UND Staff

Mike Elston

Bob and Leslie Mohr Family Defensive Line Coach/Associate Head Coach

phone 631-7475

The Elston File

Hometown St. Marys, Ohio
High School Memorial High School
College Michigan (Sport Management and Communications, 1998)
Wife Beth (Broyles)
Children Daughters – Olivia, Sophia and Isabella

Playing Experience

1993-96 Michigan Outside Linebacker

Bowls/Playoffs Played

1993 Michigan Hall of Fame
1994 Michigan Holiday
1995 Michigan Alamo
1996 Michigan Outback


Coaching Career


1997 Michigan Student Assistant
1998 Michigan Video Intern
1999 Michigan Graduate Assistant (Outside Linebackers)
2000 Michigan Graduate Assistant (Outside Linebackers)
2001 Eastern Michigan Defensive Ends
2002 Eastern Michigan Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line
2003 Eastern Michigan Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line
2004 Central Michigan Defensive Line
2005 Central Michigan Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
2006 Central Michigan Linebackers/Special Teams Coordinator
2007 Cincinnati Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator
2008 Cincinnati Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator
2009 Cincinnati Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator
2010 Notre Dame Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator
2011 Notre Dame Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator
2012 Notre Dame Defensive Line
2013 Notre Dame Defensive Line
2014 Notre Dame Defensive Line
2015 Notre Dame Recruiting Coordinator/Linebackers
2016 Notre Dame Recruiting Coordinator/Linebackers
2017 Notre Dame Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line
2018 Notre Dame Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line


Bowls/Playoffs Coached


1998 Michigan Rose Bowl
1999 Michigan Citrus Bowl
2000 Michigan Orange Bowl
2001 Michigan Citrus Bowl
2006 Central Michigan Motor Bowl
2007 Cincinnati Papajohns.com Bowl
2009 Cincinnati Orange Bowl
2010 Cincinnati Sugar Bowl
2010 Notre Dame Sun Bowl
2011 Notre Dame Champs Sports Bowl
2012 Notre Dame BCS National Championship
2013 Notre Dame Pinstripe
2014 Notre Dame Music City Bowl
2015 Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl
2017 Notre Dame Citrus Bowl
2018 Notre Dame CFP-Cotton Bowl


  • Four-year member of Michigan’s football team (1993-96)
  • Three-year letterwinner for the Wolverines as an outside linebacker (1994-96)


