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#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Report: Notre Dame has its top target for head coach job

A player in a Notre Dame uniform

Notre Dame has lost Brian Kelly as their head coach, but they might not be in too bad of shape.

The Fighting Irish already have a national brand, tradition, history and their own TV deal with NBC. Those selling points have always been part of the program. But they may have their eyes on a head coach who should be able to keep them winning the way Kelly was.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported Tuesday that Luke Fickell is apparently Notre Dame’s first choice as a replacement for Kelly.

It’s unclear whether Dodd is basing his report on inside information, or whether he’s piecing clues together. But Fickell makes plenty of sense as a top target.

Fickell, 48, has been at Cincinnati for five years and enjoyed great success, including beating Notre Dame in South Bend this season. Fickell went to a Catholic high school in Ohio before later playing for Ohio State, where he spent most of his career as an assistant.

As a Catholic football player from the Midwest who has already proven he can be a successful coach, Fickell seems like the ideal candidate. If Notre Dame is able to successfully transition from Kelly to Fickell, they may be able to remain at a top level without missing a beat.

Notre Dame also may have some other very qualified candidates in the mix, such as Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, as well as defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who has been recognized as a top recruiter.

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