Notre Dame Football News: Mike Denbrock Named new Offensive Coordinator

By Marisol Nicholson

Mike Denbrock

DECEMBER 27, 2023


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Mike Denbrock, a 36-year coaching veteran and most recently the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at LSU, is returning to the University of Notre Dame football program as the John and Bobbie Arlotta Family Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach. It will mark the beginning of a third stint for Denbrock at Notre Dame, who served as the offensive tackles/tight ends coach from 2002-04, then coached the Irish tight ends and wide receivers, while also serving as passing game coordinator, offensive coordinator and associate head coach from 2010-16. The hiring will be effective at the conclusion of the University’s standard employment process.

“First and foremost, Mike is an elite coach across the board,” said Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Marcus Freeman. “He is a great leader, recruiter and developer, but what I love the most is his competitive spirit.

Mike not only has a lot of experience, but he has achieved a high level of success at multiple places. He has the ability to mold his offense to utilize his playmakers, while putting defenses in conflict. I want to thank Jack Swarbrick and our leadership for consistently providing us the resources to ensure we can attract the best coaches and staff to join our program.”

Denbrock and Freeman have a shared coaching history, as both played a key role in Cincinnati’s surge to a New Year’s Day bowl in 2020, before Freeman transitioned to Notre Dame as defensive coordinator and eventually head coach. Denbrock remained with the Bearcats and helped the program earn its first and only College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. The move also reunites Denbrock with Bob and Leslie Mohr Family Quarterbacks Coach Gino Guidugli, cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator Mike Mickens and wide receivers coach Mike Brown, who also coached together at Cincinnati.

Denbrock has led several of the nation’s top offenses since assuming full offensive coordinator duties seven seasons ago at Cincinnati, then following up with two outstanding offensive campaigns at LSU. The 2023 LSU team led the nation in total offense, while Denbrock’s 2020 Cincinnati group ranked 24th and his 2018 edition was 23rd. While the statistics are impressive, perhaps it is the win-loss record for teams with an offense coordinated by Denbrock over the past six seasons that tells the true story. Since 2018, teams powered by a Denbrock-coordinated offense have compiled a 63-13 (.829) record with four 10-win seasons.

In 2023, Denbrock was a Broyles Award Finalist leading the nation’s top offensive unit – propelled by Heisman Trophy Winner Jayden Daniels who set the NCAA single-season pass efficiency rating of 208.0. LSU led the nation in total offense (547.8), scoring offense (46.4), yards per play (8.53), third down conversions (55.67%) and fewest punts (21). In addition, the 2023 Tiger offense accumulated an amazing total of 182 offensive plays that earned over 20 yards.

Before Denbrock arrived in Baton Rouge, LSU was ranked 91st in total offense after the 2021 season. His first year with the Tigers in 2022 saw the offense put together one of the best all-around seasons in LSU history averaging 34.5 points per game, 453.1 yards of offense per contest and setting a school record for rushing touchdowns with 39.

A Broyles Award semifinalist in 2021 at Cincinnati, Denbrock’s offense helped the Bearcats to a 13-0 record, while setting school records for touchdowns (70) and points scored (510). Cincinnati won its second-straight American Athletic Conference title and advanced to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.

Seven Cincinnati players collected All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2021, including quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was named the league’s offensive player of the year for a second-straight season.

Ridder developed into the school’s all-time leader in yards and touchdown passes under Denbrock. He also finished his career at UC as the all-time leader in touchdowns (116) and total yards (12,281) in the AAC. He ranks third all-time in wins (44) by a quarterback in college football history.

