Why Mike Denbrock left LSU football for Notre Dame

Mike Denbrock is headed back to Notre Dame after chartering an offense that saw Jayden Daniels win the Heisman Trophy with LSU football. However, the offensive coordinator’s decision is something we expected, given his history with the Irish football program.
Dec 17, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish assistant football coach Mike Denbrock
Dec 17, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish assistant football coach Mike Denbrock / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

News broke on Friday that Mike Denbrock was leaving LSU football for the offensive coordinator position Notre Dame. Many LSU fans were caught off guard by the decision, especially considering Denbrock agreed to a contract extension with the Tigers less than two weeks prior. However, the LSU Board of Supervisors had yet to review and approve Denbrock’s extension. Simultaneously, it was no secret that the Fighting Irish targeted the LSU offensive coordinator to fill their marquee vacancy.

I figured it was only a matter of time before Mike Denbrock headed home.

Notre Dame was in need of an offensive coordinator after incumbent Gerald Parker accepted the head coach position at Troy. As such, most Irish football news outlets pegged Denbrock and Missouri’s Kirby Moore as candidates to replace Parker. Like Denbrock, Moore produced an outstanding season of which he earned a new contract. However, unlike Denbrock, Moore’s extension with Missouri was approved by their board.

Denbrock is from Homer, Michigan, a village in the greater Battle Creek area that is less than two hours from South Bend, Indiana. Moreover, the 59-year-old served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame from 2002 to 2016. Suffice it to say that Denbrock is familiar with Irish head coach Marcus Freeman, and was motivated to move back North.

I get why Mike Denbrock lunged at the opportunity to return to the Irish. The offensive guru arguably has more talent to work with in Baton Rouge, but Baton Rouge is not home. I can’t speak for Denbrock, but I assume that the offensive coordinator role at Notre Dame is a promotion because it places him so close to home.

There was an X (Twitter) post that compared Denbrock’s situation to that of an assistant coach from New Orleans being offered a job with LSU football. Bingo. Forgive me for not recalling what user posted such.

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I wish Mike Denbrock the best at Notre Dame, but regret that we will not see more than two seasons of his work in Baton Rouge.