Skip to content

Bob Diaco accepts the UConn head coaching job

Dec 11, 2013, 10:25 PM EDT

Bob Diaco hat

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has accepted the head coaching position at UConn. NBC Sports has confirmed the news that was first reported by CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman. The 2012 Broyles Award winner leaves another huge hole in Brian Kelly’s staff, with both Diaco and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin taking head coaching jobs in the past week.

The 40-year-old New Jersey native joined Brian Kelly at Central Michigan, before leaving to coach under Al Groh at Virginia. Diaco rejoined Kelly at Cincinnati where he coordinated the defense in 2009, before joining the Notre Dame staff in the same position. Diaco was promoted to assistant head coach before the 2012 season.

Under Diaco, the Irish defense has improved dramatically. In 2009, Notre Dame was rated 63rd in scoring defense. They improved to 23rd in the country his first season, improving by nearly a touchdown. The Irish stayed a Top 25 defense in 2011 before the 2012 team became one of the best defenses in school history, giving up just 12.8 points a game.

Even with injuries, the Irish defense finished the regular season ranked 32nd in scoring average, giving up 22.9 points a game. While some detractors tired off Diaco’s bend-but-don’t-break coverage schemes and the struggles to create turnovers, Diaco was a key part of transforming an Irish defense that was soft for the better part of a decade before becoming the equivalent of a heavyweight bruiser.

While Diaco’s reputation as a strategist is impressive, where he truly shines is in the locker room. A quick search on Twitter for Irish player reactions lets you know how deeply loved he was by his team. A fiercely intense leader who led with a passion that he demanded from his players, Diaco quickly got buy-in from a team by committing to positive coaching and rebuilding a group with a heavily damaged psyche.

Diaco very nearly left the program after last year’s undefeated regular season. But the timing of leaving his team before they played for the BCS Championship just didn’t sit well with an assistant who preached loyalty above all else.

Diaco takes the reins of a UConn program after Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi turned the job down. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman reports that Diaco will make $1.5 million a season on a five-year deal.

Brian Kelly will now need to fill two key positions on his staff. Kerry Cooks was promoted to co-defensive coordinator before the 2012 season. Defensive line coach Mike Elston looks to have coordinator chops as well. Even safeties coach Bobby Elliot has a strong reputation and coordinated some elite defenses.

After miraculously keeping the Irish coaching staff together after the 2012 season, Diaco’s departure marks the end of an era. That’s three coordinators under Brian Kelly that have accepted head coaching positions. We’ll find out soon if the Irish head coach can reload as the elite coaches in college football do.

117 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. domerboyirish - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    What are the odds of Rees becoming a GA for Kelly after he graduates?

    On the less serious side, he could show EG and MZ how to slow down when scrambling, how to throw a touch pass when you need to throw a bullet and how to audible out of every play sent in from the sidelines

    • domerboyirish - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      lot’s of thumbs down. Tough crowd

      • wisner74 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:06 PM

        Richly deserved thumbs down, domerboy.

    • viktory2013 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Dude I think you spoke the truth…painful to many but still the truth

      • rcali - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Never is the truth more avoided then on these message boards. Appreciate the people who can take off their green colored glasses.

  2. glowplugv - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Given the then number of 3 and outs and general shorter drives the offense had this year, I wonder how may snaps this year’s defense had to hold against versus previous year’s. Yes, the defense could have forced more 3 and outs but they just were not that good. If the offense is giving the opposing team more cracks at the ball eventually something is going to happen. Anyone have that data over the years for comparison?
    The old adage in golf that you drive for show and putt for dough can be adapted for football: score for show and defend for dough. Getting top notch defensive coordinator who can build on what Diaco has built will be the key. Starting over with a new look would not be good.

    • joeblk10 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      There’s entirely too many of you all who comment without having a clue what your talking about. Statistically this years offense was on par with last years and in most cases better. If we had last years defense this year then we would have went 11-1 at worst beating Stanford, Oklahoma, Michigan, and maybe even Pitt if we would have held them all to the same points as last year. Outside of a couple fluke showings against Navy and Miami, last years offense wasn’t capable of scoring. This years offense actually scored more TD’s than last years. 5 more interceptions than last year but also 13 more passing TD’s than last year as well. Know your facts. Rushing was worse but overall it wasn’t the offenses fault this year entirely.

      • danirish - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Let me piggy back on your post. Go to cfbstats.com and look at longest plays from scrimmage. The O this year in big plays massively outgained last year’s. We’ve had lots of 70+, 60+, 50+ plays and we are tied with a few teams for 3, THREE plays of 80 yards!

