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Notre Dame DC Mike Elko To Return To Fighting Irish Next Season

Notre Dame players kneeling on the sideline.

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 21: Members of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish pray before a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Notre Dame Stadium on September 21, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 17-13. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Mike Elko garnered interest from other programs after a strong first year at Notre Dame, but Brian Kelly says he's staying put.

After a rough season under Brian VanGorder, who was fired during the 2016 season, Mike Elko engineered a solid turnaround on the defensive end for Notre Dame this fall.

Notre Dame went from 27.8 points allowed per game last year to 21.8 under Elko, who came over from Wake Forest last season. That touchdown difference is good for a jump from 61st in the country up to 31st.

According to reports, Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher was looking at Elko for the Aggies' DC job. Brian Kelly did not name the school, but admitted that other schools were looking at Elko. He'll be staying in South Bend for next fall, though. From 247Sports:

Without mentioning Texas A&M directly, Brian Kelly suggested another program showed interest in taking defensive coordinator Mike Elko away from Notre Dame after the Citrus Bowl.

But according to Notre Dame’s head coach, who spoke to Irish Illustrated exclusively on the night of the team reconvening here, Elko isn’t going anywhere.


“If you’re looking at the defensive coordinators that are out there today and you look at what they’re being paid, it’s ridiculous,” Kelly said. “The money is crazy and the length of contracts that are being thrown at you. You look at it that way, you’re probably going to catch somebody’s eye early on in the process, and I’m not saying that it happened or it didn’t happen, you can put two and two together.”

That's good news for Notre Dame, which can definitely use some continuity on that side of the ball after bouncing back from a brutal 4-8 year in 2016.