We’ve gone through the best offensive players and best defensive players in the history of Notre Dame football, and now it’s time to complete the all-time team by adding in the special teams units as well as the coaching staff.
I will say in putting together this list or all-time team, the difficulty in accounting for players that starred before World War II and comparing them to the stars of more recent vintage was incredibly difficult. I tried to pay homage to enough of the past while making it clear that it’s simply just a tough task.
With that in mind, the special teams and coaching staff are listed below to complete the roster.
How do you decide an all-time head coach for Notre Dame? Let’s just say the coaching staff is full of guys who would be the head coach in plenty of other places.
As always, be sure to check out Fighting Irish Wire for all things Notre Dame football.
Check out our other College Wire all-time lineups: Alabama / Arkansas / Auburn / Clemson / Colorado / Florida / Georgia / Iowa / LSU / Michigan / Nebraska / North Carolina / Ohio State / Oklahoma / Oregon / Penn State / Rutgers / Tennessee / Texas / Texas A&M / USC / Wisconsin
Kicker 1 (Starter) - Justin Yoon
Sep 1, 2018; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish kicker Justin Yoon (19) watches his kick on a third quarter field goal against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
All-time leading scorer in Notre Dame history and far and away the highest field goal percentage for a career. His power wasn’t the greatest but it’s hard to argue with those notes.
Kicker 2 (backup) - John Carney
October 3, 2010; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints kicker John Carney kicks a field goal during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at the Louisiana Superdome. The Saints defeated the Panthers 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Carney helped Notre Dame complete the comeback upset of USC in 1986 as he hit a walk-off to seal the deal and went onto an NFL career that lasted from 1987-2010.
Punter 1 (Starter) - George Gipp
Rare when research leads to George Gipp comparisons but that's where RBs C.J. Prosise, Josh Adams find themselves pic.twitter.com/UEYGe4Qcok
— Michael Bertsch (@SteelersPRMike) December 2, 2015
Let’s face it – his mystique could earn him a spot on about three different places. He know the depth at punter isn’t as deep so we’ll sneak him onto the roster here although no Notre Dame player has ever been more famed than “The Gipper”.
Punter 2 (backup) - Hunter Smith
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Smith went onto a long NFL career after his time at Notre Dame, including winning a Super Bowl with the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Returner 1 - Raghib "The Rocket" Ismail
Notre Dame?s Raghib ?Rocket? Ismail opens his arms to the crowd after catching a 42-yard pass to set up a touchdown in the first quarter of game against Air Force, Oct. 15, 1999 in South Bend, Ind. Ismail had his best day as receiver gaining 172 yards on six catches to help lead Notre Dame past Air Force 57-27. (AP Photo/Scott Anderson)
And Bo Schembechler would probably still kick to him.
Returner 2 - Tom Zbikowski
6️⃣0️⃣ Yards To The Crib ❕
— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) April 30, 2020
There have been plenty of returners who were faster in Notre Dame history but few were as difficult to bring down as Zbikowski.
Head Coach - Knute Rockne
Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images
How in the world do you choose between Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy? Both were legends as one built Notre Dame into the powerhouse and the other took it to another ungodly level. Rockne gets the nod here for me seeing as there was no more impactful figure in building college football nationally than him, either.
Associate Head Coach 1 - Frank Leahy
July 8, 1954 – When a Memphis sun gave them a 95-degree “hot foot,”‘ three Colonial Country Club Golf Tournament celebrities, Frank Leahy (left), former Notre Dame football coach; Dizzy Dean (center), former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and Mary Ann Villegas, pretty New Orleans fairways queen, abandoned the greens to dunk their doggies in the kiddie pool. Diz captivated the youngsters with his “umbrella” bonnet.
USA TODAY NETWORK
Associate Head Coach 2 - Ara Parseghian
Unknown Date; South Bend, IN, USA; FILE PHOTO; Notre Dame Irish head coach Ara Parseghian on the sidelines with Joe Theismann (7) at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
All Parseghian did at Notre Dame was bring a program back from the brink of death to win a pair of national championships and restore the roar nationally. And yet he’s the third coach on this list. Incredible.
Associate Head Coach 3 - Lou Holtz
** FILE ** Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz waves to the crowd after Notre Dame defeated Miami in South Bend, Ind., in this Oct 15, 1988 file photo. Holtz, whp won a national championship with the Fighting Irish in 1988, walked away from coaching Monday, Nov. 22, 2004 ending a 33-year career that was one of the most successful and colorful in college football history. (AP Photo/File)
Holtz took an underachieving program under Gerry Faust back to being a national power, winning a title in 1988 and finishing his career with 100 wins as Notre Dame’s head coach.
Associate Head Coach 4 - Dan Devine
Unknown Date; South Bend, IN, USA; FILE PHOTO; Notre Dame Irish head coach Dan Devine talks to Joe Montana (3) at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
How do you not include a national championship head coach on here?
Offensive Line Coach
Sep 4, 2016; Austin, TX, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Sam Mustipher (53) and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (56) and offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey (68) during the game against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame has two of the best offensive line coaches in the history of college football. Joe Moore is who built Notre Dame into “O Line U”originally and has the nation’s best team offensive line given in his name each year while Harry Hiestand is back with the Irish after his first stint saw him help develop All-Pros on the regular. If I have to give someone the nod it’d be Moore but I’m employing both on this mythical team and having the most dominating offensive line college football could ever dream of.
Assistant Coach - Jim Johnson
Dec 21, 2008; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagle defensive coordinator Jim Johnson walks to the field before the game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
The longtime Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator got his start in coaching as he led Notre Dame’s secondary from 1977-83.
Assistant Coach - Hank Stram
Nov 7, 1971; Flushing, NY, USA; FILE PHOTO; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram talks to Len Dawson (16) on the sideline against the New York Jets at Shea Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY NETWORK
Before he was a Super Bowl champion head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Stram was a Notre Dame assistant.
Offensive Coordinator - Tom Clements
Oct 27, 1973, South Bend, IN, USA; FILE PHOTO; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tom Clements (2) in action against the Southern California Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium during the 1973 season. Mandatory Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The national champion quarterback who eventually won a Super Bowl as the Packers OC got his start in coaching as he was Notre Dame’s quarterbacks coach from 1992-1995.
Defensive Coordinator - Barry Alvarez
Oct 15, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Ohio State won 30-23. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Before he turned around the Wisconsin football program, Alvarez was Notre Dame’s DC for both the 1988 and 1989 teams that were both fantastic.
Offensive Analyst - Charlie Weis
Nov 5, 2005; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish Head Coach Charlie Weis with #83 Jeff Samardzija and #10 Brady Quinn prior to kickoff against Tennessee Volunteers at Norte Dame Stadium. Irish beat the Volunteers 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Photo By Matthew Emmons- USA TODAY Sports
I don’t want him anywhere near a head coaching position but you can’t argue the numbers that Notre Dame’s offense put up under Charlie Weis.
Defensive Analyst/Head Recruiter - Marcus Freeman
head coach Marcus Freeman leads players out of the tunnel during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring NCAA college football game on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. (Michael Caterina/South Bend Tribune via AP)
Let’s hope he gets bumped up to an associate head coach in a few years. The credentials required for those positions are pretty obvious.
Waterboy - Urban Meyer
Mar. 26, 2011; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly (left) chats with former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer during practice at the Loftus Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
The former Notre Dame wide receivers coach is welcome to come back but at this point in his career can’t be trusted to do anything more than fill up water and Gatorade bottles.