        While Rees had some bonehead play and wasn’t at his best in a few games, stretching the field took a hit on his percentage, but I think it paid off.

        I hope the same mentality will be used with Golsen or Zaire with stronger arms.

      • glowplugv - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        Not to start a fight over this, but I did look up the statistics:

        For 2012: ND Opp
        Time of Possession, avg: 31:44 28:16
        Total plays 894 830

        For 2013:
        Time of Possession, avg: 28.13 31:39
        Total plays: 779 875

        Perhaps I should have made it clearer in that yes as reported below ND had more long strikes in 13 but could not control the ball either through a consistent short passing game or running to prevent giving the opponents more opportunities to work against a weaker defense. I think the data at least shows that.

  3. rocket1988 - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    How about some names for replacements?
    I would start with Greg Hudson at Purdue. He & Coach Kelly had a nice chat after they game. I think that might’ve been his interview for DC. But I also know that Purdue was lousy all year long as well.

    • domerboyirish - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      God I hope not! The guy has one good game plan all season.

  4. paulhargis53 - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    If my percentage is below .082, that just means I’m doing my job, toolbox.

    Still can’t help yourself from responding, can you? You’re pretty pathetic.

    • getsome99 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      A reply validates your existence? You’re just another random hater that we laugh about and feel sorry for every day.

      You’re doing you’re job well. The more haters we get engaged in ND football talk, the better.

      Irrelevant? Funny.

      Go Irish!

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      you don’t have a “job.” you insult people to try to get a rise out them but you’re just a court jester making an a$$ of yourself.

      rather than sling inventive quips, you just call people names and repeat the same boring nonsense.

      your barbs are not original, interesting or provocative. like many, i respond to you so that maybe you will step up your game and offer something funny, entertaining or otherwise worth the space that you take up.

      come to think of it, with all the time and space you waste here while offering nothing of any value, i’m guessing that you’re a congressman.

  5. smurphdoggy29 - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Well success begets success !
    Congrats to Coach Martin and Coach Diaco !
    BOTH will be sorely missed !
    Yet NOW we get to watch Coach Kelly in action replacing pieces of the “Process”.

    Coach Kelly has often touted the Process and the System as being tantamount to overall program success. Those allow continuity within so that as the Program continuously moves forward the structure and foundation remain the same and intact.

    So now Coach Kelly can demonstrate how vibrant and alive that System and formula is, and we should see some tangible results come next August.

    I believe 2014 is going to be a showcase year under the Kelly regime !

    GO Irish ! Best of luck to the 2 new Head coaches and may fortune always be in the favor of our current remaining staff !

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

    • heisenbyrg - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. newmexicoirish - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Doing your job? If someone is paying you to be an a$$hole you must be making a fortune!

    • wisner74 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:14 PM

      Just stop it, NewMex. Ignore him. I’m not here to read your reply anymore than I am here to read his crap.

  7. paulhargis53 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    But you DID read both of them, didn’t ya squishmitten. You had to to make that reply.

    • scottatnd - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      lol your comments are getting better.

  8. lambda02750 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    Keith…just give us the quick and dirty right now…is Kelly next and will he even make it to next year? I’m officially scared and annoyed. Hold me!

  9. newmexicoirish - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    My preference wisner has been to post about Notre Dame football. If you’ve read any in the past you know this is true. I don’t usually respond to the haters whose lives are so sad and pathetic they have nothing better to do than spend their time writing a lot drivel about things they can neither understand or appreciate. I just got tired of reading his tripe. Unfortunately it won’t keep him from writing more.

  10. yaketyyacc - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    college football has lots of good players and lots of good coaches. how about Michigan States defensive coach? I really like the way they play down our victory over MSU. How about Ogeron as offensive coach? boy did USC make a mistake in letting him go, thank you Hayden, Whatever the case, watching the performance of teams we will play next, all of whom have improved, let’s hope our “new” coaches get uup to snuff fast. they sure will not be able to complain about the talentthat ND has.
    To Diaco and Martin, bon voyage, and clear sailing ahead. You guys got a very nice and well deserved Christmas present. Thanks for teaching our team more then xs and os.

  11. paulhargis53 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    Wow, New Mexico. Exactly what I’ve been saying all along about your fanbase. Arrogant and egotistical. Thanks for proving my point for me.

    ND will continue to wallow in the 7-5 to 9-3 range. Until they move into the 21st century as far as recruiting and admissions standards go, that is the BEST that they can hope for. You can preach education first all you want, but by and large, these kids use college ad a way to get to the NFL, the star players anyway. Your school and fanbase have their head up their collective a$$es if you think otherwise.
    I’m not going to get into a debate about how good my life is or isn’t with you, I get along just fine.
    I rattle cages of fanbases that deserve it and I have fun doing it, its a timewaster at work for me. Your arrogance rends you unable to just ignore me. I can also find a button to push no matter what.

