Legendary Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand announces his retirement

Justin Frommer
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand is again leaving the Irish football program.

Notre Dame announced Sunday night that Hiestand, 64, has retired from coaching after a 40-year career that included two stints in South Bend.

“It is important to me to spend time with my family, as I have two kids competing in college athletics, one for his last season, and I have decided it is time for me to be a part of that," Hiestand said as part of a press release.

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Hiestand began his second go-around at Notre Dame in 2022. His first was from 2012-17 before departing for the same job with the Chicago Bears. Marcus Freeman coaxed Hiestand out of retirement for the 2022 season.

Freeman thanked Hiestand for returning to coaching to help raise the standard for ND's offensive line and team in general.

“I want to personally thank Coach Hiestand for coming out of retirement for my first year as a head coach, and raising the standard, not only for our offensive line, but for our entire team,” Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman said via statement. "We are so grateful for all of the work he has put in during his two stints here at Notre Dame. Coach Hiestand has experienced success at the highest levels of coaching and I am forever grateful for the wisdom he has shared with myself and our entire coaching staff. Coach Hiestand will be forever a part of Notre Dame Football."

Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand during Notre Dame Fall Practice on Friday, August 12, 2022, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.

During his time in South Bend, Hiestand was responsible for developing numerous eventual NFL standouts, including Zack Martin (picked No. 16 overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 2014), Chris Watt (No. 89 overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2014), Ronnie Stanley (No. 6 overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2016), Nick Martin (No. 50 overall by the Houston Texans in 2016), Quenton Nelson (No. 6 overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 2018) and Mike McGlinchey (No. 9 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2018).

Jarrett Patterson, one of six Notre Dame captains and second-team All-American last season, figures to add to that list this season. The Irish rushed for 2,457 yards behind Patterson and the offensive line, which was the most since 1996.

Hiestand's announcement comes nine days after offensive coordinator Tommy Rees departed Notre Dame to take the same role at University of Alabama under Nick Saban.

University of Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has emerged as a favorite for the position, according to reports, and was pictured on campus this weekend, sitting next to Freeman and tight ends coach Gerad Parker during Friday night's home hockey game against Ohio State.

The Irish, who finished 9-4 and ranked No. 18 in the final College Football Playoff poll, open their 2023 season on Aug. 26 against Navy in Dublin, Ireland.