Jan. 29, 2009
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Bryant Young, a 1994 University of Notre Dame graduate and four-time NFL Pro Bowl defensive lineman, has accepted a graduate assistant coaching position with the Irish, head coach Charlie Weis announced Thursday.
“I’m very excited that Bryant has decided to return home to Notre Dame,” Weis said. “We’re not just adding a future NFL Hall of Famer to our program, we’re adding a Hall of Fame person. I look forward to establishing a long and lasting relationship with Bryant and his family.”
Young earned four monograms at Notre Dame from 1990-93 and helped the Irish to a 40-8-1 record during his four years. A first-team All-America selection in 1993 as a senior captain and defensive tackle, Young started 30 of the 41 games he played at Notre Dame and totaled 176 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks during his collegiate career. He also played in four bowl games while at Notre Dame (started three of four bowl games but postseason statistics did not count toward individual totals).
“I’d first like to thank Coach Weis for giving Kristen and me this chance to return to Notre Dame and introduce our four children to the Notre Dame spirit,” Young said. “Notre Dame is a very special place that is near and dear to the hearts of my wife and me.
“When I retired from the 49ers in 2007 I wanted to get away from everything and clear my head before deciding what I wanted to do with my life. The game of football and thoughts of coaching never escaped me though. I explored options other than coaching but quickly found that I had a strong desire to be on the field and around the game.
“When Coach Weis presented me this unique opportunity I knew it warranted serious consideration. It’s not often that chances like this come around and the ability to work with kids and hopefully make an impact on their lives really interested me.
“My family and I had a wonderful 14 years in California but coming back to Notre Dame was a no-brainer because opportunities like this don’t present themselves everyday. I can’t wait to get back to Notre Dame and start this new chapter in my life.”
Young played all 14 NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and only four 49ers have ever been with the franchise longer. From 1994-2007, he played in and started 208 games, trailing only Jerry Rice’s 224 starts and tied for third in all-time games played in 49ers history.
Selected to the Pro Bowl in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2002, Young finished his career with 89.5 sacks, good for third all-time in team history. He helped the 49ers make the playoffs in each of his first five seasons and at the conclusion of his final home game, Young was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.
Drafted with the seventh overall selection in 1994 draft, Young was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1994 after leading all 49ers defensive linemen with 49 tackles and totaled six sacks. He started all 16 games and helped San Francisco claim its fifth Super Bowl championship.
Young suffered devastating fractures to his tibia and fibula in 1998, ending his season after the 12th week of action with Young leading all defensive tackles in the NFL in sacks that season. Undeterred, he regained his previous form in 1999 and tallied 11 sacks en route to his second Pro Bowl selection. Young was honored for his season when he was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year for 1999.
His excellence was not just limited to on the field performance as Young was recipient of the team’s Len Eshmont Award, symbolic of the player who best exemplifies courage and leadership, an astonishing eight times including each of his final four seasons. Prior to Young, no other member of the 49ers had ever won the honor more than twice.
A native of Chicago Heights, Ill., Bryant Colby Young was born Jan. 27, 1972, and graduated from Bloom Township High School. He graduated in 1994 with a marketing degree from Notre Dame. Young’s wife, Kristen, also graduated from Notre Dame in 1994 and the couple have four children: Kai, Colby, Kennedy and Bryce.
Young replaces Patrick Graham who had served on Notre Dame’s staff for two seasons and then became the defensive line coach at the University of Toledo in January.