Notre Dame names quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees as new offensive coordinator

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Quarterback Ian Book wasn’t the only notable endorsement of Notre Dame’s decision to name Tommy Rees as its new offensive coordinator.

After head coach Brian Kelly announced the news that Rees, 27, would earn the promotion from quarterbacks coach, former Irish stars Brady Quinn, Zack Martin and Quenton Nelson joined Book in lauding the move via Twitter.

Notre Dame ended a month-long search on Tuesday after mutually parting ways with Chip Long last month. Running backs coach Lance Taylor also claimed a new position in the staff reshuffling: run game coordinator.

“After an extensive national search, I’m proud to name Tom Rees our next offensive coordinator,” Kelly said in a statement from the university. “Tom’s ability to connect with our players and staff and accepting and embracing the incredible opportunity in being the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame made him the right choice.

“While Tom’s leadership ability and knowledge of the game was evident, it was his humble approach to his own development and desire to continue to grow and learn that were also key factors that set him apart in a talented pool of candidates.”

Since returning to his alma mater in 2017, Rees has helped the Irish compile a 33-6 record across three seasons. The former Irish quarterback became the offensive play-caller in last month's Camping World Bowl following Long’s exit. Notre Dame gained 455 total yards in its 33-9 victory over Iowa State.

Book broke Notre Dame’s single-season completion percentage record (68.2) in 2018 and joined Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts as the only two quarterbacks to record 3,000 passing yards, 500 rushing yards and 30 passing touchdowns in the 2019 regular season.

Before announcing he would return as a three-year starter in 2020, Book was among a few Irish players that publicly supported the idea of Rees as offensive coordinator. Quarterback commit Tyler Buchner out of the 2021 recruiting class also showed support for the move.

“It would be a huge step for him,” said Book following last month’s Echoes Awards. “I know he obviously wants to be an OC and head coach one day. It’s one of his dreams. I believe in him wholeheartedly. No doubt about it.

“I’d be extremely excited about it. I know coach Kelly, whatever he does, will put us in the right situation. You guys all know how I feel about coach Rees.”

Taylor’s promotion comes after his first season with the Irish. He brought experience as a former wide receivers coach for the Carolina Panthers and running backs coach for Stanford, and played a major role in landing standout running back signee Chris Tyree.

The Irish recorded their four-highest yards per carry average (4.9) in 25 seasons under Taylor last season.

“Lance’s ability to gain consensus within the staff by implementing a running game plan that fits our personnel and is tactically and technically sound makes him a great fit for this position,” Kelly said.

Both promotions will be in effect once Notre Dame concludes its standard employment process.


A collection of former and current Notre Dame players and coaches responded positively to the Rees news.

Asked to describe their reaction via a GIF, fans offered mixed responses. 

More fan reaction can be found here

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Notre Dame QB Ian Book (12) is greeted by QBs coach Tommy Rees following ND’s 33-9 rout of Iowa State in the Camping World Bowl, Saturday at Orlando, Fla.