Notre Dame football: About new offensive line coach Joe Rudolph
The press release hasn’t been sent yet but I’m willing to guess it’s saved as a draft in the Notre Dame football office. Joe Rudolph, who most recently worked as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Virginia Tech, is expected to be Notre Dame’s next offensive line coach.
Rudolph played at a Big Ten program before spending a couple of years in the NFL and then ultimately getting into coaching. Here’s a few fast facts about Rudolph and why Notre Dame fans should feel confident that he’ll be a strong replacement for the recently retired Harry Hiestand.
Helped Wisconsin's Epic Program Turnaround
30 OCT 1993: WISCONSIN GUARD JOE RUDOLPH SETS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE DURING THE BADGERS 13-10 VICTORY OVER THE MICHIGAN WOLVERINES AT CAMP RANDALL STADIUM IN MADISON, WISCONSIN. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel/ALLSPORT
It’s hard to think of Wisconsin football as a cellar-dweller in the Big Ten after the last 30 years, but from 1986-1990 they went just 10-46. That included Barry Alvarez’s debut season when the Badgers went a woeful 1-10.
Joe Rudolph enrolled at Wisconsin and played on their offensive line from 1991-1994. In 1993 he was a starter on the team that won the Big Ten and Rose Bowl, the first Rose Bowl victory in program history.
Brief NFL Career
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Rudolph went undrafted out of Wisconsin but did sign with the Philadelphia Eagles where he spent 1995. He spent 1996 out of the NFL before playing his second and final year in the league in 1997 with the San Francisco 49ers.
Coaching Start Came Under Ohio State Great
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Rudolph didn’t immediately get into coaching college football after his NFL career came to an end. It wasn’t until 2004 he began as a graduate assistant at Ohio State under head coach Jim Tressel. Rudolph spent three seasons with the Buckeyes, yes the same time Marcus Freeman was playing there, before he joined Nebraska as their tight ends coach in 2007.
Back to Wisconsin
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Rudolph went from Nebraska to Wisconsin as he returned to Madison in 2008. From then through 2011 he coached Wisconsin’s tight ends. From 2009-11, Wisconsin went 32-8, making two trips to the Rose Bowl.
Promotion at Pitt
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Rudolph left Wisconsin and became an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh in 2012. He spent three seasons there before concluding his time with the Panthers as their interim head coach for the bowl game after head coach Paul Chryst left to take the Wisconsin job.
Stint No. 3 at Wisconsin
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As you often see in the coaching world, Rudolph followed Chryst to Wisconsin in 2015. Rudolph worked as Wisconsin’s assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach. In those seven seasons, Wisconsin won 10 or more games four times, including 2017 when they went 13-1 and won the Orange Bowl.
Most Recently at Virginia Tech
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Rudolph spent last season as Virginia Tech’s run game coordinator and offensive line coach. The Hokies struggled to a 3-8 mark in 2022 and averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, good for ranking in the bottom 20 nationally.