Brian Kelly spent the morning addressing the staff changes that await the next edition of the Fighting Irish football team. But it appears there’s one more move on the horizon, though it hasn’t been made official by Notre Dame. As reported by the Buffalo News’ Rodney McKissic, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Ernest Jones is leaving Jeff Quinn‘s Buffalo coaching staff for a yet to be named position at Notre Dame.
The move will reunite Kelly with Jones, who worked under the Irish head coach at both Cincinnati and Central Michigan. With the Irish on-the-field staff filled, Jones is taking a position in the football office, where he’ll likely help the Irish in their recruiting efforts, until a staff spot opens up. Jones made a similar move to Cincinnati, joining Kelly after a stint as the head coach of Alcorn State, where he was fired one year into his three-year contract.
Even if he’s unable to work on the field, Jones brings a wealth of knowledge to the coaching staff and potentially a trump card in recruiting. As Quinn’s associate head coach, Jones headed up the Bulls’ recruiting efforts, putting together an unprecedented class as the Bulls signed 19 commitments under Jones’ guidance, having a recruiting staff all but set in December, when in years past the Bulls scrambled until well after Signing Day.
Jones declined to comment when reached by the Buffalo News, but the deal is reportedly signed and his home is on the market in the Buffalo area. It’s also rumored that the move wasn’t all that well received by Quinn, who’s losing his recruiting coordinator, cornerbacks coach and associate head coach to a non-coaching position with the Irish — the second defection to the Bulls staff this offseason.
If you’re looking to read between the lines here, the current offseason might have taught Kelly a thing or two about the desirability of coaches at high-profile schools like Notre Dame. Losing Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton, and having a brief scare with Tony Alford’s interview with the Green Bay Packers, Kelly is creating a contingency plan for the next assistant out the door, with coaches like Bob Diaco, Chuck Martin, Mike Elston and Kerry Cooks on the radar at major programs everywhere.