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Irish Insights

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Reports: Diaco leaving Notre Dame for UConn

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly appears to have lost a second coordinator in the last eight days.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will be named the new head coach at Connecticut, according to reports. Diaco signed a five-year contract starting at $1.5 million, according to a report from CBS' Bruce Feldman.

The departure of Diaco comes after former offensive coordinator Chuck Martin left Notre Dame to become the head coach at Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 3.

The No. 25 Irish (8-4) play Rutgers (6-6) in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28 in Yankee Stadium.

"I know that my coaches won't leave for lateral moves," Kelly said Sunday. "They'll have to be leadership positions. So I'm certain of that. But if there's a head job out there that makes sense for one of the assistant coaches, I'd look at them. I have really good football coaches.

"You never know. But, as I said, my guys aren't out sending résumés looking for jobs. If the right situation comes along, all these guys, especially the ones that have been with me a long time, they know what it looks like. They'd be great at running programs."

Diaco began working with Kelly in 2005 when he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Central Michigan. Diaco spent 2006-08 at Virginia's linebackers coach and special teams coordinator before rejoining Kelly as Cincinnati's defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach in 2009.

Diaco has been the Irish's defensive coordinator since Kelly took over the program in 2010 and was promoted to assistant head coach last season. Diaco won the 2012 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant. Notre Dame's defense ranked second in the FBS in scoring defense last year, giving up 12.8 points per game. This year, the Irish fell to 32nd in scoring defense, giving up 22.9 points a game, and was No. 45 in total defense, giving up 377 yards a game.

Notre Dame's defensive players were quick to react to the news on Twitter, with defensive end Stephon Tuitt posting on his account: "Lol this program!!! Everything is kept a secret!!!! guess this is called come here make something out of yourself & leave." Tuitt quickly deleted the message Wednesday night.

Freshman linebacker and former Bishop Luers star Jaylon Smith kept his Twitter post to one word an elongated "No" followed by a down turned smiley face.

Carroll linebacker and Irish commit Drue Tranquill said in a text: "That's a huge blow, especially coming from a defensive player's perspective. He's a great coach. Again though, Coach Kelly will do a tremendous job replacing him."

Cornerback Bennett Jackson posted: "Happy for Coach Diaco... He's going to do great at Uconn.. Love that man! Always has my respect! #Dboyz."

Diaco takes over a Huskies team that went 3-9 and fired coach Paul Pasqualoni after four straight losses to open this season. T.J. Weist was UConn's interim coach for the rest of the year.

UConn, which went to the Fiesta Bowl after the 2010 season, is 13-23 in the last three seasons.

Diaco reportedly interviewed for multiple jobs last December, but said he had no reason to leave Notre Dame at that time.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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