Dec. 18, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame assistant coach Tony Alford will remain on staff, Fighting Irish head football coach Brian Kelly announced Friday. Alford will continue his duties with Notre Dame’s running backs.
“I got to know Tony during our days in the Big East when he was at Louisville and I was at Cincinnati,” Kelly said. “He is a tremendous teacher and a great recruiter and I’m thrilled to keep him on the coaching staff. He has consistently developed his players at every school he has coached and his passion for the game is infectious. I look forward to working closely with him.”
“First, I want to thank Charlie Weis for initially giving me the opportunity to come to Notre Dame,” Alford said. “This is a special place for special people and I truly feel that being here is a turning point in my coaching career. I have to also thank (athletics director) Jack Swarbrick and (deputy athletics director) Bill Scholl for their faith and trust in me and I am indebted to both of them.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the great kids we have in this program. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them last season and I look forward to developing my relationship with them in the future.
“Last but certainly not least, I could not be any more thankful and grateful to Coach Kelly for extending me this opportunity. He certainly did not need to keep me and I am honored he invited me to join his coaching staff. I first got to know of Coach Kelly when my cousin played for him at Grand Valley State. Coach Kelly has been a winner at every stop he has made and I’m excited to get to work with him on returning Notre Dame to where it belongs.”
Alford, who just completed his first season on the Irish sidelines, made significant strides with the Notre Dame running backs. After the two worst rushing seasons in school history in 2007 (75.25 ypg) and 2008 (109.69 ypg), the Irish improved its rushing output by nearly 17 percent to 128.2 yards per game on the ground this season. In fact, the Irish churned out 135.6 per game on called running plays in 2009.
Notre Dame also saw a major upgrade in rushing yards per carry. The Irish backfield averaged just 3.9 yards per carry in both 2007 and 2008, but improved by over 20 percent in 2009 to 4.7 yards per rush average.
Notre Dame’s running backs also saw an improvement in ball security. The Irish fumbled nine times in 2009, but only three came from running backs in 299 carries. Contrastingly, Notre Dame’s running backs fumbled five times in 2008.
Director of football operations Chad Klunder, director of football personnel Tim McDonnell and director of football development Dave Peloquin will all stay on staff. Defensive graduate assistant Bryant Young has been offered to remain in his position on the new coaching staff.
The rest of the Irish coaching staff will be determined and announced at a later date.