims to take the Fighting Irish to great heights.
The presence of Marcus Freeman felt like a beanstalk of a man at his official press conference on Monday. It was as if he was peeking over the horizon, seeing the new day before it happens.
“I’m ready to lead this program to the greatest heights,” Freeman said as he was introduced as Notre Dame’s 30th head football coach.
At his first official press conference as the leader of the Fighting Irish, Freeman also became the second Black head coach in the school’s 177-year history. Tyrone Willingham became the first Black head coach at Notre Dame in 2002.
Willingham went 21-15 from 2002 to 2004. However, he was fired shortly afterward when Notre Dame didn’t make as much progress on the field as it would’ve hoped.
“Being the leader of this program, it isn’t about one person, and it never will be,” Freeman said. “Being the leader of this program is about understanding, to be successful on this journey, it’s going to take others. We’re going to have to do this as a team.”
Notre Dame’s star running back, Kyren Williams, also felt a sense of comfort and confidence with Freeman as his new head coach.
“For a person of color like myself, it means everything,” Williams said. “We have a lot of diversity [on the team] and we’re moving forward at this university … being able to accept more and different.”
It won’t take long for Freeman to lead Notre Dame as its new head coach. Freeman replaces Brian Kelly, who bolted for Louisiana State University where he signed a 10-year, $100 million contract.
The Fighting Irish finished just outside the College Football Playoffs at No. 5, but still have an 11-1 record. His team will play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
“You’re exceptional thinkers,” Freeman said to his players. “You never look for the easy path. Most of you never take shortcuts. You’re tireless workers, and you’re committed to excellence in everything you do.”