Notre Dame promotes Gerad Parker to replace Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator
Notre Dame remained in the house because of the new offensive coordinator.
On Saturday, Fighting Irish announced that tight end coach Jerad Parker had been appointed offensive coordinator. Parker replaces former Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees as Irish head coach after Rees was hired as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.
Parker arrived at Notre Dame ahead of the 2022 season after two seasons as offensive coordinator in West Virginia. Before becoming a coach in West Virginia, Parker was an assistant at Penn State and Duke. He also served as an interim coach for Purdue during the second half of the 2016 season following the firing of Darrell Hazell. Freeman coached with Parker at Purdue for four seasons.
“I’m delighted to announce Jerad as our new offensive coordinator,” Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman said in a statement. “I know firsthand what kind of person, teacher, recruiter and innovative football mind he is. I look forward to seeing our offense flourish under Jerad’s guidance and direction.”
Parker’s hiring came when Notre Dame considered several outside candidates. Looks like the Irish were going to hire Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig. Ludwig even showed up for a hockey game in Notre Dame with Freeman, but Ludwig ended up staying in Utah.
Ludwig’s contract with Utah included a $2 million buyout, and there were rumors that Notre Dame was unable or unwilling to pay the amount to terminate Ludwig’s contract. But in an email received by Rivals Inside ND Sportsathletic director Jack Swarbrick stressed that Ludwig’s buyout had nothing to do with his time in Utah.
“During our discussion with the candidate for the position of our offensive coordinator, the national correspondent accurately noted that the buyout of the candidate in his current contract was an “obstacle”. Without asking us for any clarification, some people commenting on Notre Dame Football have come to the conclusion that this means that Notre Dame is unwilling to pay the ransom. It is not and never has been. For policy reasons, we do not discuss the details of staffing matters, but given the extraordinary response from you and others on this occasion, I can safely say that while our discussions with applicants have not reached the point until this week that we have expanded the formal offer, we have made it clear in each case that any offer we make will include our financing of their buyout at their current institution.”
The Irish also reportedly interviewed Kansas State offensive coordinator Collin Klein. The former KSU quarterback turned Kansas State ahead of the 2022 season and helped the Wildcats win the Big 12 title. Like Ludwig, Klein also remained in place.
In addition to promoting Parker, Freeman Gino Guidugli will reportedly be named quarterbacks coach.. Guidugli worked with Freeman in Cincinnati from 2017 to 2020 on Luke Fickell’s staff. Fickell left UCLA for Wisconsin after the 2022 season, and Guidugli initially joined him at Madison as a passing game coordinator and tight end coach. However, it now appears that he will be heading to South Bend to serve as Notre Dame’s quarterbacks coach.
Parker and Gidugli will work with the veteran quarterback at South Bend in 2023. Irish Wake Forest alum transfers Sam Hartman via transfer portal as Hartman has one more season of eligibility left. Over the past two seasons, Hartman has thrown 77 touchdowns.
Hartman enters the 2023 season as a prospective starter after Drew Pine moved to Arizona State. Pine replaced an injured Tyler Buechner in the second game of the season and was in the starting lineup for the remainder of the season before Buechner played in the bowl game. The Irishman finished Freeman’s first season 9-4 after a 0-2 start, including a loss to Marshall.
Notre Dame loses TE to Michael Mayer in the NFL Draft but brings back running back Logan Diggs and Audric Estim. In 2022, the two defensemen rushed for 1,740 yards together and threw for 15 touchdowns.