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Notre Dame Football

Not Worth Betting Against James Laurinaitis

January 21, 2022

James Laurinaitis has thought about getting into coaching for a while since his days of playing linebacker for Ohio State and the NFL ended.

He took another step toward that path earlier this month, when he accepted a position as an analyst at Notre Dame under Marcus Freeman, his former Buckeye teammate.

“I'd heard mixed stories of whether or not he wanted to get into coaching,” Kevin Noon of told Irish Sports Daily. “I think he understands the time demands of getting into the coaching profession.

“He had himself a nice little life carved out with a young family and doing radio, but apparently, he wants to give it a go, so I think that this could be leading to larger opportunities if he's successful and he likes it.”

A three-time All-American who won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and the Nagurski Award as the best defensive player in the country, Laurinaitis has an impressive resume.

“Just because you were a great player doesn't always necessarily mean that you're going to end up being a great coach,” Noon said. “But I wouldn’t bet against Laurinaitis being somebody who succeeds in this.

“He's just a student of the game. He's just so football smart. He's very dynamic. Some guys are just natural-born leaders and we throw that term around a lot, but I truly think that Laurinaitis is a natural-born leader.”

If Laurinaitis does take the next step to becoming an on-field coach, Noon believes he’d be a hit.

“He's a great communicator,” said Noon. “So many people understand the game, but can't communicated, that's not him. He was on the radio for several years.”

Laurinaitis’ father and uncles were professional wrestlers. His father, Joe, was known as the “Road Warrior Animal” and is a WWE Hall of Famer.

“He's grown up around show business his whole life,” said Noon. “He can cut a promo.”

Seems like the kind of trait that would be effective on the recruiting trail.


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