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 wont leave for lateral moves, Kelly said Sunday. Theyll have to be leadership positions. So Im certain of that. But if theres a head job out there that makes sense for one of the assistant coaches, Id look at them. I have really good football coaches.
You never know. But, as I said, my guys arent 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. Theyd 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 Virginias linebackers coach and special teams coordinator before rejoining Kelly as Cincinnatis defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach in 2009.
Diaco has been the Irishs 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 nations top assistant. Notre Dames 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 Dames 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: Thats a huge blow, especially coming from a defensive players perspective. Hes a great coach. Again though, Coach Kelly will do a tremendous job replacing him.
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 UConns 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.