Dec. 3, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame defensive coordinator Kent Baer has been named one of five finalists for the 2002 Broyles Award given to the nation’s outstanding assistant coach. Baer joins USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow, Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio, Boise State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chris Peterson and Georgia defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Brian VanGorder as finalists for the award with the winner announced on Dec. 11 at a banquet in Little Rock, Ark.
Baer is in his first season as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator. Baer’s defense ranked 13th by season’s end and helped the Irish win their first eight games and 10 overall for the first time since 1993. Notre Dame ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense and 11th in rushing defense (98.0 yards per game) despite facing seven opponents ranked in the top 50 nationally in rushing at the time. The Irish lead the nation in victories of teams ranked in the top 25 with wins over No. 22 Maryland, No. 13 Michigan, No. 25 Pittsburgh and No. 16 Florida State.
Baer also coached first-team Football Writers Association of America All-American and Bronko Nagurski finalist Shane Walton, who ranks sixth in the nation with seven interceptions and linebacker Courtney Watson, who is one of three finalists for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s best linebacker.
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Baer, a 30-year coaching veteran, spent six seasons at Stanford, the last two as defensive coordinator. He has also served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Arizona State, California and Utah State and was the head coach of a U.S. Navy team.
The Broyles Award is named after legendary coach and longtime University of Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles. More than 20 percent of all Super Bowl titles, five national collegiate championships, more than 40 conference titles and more than 2,000 games have been won by former Broyles assistant coaches. More than 25 Broyles assistants went on to head coaching jobs including Joe Gibbs, Hayden Fry, Johnny Majors, Barry Switzer, Jackie Sherrill, Doug Dickey and Jimmy Johnson.
The most prestigious award for a college assistant coach to receive, past winners of the award include Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews (1996), Michigan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann (1997), former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe (1998), former Georgia Tech offensive coordinator and current Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen (1999), former Oklahoma offensive coordinator and current Kansas head coach Mark Mangino (2000) and Miami defensive coordinator Randy Shannon (2001).