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January 24, 2014

Kelly names LaFleur QB coach

Notre Dame announced the hiring of Matt LaFleur as quarterbacks coach Friday. LaFleur has spent the last four seasons with the Washington Redskins tutoring young quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman.

“Matt has a proven résumé of developing quarterbacks at numerous levels of football, none more evident than his outstanding work with the Washington Redskins,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement. “He was a major factor in the success not only of two rookies, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, but was also crucial in the resurgence of Rex Grossman’s career, who in 2010 under LaFleur established numerous career bests.”

Kelly knows LaFleur from their days at Central Michigan when LaFleur served as one of Kelly’s offensive assistants in 2004-05. A Michigan native, LaFleur has also spent time at Saginaw Valley State (2003), Northern Michigan (2006) and with the Houston Texans (2008-09), always on the offensive side of the ball.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to once again work with coach Kelly -- who I believe is the best head coach in the country,” LaFleur said in a statement. “I’m extremely honored to be a member of such an outstanding coaching staff and join the premier program in college football. The history and tradition at this University is unmatched. I can’t begin to describe my excitement to get started.”

LaFleur will have a stocked stable of quarterbacks to work with, as Everett Golson returns for his junior season, Malik Zaire prepares for his sophomore season after spending this fall red-shirting, and commit DeShone Kizer will join the fray in the summer. His experience with young quarterbacks -- highlighted by Griffin’s outstanding 2012 rookie season which culminated with Pro Bowl recognition and multiple NFL records -- is, in part, what led Kelly to add him to Notre Dame’s staff.

“My respect for Matt goes back to his time as an outstanding quarterback at Saginaw Valley State. He was an incredible competitor and displayed all the characteristics a coach would want in his signal callers,” Kelly said. “That competitive drive was on display everyday during his time with me at Central Michigan. He will develop our quarterbacks at Notre Dame to the highest level. I’m thrilled to have him on our coaching staff.”

As an offensive assistant at Saginaw Valley State following his 2003 graduation, LaFleur helped the Cardinals defeat Grand Valley State 34-20, the only loss Kelly and GVSU suffered as they won back-to-back Division II titles.


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