football Edit

Report: Gino Guidugli expected to be Notre Dame's next quarterbacks coach

The latest move in an increasingly bizarre coaching carousel for Notre Dame football surfaced Wednesday when ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Gino Guidugli would become Notre Dame's next quarterbacks coach.

The Irish have been in need of a quarterbacks coach since offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, who also coached the position he played at Notre Dame, accepted the same job at Alabama on Feb. 3. Finding a replacement of Rees as offensive coordinator had been head coach Marcus Freeman's top priority, but it hasn't been easy.

The Irish brought at least two offensive coordinators on campus for interviews — Kansas State offensive coordinator Collin Klein and Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig — but neither made it across the finish line. Ludwig appeared to be Freeman's preference for the job, but the buyout in his Utah contract reportedly prevented the two sides from signing a deal.

In the middle of the coordinator search, offensive line coach Harry Hiestand retired and left Freeman with another hole to fill.


Gino Guidugli spent the last six seasons at Cincinnati before following head coach Luke Fickell to Wisconsin earlier this offseason.
Gino Guidugli spent the last six seasons at Cincinnati before following head coach Luke Fickell to Wisconsin earlier this offseason. (UC Athletics)


By hiring Guidugli as quarterbacks coach, it seemingly narrows Freeman's options for an offensive coordinator. One of those options is current Irish tight ends coach Gerad Parker. An Inside ND Sports source confirmed Parker formally interviewed for the offensive coordinator job on Tuesday, which was first reported by ESPN's Heather Dinich.

Update: Inside ND Sports has confirmed Parker is expected to be named offensive coordinator.

Freeman and Guidugli worked together at Cincinnati for four seasons from 2017-20. While Freeman was defensive coordinator for the Bearcats, Guidugli served multiple roles: running backs coach in 2017, quarterbacks coach in 2018-19 and passing game coordinator/QBs coach in 2020. Guidugli was promoted to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach prior to the 2022 season.

After head coach Luke Fickell left Cincinnati to become Wisconsin's head coach in late November of last year, Guidugli eventually followed him as the program's passing game coordinator and tight ends coach.

Guidugli, 39, set Cincinnati’s single-season and career records for passing attempts, completions, yards and interceptions as quarterback from 2001-04. In 2006, Guidugli was recognized as a charter member of Cincinnati’s Ring of Honor in Nippert Stadium. In four seasons as a starter, Guidugli threw for 11,453 yards, 78 touchdowns and 48 interceptions on 888-of-1,556 passing (56.6%).

Guidugli pursued a professional playing career that included stops in the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and AF2 before taking his first coaching job as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan in 2010. He was promoted to running backs coach/recruiting coordinator from 2013-16 and spent his last season with the Chippewas in 2017 as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

Central Michigan finished the 2017 season ranked No. 43 in the FBS in passing offense (255.7 yards per game) and No. 81 in team passing efficiency (127.36) with former Michigan quarterback Shane Morris completing 249 of his 446 passes for 3,237 yards and 27 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.

Guidugli’s Cincinnati coaching tenure became defined by the career of Desmond Ridder, a former two-star recruit from Louisville. After Ridder redshirted as a freshman in 2017 when Guidugli was coaching running backs, he became the primary starter for the next four seasons with the Bearcats.


With Ridder leading the offense in his first two seasons as starter, Cincinnati’s team passing efficiency ranked No. 49 (140.31) in 2018 and No. 96 (122.83) in 2019. When Guidugli was promoted to passing game coordinator for the next two seasons, Cincinnati finished each season among the top 25 in team passing efficiency: No. 25 in 2020 (153.04) and No. 14 in 2021 (157.89).

In Ridder’s final season at Cincinnati, the Bearcats made an undefeated run into the College Football Playoff before losing to No. 1 Alabama in a semifinal. He completed 251 of his 387 passes (64.9%) for 3,334 yards and 30 touchdowns with eight interceptions. That year he broke Guidugli’s school record of 78 career passing touchdowns by reaching 87.

Guidugli was promoted to offensive coordinator following the 2021 season when Mike Denbrock went to LSU to reunite with head coach Brian Kelly. Cincinnati’s offense took a step back in 2022 without Ridder, a third-round NFL Draft pick. The Bearcats also lost wide receiver Alec Pierce (second round) and running back Jerome Ford (fifth round) to the NFL.

Cincinnati’s 2022 offense ranked No. 55 in passing (242.6 yards per game), No. 59 in scoring (29.2 points per game), No. 60 in team passing efficiency (173.24), No. 81 in total yards (372.2 per game) and No. 94 in rushing (129.7 yards per game). Quarterback Ben Bryant, who returned to Cincinnati after transferring to Eastern Michigan for the 2021 season, completed 61.2% of his passes (213-of-348) for 2,732 yards and 21 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

In Guidugli’s five recruiting cycles as a quarterbacks coach for Cincinnati, he helped the Bearcats sign one four-star recruit (Evan Prater), three three-star recruits (Brady Lichtenberg, Luther Richesson and Brady Drogosh) and one two-star recruit (Michael Lindauer) at the position.

Guidugli himself was rated as a four-star recruit out of Fort Thomas (Ky.) Highlands in the 2001 class by longtime recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.


• Talk with Notre Dame fans on The Insider Lounge.

• Subscribe to the Inside ND Sports podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Podbean or Pocket Casts.

• Subscribe to the Inside ND Sports channel on YouTube.

• Follow us on Twitter: @insideNDsports, @EHansenND, @TJamesND and @ByKyleKelly.

• Like us on Facebook: Inside ND Sports

• Follow us on Instagram: @insideNDsports