Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday afternoon to accept the national assistant coach of the year award.
Bob Diaco was promoted to assistant head coach at Notre Dame for the 2012 football season.
Diaco claimed the Frank Broyles Trophy at a luncheon Tuesday afternoon while buzz continued to grow about his possible departure from South Bend. The Irish assistant head coach was listed as a finalist for the Boston College job Tuesday, but the Eagles ultimately went in another direction, hiring Temple coach Steve Addazio.
Diaco and his defensive staff have reshaped the Irish defense in his three seasons at Notre Dame. This year his defense leads the nation in scoring average (10.33 points per game) and ranks in the top 12 for passing efficiency, rush defense and total defense. He also coaches Notre Dame’s linebackers, including Manti Te’o who has already outpaced his coach with three postseason awards and is a finalist for several others.
“We’re constantly trying to turnover a different stone,” Diaco said about his staff in September, the last time he was available to speak to the media. “Each guy is a players-first guy. You think about the players first and what they can do well on a daily basis, what they didn’t hear that specific day.”
No Notre Dame assistant coach had won the Broyles Award, which has been handed out since 1996, before Diaco. The 10-man voting panel — a group that included Hayden Fry, who coached Diaco for four years at Iowa — chose the Notre Dame assistant over Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason among others.
Past winners of the award include Gene Chizik, Randy Shannon and David Cutcliffe, all of whom later went on to claim head coaching jobs. Diaco remains a Notre Dame assistant for now, but his name will very likely land on other wish lists as coaching change dominoes continue to fall this week.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they wanted to talk to Bob Diaco. He’s the finest defensive coordinator in the country,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said when rumors of Boston College’s interest first broke Sunday night.
“Bob Diaco is an incredible coach and he knows he fits so well here at Notre Dame. That’s why we haven’t had a ton of conversation about it.”
Diaco was also named the defensive coordinator of the year by FootballScoop.com Tuesday morning.