Former Ohio State star and long-time B1G assistant Marcus Freeman is getting his first chance at a head coaching gig. After leading Notre Dame’s defense to a fantastic performance in his first season, Freeman will be the next head coach of Notre Dame after Brian Kelly left for the head coaching job at LSU.

On ESPN’s College GameDay, Freeman was asked who drove him the most to be where he is now. For Freeman, his mentors started with Ohio State’s Jim Tressel:

“It starts with my college football coach being Jim Tressel,” explained Freeman. “Coach Tressel was an unbelievable leader, unbelievable mentor for me as a young person. I went to Purdue and Kent State with Darrell Hazell, that had a huge impact.”

After Hazell was fired by the Boilermakers during the 2016 season, Freeman was quick to land at Cincinnati as Luke Fickell’s DC.

“The last 4 years, being with Luke Fickell. He was my college position coach and also the head coach at Cincinnati,” said Freeman about Fickell’s mentorship. “Every one of those coaches has had a huge impact on me, and I take bits and pieces of all of them.”

Freeman has quickly made his way to the top of one of the most successful college football programs in the nation. According to Freeman, he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is without Tressel, Hazell, and Fickell trusting and investing in him along the way.

Now, Freeman will get to be the motivator for an entire team and coaching staff.