ND football coaching shuffle: Alexander, Quinn reportedly out for 2022, Mason, Laurinaitis to join

Justin Frommer
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Changes in the Notre Dame football coaching staff are beginning to percolate in the days after Saturday's Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State in Arizona.

According to published reports, wide receivers coach Del Alexander and offensive line coach Jeff Quinn will not return next season.

Furthermore, it's being reported that Cincinnati special teams coordinator Brian Mason will join Irish head coach Marcus Freeman's staff to fill the same position vacated by Brian Polian, who left prior to the bowl game to join former ND head coach Brian Kelly at LSU.

Freeman has also yet to replace himself as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

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Also on Monday afternoon former Ohio State and NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis announced on his Columbus, Ohio radio show "Bishop & Laurinaitis" that he would be beginning his coaching career at Notre Dame.

Laurinaitis played with the St. Louis Rams from 2009-15 and with the New Orleans Saints in 2016. He recorded nearly 900 career tackles and 16.5 sacks, before transitioning to a career in broadcasting with the Big Ten Network as a college football analyst in 2017.

Defensive teammates with Freeman at Ohio State, Laurinaitis didn't specify what role he will have on Freeman's staff, but its expected to be an analyst role.

Notre Dame offensive line coach Jeff Quinn watches as players warm at recent spring practice inside the Loftus Center.

"I've been poking around the idea of coaching for a couple of years now and have tried a couple times here locally (in Columbus), and for whatever reason, situations just didn't come about," Laurinaitis said. "With your best friend getting a head coaching job, it is a pretty unique situation and an awesome opportunity to go up there and get started in the profession and get going."

Notre Dame has yet to confirm any of the potential departures or arrivals.

Alexander has been the Irish wide receivers coach since 2017, but has come under scrutiny after a couple decommitments, including four-star C.J. Williams, following Kelly's move to the SEC. 

Kevin Austin, the team's leading receiver in 2021 also announced he would not return for 2022 to pursue the NFL draft.

Quinn, meanwhile, has been Notre Dame's offensive line coach since 2018 and has been in the program since 2015 as an offensive analyst, assistant strength and conditioning coach and a senior offensive analyst. 

Mason has been a part of Cincinnati's coaching staff since 2017, and has been in the special teams coordinator role since 2018. He was also on the Kent State staff while Freeman was there in 2012, the Purdue staff with Freeman in 2013-14 and then with the Bearcats before Freeman left for South Bend after the 2020 season.