A list of Denbrock’s talented pupils through his years at Stanford, Notre Dame, Cincinnati and LSU is full of all-conference, All-American and NFL stars –

  • Kwame Harris, Stanford Offensive Tackle, NFL 1st Round Draft Pick, Six-year NFL veteran
  • John Carlson, Notre Dame Tight End, NFL 2nd Round Draft Pick, Seven-year NFL veteran
  • Anthony Fasano, Notre Dame Tight End, NFL 2nd Round Draft Pick, 12-year NFL veteran
  • Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame Tight End, NFL 1st Round Draft Pick, Seven-year NFL veteran
  • Ryan Harris, Notre Dame Offensive Tackle, NFL 3rd Round Draft Pick, 10-year NFL veteran
  • Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame Tight End, NFL 2nd Round Draft Pick, 12-year NFL veteran
  • Ben Koyack, Notre Dame Tight End, NFL 7th Round Draft Pick, Five-year NFL veteran
  • T.J. Jones, Notre Dame Wide Receiver, NFL 6th Round Draft PIck, Six-year NFL veteran
  • Will Fuller, Notre Dame Wide Receiver, NFL 1st Round Draft Pick, Six-year NFL veteran
  • CJ Prosise, Notre Dame Wide Receiver/Running Back, NFL 3rd Round Draft pick, Six-year NFL veteran
  • Miles Boykin, Notre Dame Wide Receiver, NFL 3rd Round Draft pick, current Pittsburgh Steeler
  • Chase Claypool, Notre Dame Wide Receiver, NFL 2nd Round Draft pick, current Miami Dolphin
  • Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati Quarterback, NFL 3rd Round Draft pick, current Atlanta Falcon
  • Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati Tight End, NFL 3rd Round Draft pick, current Green Bay Packer
  • Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati Running Back, NFL 7th Round Draft pick, current Houston Texan
  • Josh Wyhle, Cincinnati Tight End, NFL 5th Round Draft pick, current Tennessee Titan
  • Jerome Ford, Cincinnati Running Back, NFL 5th Round Draft pick, current Cleveland Brown
  • Alec Pierce, Cincinnati Wide Receiver, NFL 2nd Round Draft pick, current Indianapolis Colt
  • Malik Nabers, LSU Wide Receiver, 2023 Unanimous All-American
  • Jayden Daniels, LSU Quarterback, 2023 Heisman Trophy winner

Denbrock’s first term at Notre Dame occurred from 2002-04 coaching the Irish offensive tackles and tight ends. He returned to Notre Dame in 2010 and spent seven years on the coaching staff working with the Irish tight ends, wide receivers and passing game. He served as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2014 when the Irish scored at least 27 points a then school-record 11 times. The ‘14 offense averaged 33.0 points per game (which was the most since the 2005 team put up 36.7) and 444.6 yards of total offense per game.

Hometown: Homer, MI
High School: Homer High School
College: Grand Valley State (Communications, 1987)
Wife: Dianne
Children: Son – Chance

1982-85 Grand Valley State Tight End

1986-87 Grand Valley State Graduate Assistant
1988-89 Michigan State Graduate Assistant
1990-91 Illinois State Offensive Tackles/Tight Ends
1992-95 Grand Valley State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers
1996-98 Grand Valley State Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
1999-2000 Buffalo (AFL) Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Offensive and Defensive Line
2001 Stanford Offensive Tackles/Tight Ends
2002-04 Notre Dame Offensive Tackles/Tight Ends
2005-08 Washington Offensive Line
2009 Indiana State Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers
2010-11 Notre Dame Tight Ends
2012-13 Notre Dame Outside Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator
2014 Notre Dame Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2015-16 Notre Dame Associate Head Coach/Wide Receivers
2017-21  Cincinnati Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2022-23 LSU Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends

1989 Michigan State (Gator)
1989 Michigan State (Aloha)
1994 Grand Valley State (NCAA Division II First Round)
1998 Grand Valley State (NCAA Division II First Round)
2000 Buffalo (AFL Playoffs)
2001 Stanford (Seattle)
2003 Notre Dame (Gator)
2004 Notre Dame (Insight)
2010 Notre Dame (Sun)
2011 Notre Dame (Champs Sports)
2012 Notre Dame (BCS National Championship)
2013 Notre Dame (Pinstripe)
2014 Notre Dame (Music City)
2015 Notre Dame (Fiesta)
2018 Cincinnati (Military)
2019 Cincinnati (Birmingham)
2020 Cincinnati (Peach)
2021 Cincinnati (Cotton – CFP Semifinal)
2022 LSU (Citrus)