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Marcus Freeman is not embarrassed by hearing “no.” The 37-year-old, second-year head coach made that very clear during an impassioned speech at a press conference to introduce new offensive coordinator Gerad Parker on Monday.
Parker, the tight ends coach in South Bend last season, was officially promoted over the weekend. He takes over for Tommy Rees, who left for the same role at Alabama.
However, Parker was not the first choice. Freeman and Notre Dame had targeted Utah’s Andy Ludwig.
In fact, Freeman, Ludwig and Parker all attended a Fighting Irish hockey game together earlier this month. Ultimately, however, Ludwig declined the job and chose to stay with the Utes.
Much of the Notre Dame fanbase was up in arms over the embarrassing hiring process. How could the Irish get burned in such a public manner?! Why weren’t the interviews held behind closed doors?!
Those types of questions were being asked over and over again online and in the media.
Marcus Freeman has heard it all at this point.
He was prepared to answer to the criticism.
As he stood at the podium on Monday, Freeman was asked if his approach to recruiting Ludwig, or any assistant coach, was wise. His answer was profoundly stated and provided great insight that makes it awfully hard to disagree.
Freeman is comfortable with the idea of “losing” a coach, in the same way that he might “lose” a recruit. C’est la vie. So is life.
With that said, Freeman would not be comfortable losing if he did not go full out with his recruitment. He wants to bring the best talent (players or coaches) to South Bend, and wants to know that he gave it his all.
To do so, even if it means public “embarrassment,” Freeman is going to sell the Notre Dame experience. Period.
Although Freeman’s approach may not have worked this time, and Ludwig stayed at Utah, he can sleep peacefully at night knowing that he made his best run at the hire he wanted. He isn’t embarrassed by hearing “no.”