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Kelly reportedly close to hiring new offensive line coach

Jan 12, 2012, 12:06 PM EDT

Harry Hiestand, Frank Omiyale, Roberto Garza

Rumors are swirling out of Knoxville that Brian Kelly is close to hiring Tennessee offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. (In fact, here’s a report that says it’s a done deal.) If the reports are true, Hiestand will almost immediately hit the recruiting trail, with his first order of business being committed recruits Taylor Decker, Mark Harrell and Ronnie Stanley. Decker might be the first to get Hiestand’s attention, as Urban Meyer, along with former Irish coaches Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton, are pressing Decker to take an official visit to Columbus.

After promoting from within at offensive coordinator and with position coach Scott Booker (what position is still to be determined), Kelly looks to have gone outside his coaching tree to hire Hiestand, who spent the last two seasons with Derek Dooley in Tennessee.

At 53 years old, Hiestand has spent over 20 years in the coaching ranks, starting his career after an injury ended his playing career at East Stroudsburg University. He bounced around early in his career before working nearly exclusively as an offensive line coach with stops at Toledo, Cincinnati (where he coordinator the offense during an 8-3 campaign), then jumped to Missouri before spending a large chunk of time with Illinois. During his time working under Ron Turner, Hiestand tutored 12 All-Big Ten offensive linemen. If you’re looking for an impressive stat, every senior starting lineman that Hiestand coached signed an NFL contract. Hiestand added assistant head coach to his title for his final five seasons with the Illini.

Hiestand has also spent significant time in the NFL, moving north to Chicago as the offensive line coach with the Bears, joining Lovie Smith‘s staff in 2005. Those Bears squads won 24 regular season games in his first two seasons, going to the Super Bowl in 2006. Hiestand was purged from the Bears coaching staff with most of the offensive staff after the 2009 season.

Asking the general public to rate a positional coaching hire is risky business, and Hiestand’s name hasn’t drawn rave reviews from the message board crowd, which you almost have to come to expect at this point. His two seasons under Dooley, where he was one of the Vol’s highest paid coaches, haven’t done much to enhance his reputation, as the program had a ton of youth playing along the offensive line while the running game struggled.

Yet Hiestand’s reputation hasn’t been tarnished, and Kelly is far from the first coach to head to Knoxville to ask about Hiestand, with Urban Meyer inquiring first as he assembled his Buckeye staff. If Hiestand is indeed coming to Notre Dame, he’ll reportedly also be paying a hefty buy-out, half of his scheduled 2012 schedule according to

Hiestand doesn’t have much experience with running quarterbacks, but after 22 years in both the college and professional game, he won’t have much of a problem making his techniques fit Kelly’s scheme. And while people are quick to assume that an older position coach won’t be a recruiting asset, take one look at Mike Denbrock and you’ll realize good recruiters come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.

Nothing has been made official, but with the recruiting season in its final weeks, expect an offensive line coach to be named — and put on the road — quickly. Kelly still has one more opening on his staff to fill.

  1. dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I was really hoping that they’d hire a true Quarterback ‘s coach / offensive coordinator type of coach but you can tell by this hire and the way warriner and hinton jumped ship that Kelly is hell bent on having 100000% control and micromanage da hell outta 2012 ND offense.

  2. dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    BOOOOOOO Dick asman you suck! There guys, I saved you some keystrokes!

    • newyorknd - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Thank you

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      You should try saving yourself some.

      • nudeman - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM


      • dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        But I love my cocaine, ecstasy, escorts and ND football…I don’t want/need to be saved. Who’s gonaaaaaaaa saaaaaaaaaaaaveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee the woooooooooooooorrrrrrllllllllddddddddddd tonighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhttttttttttttttt!

  3. mkuswing - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I pray he is a solid recruiter. We really need to pull out all the stops in the last 3 weeks before signing day. I am so tired of hearing about the same schools that get all the talent year in and out. ND has plenty to offer as well, they need to get that point across. Go Irish, don’t take no for an answer!!!

  4. nudeman - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    All sorts of BS on other boards about Decker being wooed by Warriner and Meyer at OSU.

    This guy needs to be signed and on the recruiting trail asap.
    Actually has a pretty compelling story to tell kids about his expertise getting OLs to the NFL.

    • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM



      such insight!

      you sir are an artist with words!

      to recap your contribution:

      1. regurge of what Keith said
      2. regurge of what Keith said
      3. regurge of what Keith said


      • dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM


        I LMFAO’d…

  5. jimbasil - Jan 12, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Interesting how this guy with tons of experience isn’t seen as a positive by most fans. What happened with the Vols and is he just a gun for hire at this point?

    What about Urban turned him off that job?

    Interesting that he’s had no real experience with a running QB. Is this Kelly’s way of telling Rees he’s the guy next year? Not that it is so, but interesting that this is the coach Kelly hires. Keith, do you know if Kelly had interviewed others for the position?

    I like that he’s coached and was successful in the NFL.

    I say, welcome HH to ND.

    • dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      In the big scheme of things, OL coach matters .69696969696969699696969th% of the time.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:50 PM

        wow! Really? .69696969696969696th%?

        The reality is, every position coach is equally important because every play called on game day is a good play if 11 individual players execute like they are supposed to. READ MY KEYBOARD…EVERY PLAY IS A GOOD PLAY!

        If a play doesn’t work out, you can blame it on the player not executing or the coach not teaching it well enough, but don’t advertise your ignorance with “In the big scheme of things, OL coach matters .69696969696969699696969th% of the time.”

