As soon as word surfaced that Kerry Cooks was leaving Notre Dame for Oklahoma, people began pointing to former Irish All-American Todd Lyght as a possible replacement. Cooks’ move was confirmed yesterday by SI. And it looks like Lyght’s homecoming is now in motion.
Multiple reports have Lyght leaving Vanderbilt to join Brian Kelly’s coaching staff. He only joined Derek Mason in Nashville last month, after working with Chip Kelly the past two seasons in Philadelphia.
The former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner was the No. 5 pick in the NFL draft after being named a two-time consensus All-American at Notre Dame. He’ll likely slide into Cooks spot coaching the secondary, though Kelly has often split up responsibilities, with both a safeties coach and a cornerback coach working with the different positions.
While the hire hasn’t been made official and is likely pending the university’s lengthy background process, Irish 247 reports it’s a “done deal,” and anecdotal evidence like this seems to prove that point.
Kelly was unwilling to talk about any coaching changes yesterday, though it appears the movement isn’t over. After a brief — and bizarre — report linking Brady Hoke to the Irish staff, Matt LaFleur’s name also became connected with a job on the Atlanta Falcons’ staff, where his brother was just hired as an offensive assistant and he’d be reunited with Kyle Shanahan.
Lyght is relatively new to coaching, working first at Bishop Gorman High School before connecting with Chip Kelly in the NFL. Known as a cerebral player, Lyght brings an excellent pedigree to the staff, and likely came with sterling references.
Before the hire, Brian Kelly likely leaned on Lyght’s former college coach, Lou Holtz. He also probably called his first employer, former Bishop Gorman and now UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez. He could’ve also checked in with Chip Kelly, a colleague who has visited South Bend for coaching camps and remains close with Kelly.
Digging into the archives, here’s a highlight reel of Lyght’s work back with the Irish, compiled a few years back by Blue & Gold Illustrated.