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January 23, 2014

LaFleur to join Irish staff

Brian Kelly has tabbed Matt LaFleur as his next quarterbacks coach.

The Washington Post first reported the move Thursday, followed by several other media outlets.

In LaFleur, Notre Dame would make a hire similar to Brian Van Gorder, adding a coach familiar with Kelly's system and style, albeit removed from the head coach's tenure at Notre Dame. Van Gorder worked with and worked for Kelly as defensive coordinator at Grand Valley State. LaFleur was an offensive assistant for Kelly's first two seasons at Central Michigan.

That Kelly connection proved to be a homecoming for LaFleur, who grew up around the Central Michigan football program. His father Denny LaFleur coached there for nearly two decades after playing for the Chippewas.

After leaving Central Michigan followed by a couple other small school stops, LaFleur spent two seasons with the Houston Texas as an offensive assistant before joining Mike Shanahan with the Washington Redskins as quarterbacks coach. He coached Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins before being fired in the wake of Shanahan's ouster.

LaFleur played college football at Western Michigan out of high school before transferring to Saginaw Valley State, where he also began his coaching career.

The move to Notre Dame will reunite LaFleur with Kelly on Notre Dame's reworked offensive staff following the departure of Chuck Martin to Miami of Ohio. Irish Illustrated reported earlier this month than Mike Denbrock will be promoted to offensive coordinator, with Kelly on record he'll return to calling plays.

LaFleur will be charged with helping Everett Golson pick up where he left off following his season-long suspension. The quarterback has reenrolled at Notre Dame after helping guide the Irish to the BCS National Championship Game as a red-shirt freshman.

LaFleur will also be tasked with helping to develop freshman Malik Zaire, now in his third semester within the program, and incoming freshman DeShone Kizer, who will enroll this summer.

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