Jan. 12, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The final three pieces to University of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly’s coaching staff have been hired, Kelly announced Tuesday.
Kerry Cooks will coach Notre Dame’s outside linebackers, Tim Hinton will serve as running backs coach and Ed Warinner will coach the offensive line. Tony Alford has switched to wide receivers coach.
Cooks joins the Irish from the University of Wisconsin where he served as the Badgers’ defensive backs coach for the past four seasons. At Wisconsin, he helped develop 10 all-Big Ten Conference honorees, including three first-team selections. He helped lead the Badgers to a 38-14 record since 2006, with Wisconsin finishing the season ranked in the top 25 three times. A former all-Big Ten safety at Iowa, Cooks has coached at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level the last seven years, following his National Football League career. A native Texan, Cooks has served as a primary recruiter in that state for Wisconsin and will be Notre Dame’s lead recruiter in Texas moving forward.
“I’ve known Kerry Cooks for a while and actually tried to hire him at Central Michigan, but an opportunity arose for him at Minnesota that he couldn’t pass up,” Kelly said. “I’ve watched his progress from afar over the years and when the Notre Dame job happened for me he was one of the first guys I thought of to add to our coaching staff. Kerry brings a wealth of experience from his time in the Big Ten and especially at Wisconsin. His background as a player at Iowa and in the NFL will make him a tremendous asset to our players. Kerry is also a great recruiter with connections to the state of Texas. He will serve as our lead recruiter down there as we look to focus more on areas like Texas that have an abundance of talented players.”
Hinton has been a football coach for 29 years, including 15 seasons at the collegiate level. He was an assistant the last six years at Cincinnati and served as the Bearcats’ running backs coach in five of those seasons. This past season, Hinton’s top two running backs combined to average 6.4 yards per carry and scored 13 rushing touchdowns. His running backs did not lose a fumble nor did they allow a sack in 2009. Hinton, who worked 14 years as a high school head coach in Ohio, served as the Bearcats’ recruiting coordinator last year and has recruited Ohio and Florida in the past.
“Tim Hinton is a veteran football coach who brings not only coaching experience at all levels to our coaching staff, but also the ability to build great relationships with players,” Kelly said. “He is a tireless recruiter and is well respected in our profession. Tim’s expertise in the running game and pass protections combined with his experience in my offensive system make him a perfect fit for our running backs. He developed both young and veteran players for us at Cincinnati, and I look forward to seeing what he’ll be able to do with us at Notre Dame.
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten to know Tony Alford well while traveling with him on the recruiting trail,” Kelly said. “I can tell that he is a terrific teacher and coach, so that is why I’ve asked him to become our wide receivers coach. This move will not only help Tony but also benefit the program. For Tony, this is a great professional development opportunity and gives him a chance to really increase his coaching acumen. For the team, this takes a great coach and puts him at a position where he will have multiple players on the field at one time in our offense. I have complete confidence in Tony’s ability to coach our wide receivers and plan to see a similar impact with them as he had with the running backs last year.”
Warinner has 26 years of coaching experience and in 13 of the last 18 seasons he has coached the offensive lines at Army, Air Force, Kansas and Illinois. He has directed offenses that led the nation in rushing (Air Force, 2002), were tops in Big Ten Conference rushing (Illinois, 2006) and ranked second in the nation in scoring (Kansas, 2007). Warinner comes to Notre Dame after serving as the offensive coordinator since 2007 at Kansas. With the Jayhawks, he helped them post the three highest yards-per-game averages and the three most prolific passing seasons in school history.
“Many members of our coaching staff are guys with whom I have personal history from either coaching with or coaching against them,” Kelly said. “Ed Warinner wasn’t one of those guys, but during our interview it became clear to me that he would fit perfectly into the coaching staff I have assembled. His ability to fit in well with the rest of the coaches and the offensive coaching versatility he presents are what I liked most about him. The first thing I noticed was that his personality will blend nicely with everyone else on the staff. He’s a `we’ guy, not an `I’ guy. Secondly, he had great success at Kansas as an offensive coordinator and has a great understanding of what we’ll try to do offensively. The fact that he also taught the option offense at Army and Air Force complements the rest of our coaching staff and will only make us better and more diverse. I’m anxious to see him work with our offensive linemen.”
Additional roles, such as recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator, will be determined and announced by Kelly at a later date.