Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 19 of 47

20 FEBRUARY 2022 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL F rom the moment the roof caved in, Tommy Rees had a prefer- ence, a hope for how this mess would play out. Notre Dame's of- fensive coordinator and one-time Irish quarterback wanted to remain in South Bend when it was all cleaned up. There was, though, also the matter of reality. "Deep down, I always wanted to stay," Rees said on a recent episode of The Ryen Russillo Podcast, "but I didn't know if that was going to be an oppor- tunity or not." On the night Brian Kelly set his course for the South, Rees knew he had one surefire job — with Kelly at LSU. It would come with a raise. Notre Dame, meanwhile, had his heart but suddenly lacked a rudder. For a 29-year-old rising coach, the certainty aspect must be part of the discussion. And it nearly won out. "I know what I'm getting with Coach Kelly," Rees said. "I know what LSU is. That was the safer of the two decisions. I knew what I was getting into. Stay- ing was a little more unknown. I know Notre Dame and know the players, but this is a new regime." For about 48 hours between Kelly's departure Nov. 29 and Marcus Freeman's An Uncertain Week Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees pulls back the curtain on a stressful 72 hours after Brian Kelly's departure — and his own near-exit Rees admitted he nearly followed Brian Kelly to LSU before deciding to stay at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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