Notre Dame hires ex-Miami head coach Al Golden as defensive coordinator

Al Golden is returning to college football.

Notre Dame announced Wednesday that it has hired Golden as its new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Golden has been an assistant in the NFL since he was fired as the head coach of Miami midway through the 2015 season. ESPN is reporting that Golden and Notre Dame agreed to a three-year deal.

Most recently, Golden was the linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams. Before his two-year stint with the Bengals, Golden spent four seasons with the Detroit Lions, first as the tight ends coach and then as the linebackers coach.

Golden’s run in the NFL followed two decades of experience in college football. Golden was the linebackers coach at Boston College and Penn State and the defensive coordinator at Virginia before becoming Temple’s head coach in 2006.

Golden, 52, helped turn the long-struggling Owls into a winning program during his five years as head coach, posting a combined 17 wins over his final two seasons. Those efforts helped him land the Miami job. The Hurricanes’ best season under Golden came in 2013 when they finished 9-4. A 6-7 record followed in 2014 and he was fired after a 4-3 start in 2015. The final straw was a 58-0 loss to Clemson.

Overall, Golden has a 59-59 record as a college head coach, including a 32-25 mark at Miami. And now he is returning to the college game to serve as defensive coordinator on Marcus Freeman’s first staff in South Bend.

Freeman, the Irish’s defensive coordinator last season, was promoted to head coach after Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU. Notre Dame finished 11-2 in 2021. He is a first-time head coach and said in a statement that Golden's experience will be valuable.

“Al’s defensive background and knowledge of this profession makes him a valuable asset to our program,” Freeman said. “He is known for getting the absolute best out of his players both on and off the field. Additionally, he will be a great resource for me and others on our staff with his previous experience as a head coach. I am thrilled that he has joined our staff at Notre Dame.”

Miami head coach Al Golden talks into his microphone in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Arkansas State  in Miami Gardens, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Al Golden was on the Bengals' staff this season. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)