Notre Dame officially introduces WR coach DelVaughn Alexander, strength coach Matt Balis

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame's new-look coaching staff just added two more names.

DelVaughn Alexander will join the program as wide receivers coach, while Matt Balis will serve as the director of football performance, the university announced Thursday.

“I’m excited to officially get on board, hit the road recruiting, and to find and develop the best student-athletes in the country,” Alexander said in a statement. “Notre Dame is a special place, and I’ve been able to see the power of its brand on the recruiting trails across the country for the last 15-20 years. I’m honored and humbled to serve this University, this program and these remarkable young men.”

“I was looking for an experienced teacher, mentor, recruiter and developer of student-athletes,” head coach Brian Kelly said in a release. “Del not only met the criteria, but he exceeded it. He also understands, respects and values the type of young men we want to bring to this University and football program.”

A 21-year coaching veteran, Alexander oversaw the tight ends at Arizona State last season, after coaching the Sun Devil wide receivers and coordinating the passing game under head coach Todd Graham from 2012 to 2015. He worked on the same staff as new Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long for each of those first four seasons.

His most celebrated pupil in Tempe, Ariz., was Jaelen Strong, who caught 82 passes (the third-highest single-season total in school history) for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 en route to earning All-Pac-12 honors and being selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.

Prior to his arrival at Arizona State, Alexander coached the wide receivers for five seasons at Wisconsin, reaching two Rose Bowls and making five bowl appearances in the process. He also worked in 2005 and 2006 under Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, where he was the running backs coach, assistant travel coordinator, assistant special teams coordinator and NCAA rules representative.

Alexander is a noted west coast recruiter, and for good reason. The 45-year-old grew up in Los Angeles, lettered in track and field and football at USC and has worked for USC, Arizona State, Oregon State, UNLV, the University of San Diego and the NFL's San Diego Chargers.

With National Signing Day swiftly approaching on Feb. 1, Alexander has already begun recruiting for the Irish. On Wednesday, he tweeted, "All that glitters IS Gold! Officially on the recruiting trail for Notre Dame football".

Alexander fills the void left by former wide receivers coach, associate head coach and offensive play-caller Mike Denbrock, who left to become the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati. 

As for Balis, he replaces Paul Longo, who served as Notre Dame's director of strength and conditioning for each of Kelly's previous seven seasons in South Bend and "has taken a leave of absence from his role with the Irish football program," according to a release.

“It’s an honor and dream come true to be part of the Notre Dame football program,” Balis said in a statement. “I’m humbled by this opportunity and I’ll work hard everyday to give our players and program my absolute best.”

Prior to his arrival in South Bend, Balis served as the director of strength and conditioning at UConn from 2014 to 2016. He worked under former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco but also oversaw all 24 of the Huskies' athletics programs. Balis was also the head strength coach at Mississippi State from 2009 to 2013 and the director of strength and conditioning at Virginia from 2007 to 2008.

A 1996 graduate of Northern Illinois University, Balis also served for four seasons under Urban Meyer, both at Utah (2003-04) and Florida (2005-06). He was the assistant director of strength and conditioning for the 2006 Florida team that rode a 13-1 record to a Southeastern Conference championship and BCS National Championship. He was Utah's director of strength and conditioning in 2004 when the Utes completed an undefeated season with a victory in the Fiesta Bowl.

“Matt comes to Notre Dame with impeccable credentials and incredibly high praise from the likes of Urban Meyer, Mickey Marotti, Dan Mullen, Bob Diaco and Al Groh,” Kelly said in a statement.

“He’s already instituted a strength program built with a foundation that focuses on hard work, discipline and top-notch competition. Matt will demand the best from our players, not only in the weight room, but in many other areas within our program. I couldn’t be more excited to have him in place moving forward.”

All that glitters IS Gold! Officially on the recruiting trail for Notre Dame football #FightingIrishpic.twitter.com/HLp3GmMl9m

— Del alexander (@dalex3333) January 18, 2017

Wide receivers coach Del Alexander is officially on board and ready to work...#FightSZN

READ MORE: https://t.co/WaiblCZSLcpic.twitter.com/edIVy7SYbR

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) January 19, 2017

Matt Balis named director of football performance.

Hard work

Discipline

Competition#FightSZN

READ MORE: https://t.co/zwp8ylreZZpic.twitter.com/Bw9Bfk7zOG

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) January 19, 2017

Arizona assistant coach and USC grad DelVaughn Alexander has been hired by head coach Brian Kelly to coach wide receivers at Notre Dame. (Photo courtesy of Arizona State Sports information/JASON WISE)

Year | School/Team | Position

1995 | USC | Assistant Video Coordinator

1996-97 | USC Graduate Assistant (Tight Ends)

1998 | UNLV | Wide Receivers

1999 | San Diego Chargers | Senior Offensive Assistant (Running Backs)

2000-01 | UNLV | Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers/Quarterbacks

2002 | UNLV | Wide Receivers/Quarterbacks

2003-04 | Oregon State | Recruiting Coordinator/Wide Receivers

2005-06 | San Diego | Running Backs/Assistant Special Teams Coordinator

2007-11 | Wisconsin | Wide Receivers

2012-15 | Arizona State | Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers

2016 | Arizona State | Tight Ends

Year | School | Position

2014-16 | UConn | director of strength and conditioning

2009-13 | Mississippi State | head strength coach

2007-08 | Virginia | director of strength and conditioning

2005-06 | Florida | assistant director of strength and conditioning

2004 | Utah | director of strength and conditioning

2003 | Utah | assistant director of strength and conditioning

2001-02 | Houston | assistant strength coach

1998-2001 | Wheaton (Ill.) North High School | assistant coach, strength coach

1996-98: Wheaton (Chicago) Warrenville South High School (Assistant Coach, Strength Coach)