Earlier today, Notre Dame announced that they have found their next distance coaching replacement. Former Furman assistant coach Chris Neal will venture to the midwest to replace Sean Carlson as the Fighting Irish's newest men's distance coach.
Based on the language of the press release, Neal will seemingly work in an assistant capacity alongside veteran head coach Matt Sparks. Sources have suggested to The Stride Report that the newest Notre Dame hire isn't expected to be given a head coaching title immediately, but will rather grow into the role.
According to one source, the Notre Dame job was declined more than once.
Sparks previously held the head coaching title for both the Notre Dame men and women for a brief period of time before Carlson was eventually elevated to the head men's distance role following the team's ACC title in 2018. However, Carlson has largely been responsible for the overall development of the Irish men.
Neal has worked under head coach Robert Gary and alongside women's coach Rita Gary for the past 13 years at both Ohio State and Furman. While working alongside the accomplished husband-and-wife duo, Neal has assisted in the Furman men and women becoming a national power.
The Paladins have consistently qualified for the cross country national meet as a team and numerous top-tier individuals have left the program well prepared for the pro circuit.
Now, Neal will be working with what may be one of the more talented rosters he's potentially ever coached. The Irish have tons of young talent and on paper, they should still be plenty competitive in 2022 despite some massive departures.