UND Staff

Clark Lea

Bob Hinton Defensive Coordinator


phone 631-7475
Bio

The Lea File

Hometown Nashville, Tenn.
High School Montgomery Bell Academy
College Vanderbilt (Political Science, 2004)
Graduate School Vanderbilt (Political Science, 2007)
Wife Allison
Children Sons – Clark III, Jack; Daughter – Mara

Playing Experience

2001 Birmingham-Southern Baseball
2002 Belmont Baseball
2002-04 Vanderbilt Fullback

Coaching Career

2006 UCLA Graduate Assistant (Defense)
2007 South Dakota State Linebackers
2008 South Dakota State Recruiting Coordinator/Linebackers
2009 UCLA Graduate Assistant (Linebackers)
2010 UCLA Linebackers
2011 UCLA Linebackers
2012 Bowling Green Linebackers
2013 Syracuse Linebackers
2014 Syracuse Linebackers
2015 Syracuse Linebackers
2016 Wake Forest Linebackers
2017 Notre Dame Linebackers
2018 Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator

Bowls/Playoffs Coached

2006 UCLA Emerald Bowl
2009 UCLA Eagle Bank Bowl
2011 UCLA Fight Hunger Bowl
2012 Bowling Green Military Bowl
2013 Syracuse Texas Bowl
2016 Wake Forest Military Bowl
2017 Notre Dame Citrus Bowl
2018 Notre Dame CFP (Cotton Bowl

PERSONAL INFORMATION

  • Began college career at Birmingham-Southern College where he was a member of the baseball team that captured the NAIA World Series title in 2001
  • Lettered in baseball at Belmont in 2002 before transferring to Vanderbilt for football

COACHING ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • First season as the Irish defensive coordinator coach in 2018
  • Led Notre Dame’s defense to 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)
  • Guided an Irish defense that also allowed: 15.0 points/game in its four matchups with AP top-25 opponents, which ranked second-best in the FBS (among schools with at least four such games), 13.7 points/game in its two matchups with current AP top-25 opponents, which ranked second-best in the FBS and 14.4 points/game in its five matchups against FBS teams with a winning record, which ranked second-best in the FBS
  • Mentored captain linebacker Drue Tranquill and All-American linebacker Te’von Coney
  • Coney recorded a team-best 107 tackles (59 solo), 9.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks Coney became the first Irish player to post back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since since Jaylon Smith (2014, 2015)
  • According to Pro Football Focus, Coney is the fourth highest-rated linebacker overall (30.1) and seventh highest-rated linebacker in pass coverage (10.0)
  • Coney’s only missed six tackles this season, and, among players with at least 820 defensive snaps (and Coney has 840), only one player in the country has fewer missed tackles
  • Tranquill finished the regular season third on the team with 75 tackles, 9.0 of those for loss, while adding three pass break-ups, two QB hurries and a fumble recovery
  • Served as the Irish linebackers coach in 2017
  • Notre Dame was the last team in the FBS to surrender more than 20 points in a game in 2017 (the Irish allowed 20 points or less over each of their first eight games)
  • Notre Dame allowed only four plays of 40 yards or longer in 2017 –the second-fewest of any team in the FBS
  • Notre Dame allowed only one play of 50 yards or longer in 2017 – the second-fewest of any team in the FBS
  • Notre Dame ranked first or second in the FBS in fewest completions allowed of at least 30 yards (second, nine), 40 yards (first, one) and 50 yards (first, zero)
  • Notre Dame’s 2017 linebacker unit (which included Coney, Tranquill, Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini) all registered at least 75 tackles – a first in school history
  • Despite starting just seven games in 2017, Coney led Notre Dame in tackles (116), tackles for loss (13.5) and finished second on the Irish in sacks (3.0)
  • Tranquill, in his first season at linebacker after converting from safety, totaled 85 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, four passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble
  • Morgan and Martini registered 92 and 75 stops, respectively, and Morgan collected 7.0 tackles for loss
  • Over his 12-year career, Lea has mentored one All-American (Akeem Ayers, UCLA) and 10 all-conference selections
  • Served as the Wake Forest linebackers coach in 2016
  • In 2016, the Demon Deacons’ defense ranked in the top-20 of the FBS in fumbles recovered (third), turnovers forced (10th), sacks (12th), defensive TDs (17th), red zone defense (17th) and scoring defense (20th)
  • Wake Forest was one of four schools in the FBS to rank in the top-20 in turnovers forced, sacks and scoring defense in 2016 (the other three schools — Alabama, Clemson and Washington — qualified for the College Football Playoff)
  • Instrumental in the development of Demon Deacon linebacker Marquel Lee, who not only earned All-ACC second team honors in 2016, but was also selected to take part in the 2017 East-West Shrine Game
  • Lee was the only FBS linebacker to post at least 100 tackles, 20 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2016 (only one other linebacker in the country met at least two of those three figures)
  • Spent three seasons (2013-15) as the linebackers coach at Syracuse
  • Developed Zaire Franklin into an All-ACC caliber linebacker
  • In 2015, as a sophomore captain (the fourth sophomore captain in school history and first since 1945), Franklin led the Orange in tackles (81) and was second on the squad in tackles for loss (11)
  • The 2014 Orange defense held nine of its 12 opponents to less than its season average for total offense and was one of four FBS teams to surrender fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns (Alabama, TCU, and Ole Miss were the others)
  • In 2013, Syracuse ranked nationally in multiple categories, including third-down defense (15th), rush defense (24th), sacks (18th) and tackles for loss (18th)
  • Lea worked with Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko in 2012 at Bowling Green
  • Helped assemble a unit at Bowling Green that ranked sixth in the country in total defense (296.6) and 10th in scoring defense (16.7)
  • Bowling Green ranked fourth in the nation in third-down defense, fifth in first downs allowed (15.1), 11th in sacks (38), 12th in rushing defense (106.5) and 13th in pass defense (190.1)
  • Finalist for Linebackers Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com in 2012
  • Graduate assistant at UCLA in 2006 before moving to South Dakota State for two seasons (2007-08)

Dynamic Disciples

LB Te’von Coney (Notre Dame)

  • 2017 USA Today All-Bowl Team
  • Led Notre Dame in tackles (116), tackles for loss (13.5) and finished second on the Irish in sacks (3.0) in 2017

LB Drue Tranquill (Notre Dame)

  • 2017 Wuerffel Trophy recepient
  • 2017 Pop Warner College Football Award Finalist
  • 2017 Lott Trophy Quarterfinalist
  • Totaled 85 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, four passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble in 2017

LB Marquel Lee (Wake Forest)

  • 2016 All-ACC Second Team
  • 2017 East-West Shrine Game
  • Only FBS linebacker to post at least 100 tackles, 20 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2016

LB Zaire Franklin (Syracuse)

  • Fourth sophomore captain in program history
  • Led Syracuse in tackles (81) and was second on the squad in tackles for loss (11.0) in 2015

LB Marquis Spruill (Syracuse)

  • 2014 NFL Draft Fifth Round pick (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Recorded 243 tackles, including 41.0 for a loss (second most in program history)

LB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)

  • 2011 NFL Draft Second Round pick (Tennessee Titans)
  • 2010 Butkus Award finalist (he finished third in voting)
  • 2010 Phil Steele Second Team All-American
  • 2010 Associated Press Third Team All-American
  • 2010 All-Pac-10 First Team