The coaching carousel is still alive and well, which means Notre Dame is always in the thick of it. This time it will take safeties coach Chris O’Leary to the NFL as he has accepted a position with the Los Angeles Chargers to join Jim Harbaugh’s staff as the safeties coach according to multiple ISD sources.
Matt Zenitz was the first to report the news.
Chargers defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and O’Leary have known each other for quite some time as the two got to know each other well at Indiana State. Minter was an assistant coach for the Sycamores from 2009-2012 while O’Leary played for Indiana State. O’Leary was then a graduate assistant at Georgia State under Minter, who was the defensive coordinator.
O’Leary, who helped turn Kyle Hamilton and Xavier Watts into All-Americans, has been safeties coach at Notre Dame for the last three seasons. He also was involved in the development of linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who won the Butkus Award in 2020.
Watts, the most recent All-America selection, led the nation with seven interceptions in 2023 and won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s best defensive player. The former receiver and rover became the first Notre Dame player to record consecutive games with multiple interceptions as he picked off two passes against USC and the following week against Pitt.
O’Leary and his unit helped Notre Dame finish No. 21 in total defense in 2023 at just 329.3 yards per game. The Irish defense also finished in the top six in program history in eight categories last fall, including opponent passing yards per attempt, opponent total passing yards allowed and opponent yards per play.
The Terre Haute (Ind.) native has been at Notre Dame since 2018 when he started as a defensive analyst before taking over safeties full-time before the 2021 campaign.
Prior to Notre Dame, O’Leary coached safeties at Florida Tech in 2017 following two seasons as a graduate assistant at Georiga State. O’Leary graduated from Indiana State with a degree in communications and received his master’s in sports administration from Georgia State.
As for Notre Dame, we believe the Irish will look in-house to fill the roll, which could include Mike Mickens working with the entire secondary.
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