  • Member of the Notre Dame coaching staff since 2010, served as the recruiting coordinator from 2015-17 and associate head coach since 2017
  • Coached the Irish linebackers for two seasons (2015-16)
  • Returned to the defensive line in 2017, a position he coached at Notre Dame from 2010-14
  • Helped Notre Dame’s 2019 defense rank in the top-25 FBS rankings in fewest TD passes allowed (7, t-2nd), passing yards allowed/attempt (5.4, t-3rd), pass efficiency defense (100.8/4th), fewest plays of at least 30 yards (12, 4th), fewest plays of at least 40 yards (4, t-4th), fewest total yards/play (4.53, 8th), fewest plays of at least 20 yards (35, 8th), fewest TDs allowed (24, t-8th), fewest plays of at least 50 yards (2, t-8th), points allowed/game (17.3 t-9th) and total defense (331.5, 21st)
  • Helped the defensive line combine for 23.5 sacks and 42.5 TFLs in 2018, which is remarkable considering the defensive line managed just 3.0 sacks and 23.5 TFLs in 2016
  • Mentored All-American Jerry Tillery in 2018 to his best season in an Irish uniform
  • Tillery leads all FBS interior defensive lineman in total QB hurries (31), sacks (8.0) and quarterback hits (44)
  • Tillery is the third highest-rated interior defensive lineman by Pro Football Focus against the run (31.6)
  • Tillery is tied for third among FBS interior defensive lineman in sacks (8.0)
  • Coached the junior tandem of Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara to breakout seasons as well
  • Okwara registered 7.0 sacks and 11.5 TFLs, while Kareem recorded 4.5 sacks and 10.0 TFLs
  • Notre Dame’s defensive line improved its sack total from 2016 when it accounted for just 3.0 sacks and both of the players graduated
  • Irish defensive line registered 16.5 sacks in 2017 Seven different defensive linemen recorded sacks in 2017, which equals the total of defensive linemen with sacks over the previous two years combined
  • Spearheaded Irish recruiting effort that brought in consensus top-15 classes each of the last two seasons
  • Jaylon Smith eclipsed 100 tackles in consecutive seasons and no Power 5 linebacker, other than Smith, made the following claim in 2015: 114 or more tackles, 9.0 TFLs and five PBUs
  • Oversaw the Notre Dame special teams units in 2010 and 2011
  • Aided in the mentorship of four freshman defensive linemen in 2014, Jay Hayes, Daniel Cage, Andrew Trumbetti and Grant Blankenship — all of whom played significantly as rookies
  • Played critical role in the development of Sheldon Day, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Developed Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III into second- and third-round NFL Draft picks (2014), respectively
  • Mentored the first tandem of Irish defensive linemen to be chosen in the top three rounds of the same draft since 1997
  • Helped Tuitt finish his career with 21.5 sacks — tied for third in school history
  • Major impact on Kapron Lewis-Moore’s development into a sixth-round NFL Draft pick in 2013 — would have been drafted much higher had it not been for a torn ACL suffered in the 2013 Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game
  • Injuries ravaged the Irish defensive line in 2013 — trio of Day, Nix III and Tuitt were on the field together for only 23 plays over final 10 games of the season
  • Led an Irish defensive line that allowed only four rushing touchdowns in 2012 (first did not come until the eighth game of the year) — the fewest in the FBS
  • Tuitt and Nix III became the first pair of Irish defensive linemen to earn All-America status in same season since 1989
  • Oversaw a Notre Dame defensive line that helped hold eight different opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 2012, which was tied for the most of any BCS automatically-qualifying school
  • Mentored an Irish defensive line unit that helped limit their foes to 3.47 yards per rush, which ranked 17th in the FBS
  • Helped Notre Dame kick returner George Atkinson III rank 19th in the FBS in kickoff return average (26.1) in 2011
  • Irish kick return unit improved from 75th in the FBS in 2010 to 36th in 2011
  • Helped David Ruffer to an All-America caliber season in 2010 and was named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, presented to college football’s top place kicker
  • Helped Ruffer convert his first 18 field-goal attempts of 2010, which snapped school records for most consecutive made field goals in a season (18) and career (23)
  • Held responsibilities of assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator, tight ends coach and  defensive line coach over three years at Cincinnati (2007-09)
  • Helped implement a new scheme in 2009 with three first-year starters on a Bearcats’ defensive line that limited their opponents to 3.6 rushing yards per carry
  • Coached a Cincinnati defensive line in 2009 that played a major role as the Bearcats registered the third-most tackles for loss and 10th-most sacks in the FBS
  • Helped Ricardo Mathews earn second-team all-BIG EAST honors as he led Cincinnati with 12.5 tackles for loss, and Alex Daniels paced the defensive line with 56 tackles and 8.5 sacks
  • Served as Cincinnati’s special teams coordinator in 2009 for the third straight season
  • Guided Mardy Gilyard as he captured BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year for the second consecutive season in 2009
  • Gilyard averaged 30.5 yards per kickoff return and 12.6 yards per punt return
  • Coached a Bearcats’ kickoff return unit that ranked second in the nation in 2009, averaging 28.5 yards per kickoff return
  • Mentored two-time Associated Press All-America punter (2007, 2008) and 2007 consensus selection Kevin Huber at Cincinnati
  • Critical reason the Bearcats became only the fourth team in FBS history to lead the nation in net punting in consecutive seasons
  • Helped Kevin Huber capture the 2007 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year award after he led the nation averaging 46.9 yards per punt
  • Spent three seasons at Central Michigan (2004-06) under Irish head coach Brian Kelly
  • Coached two all-MAC linebackers in 2006, including the league’s top tackler
  • Served as CMU’s co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2005 and mentored Dan Bazuin, who led the nation with 26.5 tackles for loss and tied a MAC record with 16 sacks
  • First full-time coaching job came at Eastern Michigan University (2001-03) where he coached defensive line and then added recruiting coordinator responsibilities his final two years
  • First taste of coaching came as a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan from 1999-2000


LB Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame)

  • 2016 NFL Draft Second Round pick (Dallas Cowboys)
  • 2015 Consensus All-American
  • 2015 Butkus Award Recipient

DT Sheldon Day (Notre Dame)

  • 2016 NFL Draft Fourth Round pick (Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • 2015 First Team All-American

DL Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame)

  • 2014 NFL Draft Second Round pick (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • 2012 First Team All-American

DL Louis Nix III (Notre Dame)

  • 2014 NFL Draft Third Round pick (Houston Texans)
  • 2012 Third Team All-American

PK David Ruffer (Notre Dame)

  • 2010 Lou Groza Award finalist

P Kevin Huber (Cincinnati)

  • 2007, 2008 First Team All-American
  • 2007 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year

DE Dan Bazuin (Central Michigan)

  • Led NCAA with 26.5 tackles for loss in 2005
  • Tied MAC record with 16 sacks
  • 2007 NFL Draft Second Round pick (Chicago Bears)

WR Mardy Gilyard (Cincinnati)

  • 2009 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year
  • 2008 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year