Brian Kelly has found Paul Longo’s replacement. And he comes with an impressive pedigree.
Matt Balis is headed to Notre Dame, per an Irish Illustrated report. After a search that included a handful of candidates, Kelly is bringing in Balis, who most recently directed UConn’s strength program, but also spent four years with Dan Mullen at Mississippi State and had two different stints with Urban Meyer. Balis ran Utah’s strength department before going to Florida with Meyer, working under Mickey Marotti in Gainesville. He also served as Virginia’s strength coach after leaving Florida.
That’s not the only move in the strength and conditioning department. Notre Dame is also reportedly bringing in Dave Ballou from IMG Academy, who coordinates the strength department at the high school powerhouse in Florida. A native of Indiana, Ballou will likely fill a vacancy in a reshuffled weight room staff that included Jeff Quinn and David Grimes, two football coaches by trade who had worked under Longo on the football strength staff last season.
While it wasn’t as high profile of a search as the other significant coaching hires Kelly had to make, a handful of high-profile strength coaches seemed to be on Notre Dame’s radar since the decision was made to replace Longo. While some reports connected the Irish with Stanford’s assistant strength coordinator Grant Steen, it appears that the Irish focused their attention on Balis after Bob Diaco was fired. The hire brings in a well-established name in the industry, and likely came with first-hand referrals from both Diaco and Meyer.
Longo, who had served as Kelly’s head of strength since his days at Central Michigan will now serve as a special assistant, a title that Bob Elliott has held the past two seasons. There’s no word on if Elliott will continue in a similar role or retire.