Notre Dame has officially hired Brian Mason as its new special teams coordinator.
This move was expected for some time, but the Irish made it official today. Mason came to Notre Dame after spending the four previous seasons in the same role at Cincinnati. The Bearcats went 44-7 in the four seasons that Mason was part of the staff, including a 13-1 record and a College Football Playoff appearance this past season.
In 2017 he was the director of recruiting for the Bearcats. Mason was part of the same Cincinnati staff with Marcus Freeman from 2017-20, with Freeman serving as the defensive coordinator. Freeman and Mason will now be reunited at Notre Dame.
Mason came to Cincinnati after serving as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State for two seasons (2015-16) under Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2015 season, and Mason was part of that staff. Ohio State made the College Football Playoff in 2016 with Mason as part of that staff as well.
Cincinnati's special teams ranked 6th according to Pro Football Focus this past season and 12th in efficiency according to the Fremeau Efficiency Index.
The Bearcats ranked 3rd nationally in yards allowed per punt return, giving up just 1.5 yards per return on 17 returns this season. Cincinnati ranked 24th and 23rd in this category in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Cincinnati ranked 24th in yards allowed per kick return this season. A forced fumble on a kick coverage against Notre Dame was a key play in the Bearcat victory over the Irish this past season.
Cincinnati ranked 31st and 36th in punt and kick return average this season and scored a touchdown in each category.
Mason coached the Sniper position at Cincinnati this past season, which is the equivalent of the rover position at Notre Dame. He also comes with a strong reputation as a recruiter.
From what I've been able to study and learn about Mason this gives Notre Dame an upgrade at the position, versatility as a coach (he isn't just a special teams coach) and he adds to the recruiting strength of the staff.
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