REPORT: Notre Dame To Hire Mike Mickens To Coach Cornerbacks

Bryan Driskell

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, Notre Dame has finally hired its cornerbacks coach, with head coach Brian Kelly once again tapping into his pipeline to fill an opening.

Thamel reports that Notre Dame is set to hire Mike Mickens, the cornerbacks coach for Cincinnati. Mickens played for Kelly at Cincinnati in 2007-08 and has coached the Bearcat secondary the last two seasons.

Cincinnati ranked 24th in scoring defense (20.6 points per game) and 15th in pass efficiency defense during the 2019 season. In 2018, Cincinnati ranked 8th in scoring defense (17.2 PPG) and 13th in pass efficiency defense.

Freshman cornerback Ahmad Gardner was named a first-team All-American Athletic Conference player by the league and Pro Football Focus after registering eight pass break ups and three interceptions to go with 31 tackles. Gardner returned two of his interceptions for touchdowns.

According to PFF, Gardner held opponents to a 39.7-percent completion rate when he was targeted, giving up 6.2 yards per target. For comparison's sake, consider that former Irish corner Julian Love allowed a 53.2-percent completion rate during his All-American season.

Cincinnati's nickel corner - Arquon Bush - held opponents to a 44.7-percent completion rate.

Mickens was the cornerbacks coach at Bowling Green from 2014-17. He served as the cornerbacks coach at Idaho in 2013 and he was a defensive assistant at Indiana State in 2012. 

Mickens finished his Cincinnati playing career with 234 tackles and 14 interceptions. His 14 career interceptions are a Bearcat record. Mickens picked off six passes in 2007, which is tied for second most all-time in a single-season at Cincinnati.

Comments (13)
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Any word on how he is as a recruiter?


Well sounds like a winner to me. I've heard he was torn between Cincy and ND glad he chose the latter. #GoIrish


Love this hire. I know someone who speaks very highly of Mickens as a coach and person. Mickens mentored two true freshmen cornerbacks in 2014 who combined for nine interceptions at BGSU. In 2015, the BGSU secondary picked off more passes(20) than TD passes allowed(19). A corner in his first full season that year intercepted 6 passes. In 2017, Mickens coached corners picked off 6 passes. Finally in 2019, Mickens coached a true freshman corner(Ahmad Gardner) that was named to several Freshman All-American teams.


Hey, when he was hired by Cincy he turned their defensive pass efficiency from 117th in 2017 to 13th and 15th in 2018 and 2019. Seems like a pretty darn good hire, hope he's able to recruit well!