Cincy hiring Notre Dame's Mike Denbrock as offensive coordinator

ByMatt Fortuna ESPN logo
Friday, December 30, 2016

Notre Dame Fighting Irish assistant coach Mike Denbrock is expected to become the Cincinnati Bearcats' offensive coordinator, a source told on Thursday.

Denbrock spent the previous seven seasons at Notre Dame, most recently serving as associate head coach and receivers coach.

Denbrock, who will work under new Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell, is the latest Irish assistant to depart following a 4-8 season. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford took the Western Kentucky head job, while tight ends coach and special-teams coordinator Scott Booker was fired, a source told

Sports Illustrated first reported the news earlier Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, meanwhile, was fired after a 1-3 start. Notre Dame recently hired Mike Elko from Wake Forest to run its defense, in addition to adding former Nevada head coach Brian Polian to its staff as special-teams coordinator.

Denbrock served as the primary playcaller the past two seasons for the Irish, who were led by quarterback DeShone Kizer, who recently declared for the NFL draft. Denbrock, who had prostate cancer in 2014, has long ties with Irish head coach Brian Kelly, having served on the same Grand Valley State staff with Kelly as a graduate assistant in 1987 before coaching under Kelly there from 1992-98.

Denbrock also spent time as an assistant with Illinois State, Stanford, Washington and Indiana State, as well as an earlier stint at Notre Dame from 2002-04. He spent two seasons coaching in the AFL with the Buffalo Destroyers, too.