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Monday, January 2, 2012
Irish announce staff changes

By Matt Fortuna

Notre Dame will have some familiar faces in new places next season.

Bob Diaco has been named assistant head coach, Chuck Martin has been named offensive coordinator, Kerry Cooks has been named co-defensive coordinator and Scott Booker has been promoted to full-time assistant, the Irish announced Monday, four days after their season ended with a Champs Sports Bowl loss to Florida State and five days after head coach Brian Kelly said he was excited to be able to keep his staff in place for 2012.

Former running backs coach Tim Hinton and former offensive line coach and running game coordinator Ed Warinner have left to pursue other opportunities.

Diaco, Martin, Cooks, Booker, Tony Alford (receivers), Mike Denbrock (tight ends) and Mike Elston (defensive line/special teams) have all received contract extensions as well.

Diaco is promoted after two seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, duties he will still be responsible for. Martin, who coached safeties and served a recruiting coordinator, replaces Charley Molnar, who took the head coaching job at Massachusetts last month.

Martin succeeded Brian Kelly as head coach at Grand Valley State for six seasons and directed the offense, continuing the same system Kelly had installed.

“Chuck is a very talented coach that will make our offense better in the future due to his knowledge of our offensive system as well as how defenses like to attack it,” Kelly said in a statement. “I wanted someone that knew the system I’m familiar with and our experience coaching together will make for an easy transition. Chuck did a great job directing the Grand Valley State offense after I left and led the program to unprecedented heights. I look forward to witnessing the impact he’ll have on our offense.”

Cooks coached cornerbacks last season and outside linebackers the year before. Booker has been an offensive intern the past two seasons and will be assigned a specific position in the future.

Hinton has long been rumored to be joining Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State, though neither school had an immediate announcement and Hinton deflected those rumors Dec. 19, saying:

"Here's what I know: I am coaching at the University of Notre Dame. That's all for everything else, and that's all for everybody else. I've got one thing to do: I'm gonna coach Cierre Wood, I'm gonna coach Theo Riddick, which kind of got you guys last week, didn't it? And I'm gonna coach George [Atkinson III] and Cam [McDaniel] and that's the only thing we can do. And that's the bottom line: We're coaching the heck out of them. And do I want to be at Notre Dame? Absolutely."

The loss of Warinner comes as a bigger surprise, though it is unclear where his next stop will be.