      • dickasman - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM


        You sound like a typical old beer guzzling lawn mowing fart born in 1833 irish fan. You just copied typical quotes that you hear from coaches and players. When you’re out there playing on the field, you don’t think “EVERY PLAY IS A GOOD PLAY”. you just worry about doing your job, that’s it. It matters during the weekday when players break up into groups. On saturdays, they’re just a babysitters bro.

        BTW, “ummm yeahhh like totally you know, yeah, you know, every given sunday and stuff you know…”

  6. dmac4real - Jan 12, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I dont understand all the QB talk..Hes being (supposedly) hired as the OL coach, not the QB coach, correct? Then what is so different about this OL job then all the others hes had?

    • dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Dmac, its my opinion that Kelly calls all the shots and that’s the way he wants it. He won’t go out and get a grown up, experienced real true OC that’ll show him up. That’s why he keeps going out and hiring these “underlings” types. You read that he was highest paid assistant at Tennessee? Obviously it wasn’t about financials. Ed Warriner? Who da hell is that? Which pyle of Aquanet hairspray cans did he crawl out of when BK hired him?

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:53 PM

        they still make Aquanet or does BK hoard it like Elaine hoarded sponges on Seinfeld?

      • dickasman - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        No since Warriner left a case of Dep in the locker room, they’ve made to switch to Dep gel now…

  7. bernhtp - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    They might have reached a deal a while ago, but there will certainly be a period for due diligence, even for a position coach, given ND’s experience with O’Leary and the incredibly tragic lesson of PSU/Sandusky. Mistakes of that sort are extremely costly and must be avoided.

    • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      so before the two aforementioned events there was no “period of due diligence?” BRILLIANT!!

      Interviewer: So you are a football coach?

      Interviewee: Yes

      Interviewer: Offense or defense?

      Interviewee: Defense

      Interview: Great, we need a coach on defense, you are hired… Welcome aboard Nude-dusky…!!

      • bernhtp - Jan 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        The obvious point was that due to problems background checks have become more thorough and lengthier than in years past. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        the obvious point is that it is obvious and doesnt need to be stated obviously

  8. dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I would be very highly honored and thrilled if BK hired fellow irish firecrotch Mike Mcqueery as QB coach now.

    • dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      Wait, better yet Jay Paterno is available…I hope we get Paterno.

  9. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 12, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    You’re out of control and I love it!

  10. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 12, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Firecrotch! Classic.

  11. dickasman - Jan 12, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    That’s what snoonki said too!

  12. barneysbullet - Jan 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM


    Seems to me I remember a wise, old one-liner…oh yeah, “quality over quantity.”

    I do enjoy your more intellectual posts but man, what are you smoking when posting the rest of them. Ima have me soma that stuff, aight?

    • dickasman - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      I don’t know barney. I have a weird avant garde sense of humor. I find this board to be VERY STERILE when Im not on here. I can feel my sperm cells dying if I don’t speak up!

  13. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 12, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Here ya go experts…let the voting begin

    • nudeman - Jan 13, 2012 at 9:34 AM

      I voted Golson, along with 64% of everyone else

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        naked fellow,

        i had to vote for Dayne. While i’m hoping its one of the three Irish QB’s, I can’t bet against Charlie Weis. Like him or hate him, he’s proven that he can develop a QB for the next level.

        Now i’ve just got to find a cable provider that offers KU, ND, and Washington State games every week (big Mike Leech fan!)

      • domer77blowsgoats - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        can’t bet against Charlie?

        Brady Quinn is…..?

        Jimmy Clausen is…?

        By my last view, both aren’t exactly lighting it up at the next level

        Brady was already Brady – I could have done an equally good job…

        but what else should have i expected from someone who actually wants to be in the Bend…

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 13, 2012 at 6:09 PM


        If you want to bet on who produces better QB’s, Charlie or BK, I’ll take your money. You ask where Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen are? Both making millions on NFL rosters. Anybody seen Zach Collaros lately? I know Tony Pike is in the seat BEHIND Jimmy Clausen.

        So the choice was really between BK’s skills and Charlie’s skills as it relates to developing QB’s. The truth is, who made it to the NFL isn’t all that important to me. Every year Charlie has coached at the college level (except at UF) he’s had a QB prepared for the job. Sure Jimmy made lots of mistakes, but they were mistakes that young CFB QB’s make. Tommy made those mistakes too. But they never went away.

        The question i keep asking is, after two years and multiple highly sought after QB’s, why isn’t there a clear #1? Better yet, why aren’t there ANY QB’s playing like a #1?

  14. papadec - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    He looks solid. If he can build ND linemen into NFL players, ND will get the top line recruits.

    • oldestguard - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      Bingo !

  15. nudeman - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Then there’s this:

    Looks like Decker is taking an official to OSU now that Warriner and Hinton are there
    I’ll be calm, no expletives, and I’ll assume the kid is doing his due diligence

    After a year and a half of Tommy Rees starting, then Darby decommitting and this class turning out to be mediocre … wtf is going on?

    Kelly’s timing in running off Warriner without having Hiestand ready to go is terrible

    I guess I won’t remain calm

    • oldestguard - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      You’re prematuely with the “mediocre’, nudeski.

      Some big fish still out there and our poles are in the water.

      How’s your BP by the way…you’re always fretting about something.

  16. Michael Steinberger - Jan 13, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    The guy seems to have a nice resume. The word out of Tennessee is he didn’t give them much in the way of recruiting, though. If Meyer passed on him, it’d be nice to know why.

    Can’t say I’m a fan of coaches who step back from the NFL. With a few notable exceptions, NFL guys scheme more than teach, bury their noses in film while they assume the players are working on their own strength and techniques, and are used to motivating with a paycheck. College kids need to be taught, constantly prodded, and kept focused. Hopefully this guy remembers how to do that…

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