A 29-year coaching veteran, Harry Hiestand has joined the University of Notre Dame football coaching staff as offensive line coach and run game coordinator today after directing the offensive lines at schools in the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference and National Football League for the past 18 seasons.
“I’ve spent most of my coaching career in the Midwest and I’m happy to be back in the area,” Hiestand said. “I’ve always had great respect for Notre Dame and what it stands for. As you look at the college football landscape, Notre Dame is truly a unique place and I’m happy to be part of it. I’m excited about working with Coach Kelly and our offensive linemen this year.”
Hiestand coached at Tennessee the last two years (2010-11) after working with the offensive line of the NFL Chicago Bears from 2005-09. He coached the offensive line at Illinois from 1997-2004 and at Missouri from 1994-96.
“Harry is one of the best offensive line coaches in college football, and we are fortunate to have him on our staff,” Irish head coach Brian Kelly said. “When I was searching to fill this position, I asked some of the most respected offensive line coaches in football whom they would recommend and Harry’s name was routinely mentioned as one of the best. His history of developing NFL-caliber offensive linemen speaks for itself, and I know our linemen will learn a lot from him.”
Tennessee was one of only seven schools in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision that did not start a senior on the offensive line in any game in 2011. The Volunteers allowed only 18 sacks in the talented SEC--and only Alabama among conference schools allowed fewer sacks in 2011 than Tennessee.
Prior to his arrival in Knoxville, Hiestand spent five seasons coaching the offensive line of the Chicago Bears. The Bears were division champions in 2005 and 2006, advancing to Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season.
Hiestand’s offensive line helped Bears running backs eclipse 1,200 rushing yards threetimes in five seasons. Thomas Jones gained 1,335 rushing yards in 2005 and 1,210 yards in 2006, while Matt Forte totaled 1,238 yards on the ground in 2008. Jones and Forte joined an exclusive list of Bears running backs to ever gain at least 1,200 rushing yards in a season: Neal Anderson, Walter Payton and Gale Sayers.
His first assistant coach role came at Hiestand’s alma mater, East Stroudsburg. Hiestand was offensive line coach from 1984-85 and assistant offensive linecoach in 1983 at the NCAA Division II school after serving as a student assistant in 1982.
Hiestand began his college career as an offensive lineman at Springfield College (Mass.) before transferring to East Stroudsburg where injuries ended his playing career. He graduated from East Stroudsburg in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education.
Born Nov. 19, 1958, in Malvern, Pa., Hiestand and his wife Terri have four children--Michael, Matthew, Mark and Sarah.