    On a different note, I have incessant, just atrocious gas. I’ve farted 79 times in two days( probably more in my sleep, I did fart myself awake).,Beano does not work- any home remedies out there?

    • getsome99 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      Except for that undefeated season in 2012 when experts like you were saying the same thing.

      You seem to think you’re original. Notre Dame IS college football royalty and we have haters all over the world. Kind of goes with the territory.

      Just take a number and stay awhile. You’re all welcome.

  12. ctfivula - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    So Diaco goes to Uconn, Elston ND’s current D-line coach will most likely go with him to be Diaco’s D-coordinator which is a clear sign he wasn’t in serious consideration for the ND coordinator job. This leads me to believe it is Cooks job to lose. Now ND needs a D-line coach who is a great recruiter, Hmm? let me think is there anyone out there right now who is a great D-line coach and recruiter? Ed Orgeron? Wouldn’t he love to come to ND and stick it to USC for not giving him the HC job once a year on the field and a few times a year on the recruiting trail. I think he might.

  13. paulhargis53 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    2012? You mean that one year in the last few decades where everything fell just right? Only to get squat humped by a far superior team?

    Football royalty?! Are you serial?
    That’s the worst kind of title, the one you have to hang on yourself. Nobody else thinks that. Nobody hates the team, or the school. Its the arrogant fans( such as yourself) that makes others love to see the sports teams fail, then point and laugh when the inevitable crash comes.

    Do you really think I give a rats a$$, what any of you think of me? We are all nameless,faceless people who will never meet. Besides that, I’m purposely antagonistic. What kind of reaction do you think I’m expecting??

    Update: I’m now up to 123 farts. I’m at a loss for why this is happening. I’m in an office with no window and not very good ventilation. I think I just saw my dead grandmother. I do have air freshener, but it just makes it smell like cherry rotten eggs. There may be a break in the action though. The last one was a coin toss on whether it was a fart or not. I may have to stiff leg it to the restroom to find out.

  14. paulhargis53 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Ugh. You actually pressed send on that response? I don’t need to up my game at all. You’ve responded that’s all that matters.

    FYI. That pair of underwear is a goner.
    I’m freebagging it the the rest of the day.
    Good news is, the farting stopped. I feel sorry for the housekeeper in my wing of the hospital today. She’s in for a rude awakening when she grabs the garbage.

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      you mean in your wing of the loonybin.

  15. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too damn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  16. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too damn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  17. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too damn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  18. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too damn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  19. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals. On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too damn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  20. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals.
    On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too darn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  21. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals.
    On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too darn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  22. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Had this happened after the 2012 season the twin losses of Chuck Martin and Bob Diaco would have seemed devastating at the time. Now I see this as an opportunity for Kelly to up his game. I’ll be genuinely disappointed if he picks replacements from within, to me that’ll mean nothing changes and I believe that ND needs some changes. The Defense with this bend don’t break mentality is brutal; you give up a ton of yards and tighten up in the red zone and hope you don’t give up seven. It did not work this year and I believe it’s a miracle it worked so well in the 2012 regular season; it didn’t work out in the title game though. The sheer numbers of missed tackles this year was disheartening and for me that’s on Diaco. He needed to teach fundamentals.
    On the offensive side of the ball Martin was just too darn pass happy for me, we needed to play to our strengths which would be power football, i.e. running the ball, we have an impressive stable of backs and we should have used them and not put so much pressure on an immobile QB to pass the ball so much.

  23. irish4me - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Wow, sorry fellas, that comment posted 8 times. Trust me it wasn’t all that great of a comment. Whatever happened to the editor on here?

    • mtndguy - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      I don’t think it’s the editor, it’s the user.

  24. paulhargis53 - Dec 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Just cause I know you were all wondering, I dropped an absolute hornets nest in the toilet when I got home.

    Gas problem is over. Thank you Dr. Jack Daniels.

  25. ndfaithful - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Can somebody name a great program that was built or sustained by hiring big-name, recognizable coaches from the outside?

    On the other hand, can you name great programs that consistently hire at the position level and then promote from within?

    Who were the big hires by Woody Hayes? Bear Bryant? Bo Schembechler (or however you spell it?), Pete Carroll, Nick Saban, Bobby Bowden, or Lout Holtz?

    I think you’ll find that those great coaches, and others usually hired from within – even hiring family, and taught the system so that it could be sustained. When has it ever worked the other way?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!