Notre Dame Football: How will Irish move on as OC Martin leaves for Miami of Ohio?

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- Four years ago, Chuck Martin put his ego and stellar head coaching record in his back pocket for a chance to be part of Brian Kelly’s vision for reviving Notre Dame’s storied football program.

On Tuesday he started blazing his own path toward resuscitating another tradition-laden program when  the Irish offensive coordinator agreed to become the head football coach at Miami (Ohio) University.

Miami officials flew to South Bend on Tuesday to offer Martin the job, and Martin accepted. He then boarded the plane less than an hour after it landed, around noon, for the return trip to Oxford, Ohio. Martin will be formally introduced on Wednesday at a 2:30 p.m. EST press conference (Fans can watch at

“I am excited to be joining the Miami football family and want to thank (athletic director) David Sayler for this incredible opportunity,” Martin said in a press release distributed early Tuesday evening by Miami. “I look forward to getting back to the excellence Miami stands for and am excited to hit the ground running.”

Notre Dame spokesman Michael Bertsch confirmed Tuesday night that Irish receivers coach Mike Denbrock will serve as interim offensive coordinator for ND’s upcoming, but still-to-be-determined, bowl game. was the first Monday to report the strong mutual interest between Martin and Miami.

“Miami University made an excellent decision to hire Chuck Martin as its head football coach,” Kelly said. “He is an outstanding coach, and most importantly, a better person.

“Chuck was a vital part of this program’s success over the last four seasons, which included four bowl games and last year’s run to the BCS National Championship game. He has provided tremendous leadership within a variety of roles over his career. Chuck has longstanding success as an assistant coach, coordinator and head coach, and will recruit with anyone in the country.”

Martin technically replaces interim coach Mike Bath, who presided over the final seven losses of the first winless/tieless season at a place renowned for being the Cradle of Coaches since Alonzo Edwin Branch went 0-4 in 1900 in his only season as Miami’s coach.

Third-year head coach Don Treadwell was fired five games into the season with an 8-21 mark overall. Athletic director David Sayler purged offensive coordinator John Klacik at the same time.

Treadwell had replaced another former ND offensive coordinator, Michael Haywood, who left after leading the RedHawks to the Mid-American Conference title and a 10-4 record in 2010. It’s the only winning record since 2005 produced by a school that counts Ara Parseghian, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, Bill Mallory, John Pont, Sid Gillman and Randy Walker among its coaching icons.

Haywood spent two seasons at Miami before agreeing to be the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh, which subsequently reneged on the offer when Haywood ran into some legal entanglements.

Reaction to Martin’s hiring from Irish players past and present started popping up on Twitter almost immediately after the news broke.

“Good luck to Coach Chuck Martin taking the head job at Miami OH,” former Irish center and current New England Patriot Braxston Cave tweeted. “They got themselves a genius coach and a great person!”

“I'm gonna miss Coach Martin!” freshman cornerback Devin Butler tweeted. “I wish him the best, funny great guy to have around the building and in practice hahaha.”

“Happy for coach Martin,” Irish junior wide receiver DaVaris Daniels tweeted. “He recruited me. Great guy. Wish him the best!”

Not all of the tweets were universally sweet. Freshman quarterback Malik Zaire, whose position coach was Martin, first tweeted, “Frustrated,” followed by, “It's all just a big business, making moves and getting paid. #movingon”

Martin joined forces with Kelly, Notre Dame’s head football coach, in 2010 after leading Grand Valley State to two NCAA Division II national championships (2005, 2006), a runner-up finish (2009) and a 74-7 record (.914) in six seasons. Martin succeeded Kelly at GVS after Kelly left for the Central Michigan job.

Martin initially coached defensive backs for the Irish, then flipped over to offense after the 2011 season, Kelly’s second in South Bend. He’s been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

He has always expected to return to head coaching someday, but said he came to ND with no timetable or agenda to make that happen.

Martin’s departure mildly complicates the bowl prep for Kelly and the Irish (8-4), still sifting through their postseason options before Sunday’s official announcement. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see long-term if Kelly elevates one of his offensive assistants to Martin’s vacated position or goes outside to make the hire.

Running backs coach Tony Alford and Denbrock are two strong internal candidates and also Kelly’s top two recruiters. Alford also serves as ND’s recruiting coordinator and has coached receivers and running backs during this four seasons with Kelly.

Denbrock has coached tight ends and wide receivers at ND and currently serves as the passing game coordinator in addition to his position-coach duties. He’s also coached offensive line during his career and served stints as both offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator in the 1990s under Kelly when Kelly was head coach at Grand Valley State.

Martin is a 1990 graduate of Milliken University, where he was an All-America safety. He initially served as Kelly’s recruiting coordinator at ND in 2010-2011.

What effect might Martin’s departure have on ND’s recruiting as it moves into its final stages before National Signing Day on Feb. 5?

“I don’t think it will have any effect, really,” said Steve Wiltfong, national recruiting writer for 247Sports. “Chuck’s one of the better living-room guys in the country. He can relate to and recruit guys from all kinds of backgrounds.

“But when you talk to the kids who have committed to Notre Dame in this class, most of them have committed to play at a prestigious program and attend a prestigious university. Most of those kids look at it as a 40-year decision.

“There are guys who do commit to a certain coach. I don’t think ND would have gotten either Tarean Folston or Greg Bryant last year if Tony Alford had left before signing day. But I don’t think the guys in this class necessarily committed to coach Martin.

“Don’t get me wrong, anything can happen in recruiting. But the offense isn’t going to change. Brian Kelly is going to be running the same thing.”

Tight end commit Nic W Weishar, who was recruited by Chuck Martin, texted Tribune recruiting writer Tyler James: "I had a great relationship with him but am glad he made the best decision for himself and his family. It does not affect my commitment status."

The Irish have one quarterback commitment for 2014, in Ohio standout DeShone Kizer, and recently secured a commitment from California QB standout Blake Barnett for the 2015 class.

"No matter what coach is here, Notre Dame will still be Notre Dame,” Barnett texted the Tribune. “And I'm still committed to the university and coach Kelly."

Kizer tweeted a congratulatory message to Martin. “He is about to tear up the MAC!,” he added.