Military and family values made Marcus Freeman the coach he is today
A retired U.S. Air Force veteran of nearly 30 years, Michael Freeman hopes that the lessons he learned and taught after nearly three decades of military service will help equip his son, Marcus Freeman, to best handle the responsibilities of being the 30th head football coach at Notre Dame.
Situated in the front row Monday, inside the Notre Dame practice facility for an enthusiastic 1,000-person introduction — complete with Irish cheerleaders and a 30-member marching band — the elder Freeman swelled with pride as his youngest of two sons was introduced.
Michael, joined by his wife, Chong; his daughter-in-law, Joanna; six grandchildren; and lots of smiles, the patriarch of the Freemans said after the ceremony that this was, “one of the happiest moments of my life.”
Standing behind a podium atop a six-foot stage, the younger Freeman, 35, recognized and celebrated his unique heritage and upbringing.
“So, who is Marcus Freeman?” the new Irish coach rhetorically asked. “Well, I’m the son of a man who was in the Air Force for 26 years. I’m the son of a woman who was born in Korea that came over here in 1976. I can tell you that, because that’s who I am.”
Freeman continued: “I get my discipline, my work ethic, my honesty from my father. I get my unselfishness and other centered focus from my mother, and that’s exactly how I will lead this football program. We will be disciplined. We will work tirelessly.”
When asked about his son’s loyalty, work ethic and sincerity, the elder Freeman explained how respect was always the Freeman family’s foundation. Marcus has one older brother, Michael Freeman Jr.
“Get up early, be on time, love your country, love your community,” Michael Sr., said. “Those are things that we talked about at an early age. That’s what you did.
“Talk to people and treat people in a way that you would like to be treated. Those are the types of things that we kind of practice in our household when we talk to each other.”
Much has happened for the Freemans since this time last year.
Immediately after finishing last season as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator on Jan. 1, in a three-point loss to Georgia in the Peach Bowl, Marcus made a big career jump in becoming the Irish defensive coordinator this season, and an even bigger jump this week in becoming the second-youngest Irish head coach of all time.
“Marcus has always talked to people and communicated with people,” a proud papa explained. “It was nothing that he accidentally developed. He’s always been able to look a person in the eye and talk to them.”
Like father like son.
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