After previously serving two stints at Notre Dame, Mike Denbrock is reportedly headed back to South Bend, Indiana.
Denbrock, the architect of LSU’s top-rated offense in 2023 and offensive coordinator the past two seasons, informed LSU of his intentions Friday to return to Notre Dame in the same capacity, Pete Sampson of The Athletic reported.
Reports surfaced Thursday that Denbrock was interested in the position that was vacated when Gerad Parker left to become head coach at Troy.
LSU coach Brian Kelly acknowledged the news and said that current quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan and wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Cortez Hankton will serve as the team’s co-offensive coordinators in the Jan. 1 ReliaQuest Bowl.
Sloan will be situated in the press box and Hankton on the field. It’s unclear who will call plays.
“I’m confident in Cortez and Joe’s ability to run the offense,” Kelly said in a university release. “They will collaborate in the passing game and work with (offensive line coach) Brad (Davis) and (running backs coach) Frank (Wilson) in the running game. They will execute a great game plan for us. They are a cohesive group of coaches and I’m excited about this opportunity for them. I know they will do a good job.”
Denbrock, a finalist for The Broyles Award which goes to the nation’s top college assistant coach, was set to make $1.5 million at LSU in 2024. Just over two weeks ago he reportedly agreed to a three-year contract extension to remain on Kelly’s staff. However, that contract extension was never approved during the last LSU Board of Supervisors meeting in New Orleans. They were set to meet again on the matter in February.
Texas A&M, under new head coach Mike Elko, was reported to have also pursued Denbrock but hired Kansas State’s Collin Klein.
Denbrock, a native of Homer, Michigan, has twice coached at Notre Dame in 2002-04 and 2010-18 which his paths crossing with current Irish head coach Marcus Freeman, then the defensive coordinator, during his second stint in South Bend, Indiana.
Denbrock and Freeman previously coached together for four years at the University of Cincinnati (2017-2020) where they were the offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively.
LSU led the nation in scoring (46.4) and total offense (547.8) and was the only team in the top 10 nationally in both rushing (213.5) and passing (334.3). The Tigers were also first in third-down conversion percentage at 56.67.
Denbrock played a significant role in the development of fifth-year senior quarterback Jayden Daniels into this year’s Heisman Trophy winner.
In his first season Denbrock, a veteran of 30-plus years, guided an LSU offense that set a single-season school record with 39 rushing touchdowns.
Denbrock was also a semifinalist for the Broyles Award in ’21 after serving as offensive coordinator on Cincinnati’s 13-1 team that reached the College Football Playoff, has coached a total of 16 years with Kelly, including stops of Grand Valley State, Notre Dame and LSU.
LSU wrapped up pre-Christmas bowl preparations Friday and depart for Tampa and the ReliaQuest Bowl on Dec. 26.