Special teams coordinator Brian Polian will follow Brian Kelly from Notre Dame to LSU

Tyler James
ND Insider
Associate Head Coach Brian Polian during Notre Dame football practice Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021 at the Irish Athletic Complex in South Bend.

Brian Kelly wasn’t able to convince Notre Dame’s offensive and defensive coordinators to join him at LSU. But the former Irish head coach has convinced special teams coordinator Brian Polian to follow him.

The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman first reported Polian is expected to join Kelly’s staff at LSU. A source confirmed the initial report with ND Insider. 

Polian acknowledged his departure without revealing his destination in a tweet Tuesday night thanking Notre Dame coaches, staff members, players and the local community. LSU announced Polian's addition to the staff on Wednesday.

Two more pieces from Notre Dame will be following Kelly to LSU, according to multiple reports: director of football strength and conditioning Jake Flint and director of sports nutrition Matt Frakes. The Athletic’s Brody Miller, FootballScoop’s John Brice and 247Sports’ Shea Dixon were among those to first confirm LSU’s new additions. 

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Initial reports weren’t immediately clear if Polian would remain on new head coach Marcus Freeman’s Notre Dame staff through the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. 

Polian’s second stint at Notre Dame lasted as many seasons as his first. Polian served as the Irish special teams coordinator from 2005-09 under head coach Charlie Weis. He returned to Notre Dame before the 2017 season to be Kelly’s special teams coordinator. 

Polian added the title of associate head coach for the 2021 season. Before Thanksgiving, Kelly named Polian when he was asked for which Notre Dame assistant coach he was most thankful. 

“He makes my life the easiest,” Kelly said. “Because special teams. It’s so hard. It’s a hard job. That’s a lot of work. A lot of the little things on a day-to-day basis that go along with that. You have to take that whole group: O-linemen, D-linemen, DBs, linebackers. That’s a lot of work.” 

Among Polian’s accomplishments during his second stint at Notre Dame was coaching kicker Justin Yoon, punter Tyler Newsome and long snapper John Shannon. Yoon set the Notre Dame record for career points (367) and career made field goals (59) and career field goal percentage (80.8%). Newsome finished No. 2 in program history with a career punting average of 44.0 yards and all four of his seasons finishing among the top eight in single-season punting average. Shannon was named the long snapper of the year in 2019 with the Patrick Mannelly Award. 

Notre Dame finished the regular season ranked No. 26 in the FBS in net punting (41.33 yards per punt), No. 30 in kickoff returns (23.69 yards per return), No. 38 in punt returns (10.33 yard per return), No. 48 in punt return defense (6.31 yards per return) and No. 62 in kickoff return defense (20.70 yards per return). Kicker Jonathan Doerer, who made game-winning field goals against Florida State and Virginia Tech, ranked tied for No. 41 in field goal percentage at 80% (12-of-16).

After Kelly left for LSU, Polian tweeted that his main concern was the players.

"They are the best part of this job," he wrote.

Follow ND Insider Tyler James on Twitter: @TJamesNDI.