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Notre Dame's Marcus Freeman tears up after thanking 6 kids during introduction as head coach

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  • Brian Kelly
    Brian Kelly
    American college football player and coach

The departure of former football coach Brian Kelly to LSU was cause for emotion in Notre Dame circles. 

As was the promotion of new head coach Marcus Freeman. The first-time head coach is taking over one of football's most fabled programs after spending a single season as the team's defensive coordinator on Kelly's staff. It adds up to a rapid ascent for the 35-year-old former Ohio State linebacker who built his reputation as Cincinnati's defensive coordinator prior to joining Notre Dame.

Freeman officially introduced himself to media and fans as head coach in a news conference on Monday. The gravity of the moment caught up with him as he thanked his wife Joanna and the six children they have together for their sacrifices and the Notre Dame administration for the opportunity. He did so as he choked back tears.

"My wife, my partner, thank you for your unselfishness," Freeman said. "Thank you for always being there and your support, most of the time. You can be my toughest critic. To my kids Vinny, Siena, Geno, Rocco, Capri, Nico. You didn't ask for this. You didn't ask to share your dad. But you have to. And I love you."

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Freeman's emotions caught up with him at his introductory news conference on Monday. )Matt Cashore/Reuters/File)

That's when Freeman's emotions caught up with him. His voice cracked as he thanked Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins and athletic director Jack Swarbick.

"Thank you for challenging everything," Freeman continued. "Thank you for making a decision to believe in a 35-year-old first-time head coach. And I vow to work tirelessly to never disappoint you."

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