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Notre Dame Expected To Promote Marcus Freeman To Head Football Coach Post

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CBS Chicago/CBS Sports/AP) - Notre Dame is expected to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to replace the departed Brian Kelly as head football coach, sources tell CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.

Freeman, 35, will take over the program less than one season after joining Notre Dame from Cincinnati. The deal is not yet official.

Freeman's elevation comes with the program also retaining offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. A former Irish quarterback under Kelly from 2010-13, Rees was reportedly courted to join Kelly at LSU. Retaining Rees to lead the offense was believed to be a key for Notre Dame if it decided to promote Freeman from within.

Rees announced his decision to stay with the Irish at a team meeting Wednesday night.

Though Freeman will become one of the youngest head coaches in Notre Dame history, he has dramatically impacted the program since arriving before the start of the season. The Irish held their final four opponents to a combined 23 points, and the program is also putting the finishing touches on its first top-five class since 2013 thanks in large part to Freeman's leadership on the recruiting trail.

The 60-year-old Kelly became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, surpassing Knute Rockne. In 12 seasons with the Fighting Irish, Kelly is 113-40, including the current run of five straight double-digit victory seasons.

Notre Dame completed an 11-1 season on Saturday and still is in contention to reach the College Football Playoff for the third time in the last four years.

No previous Notre Dame coach has ever left the Irish, winners of eight national championships as voted on by the AP, to take a job at another school.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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