Former Ohio State football linebackers coach Al Washington reportedly to be hired by Notre Dame

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State Buckeyes linebackers coach Al Washington reacts after the defense gave up a touchdown during the fourth quarter of a NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

Linebackers coach Al Washington is not returning to Ohio State’s coaching staff, but he will be back at Ohio Stadium next fall.

Washington is set to be hired as the defensive line coach at Notre Dame, which visits the Buckeyes when the teams open their 2022 seasons, according to an ESPN report published Sunday. He will also hold the title of defensive run game coordinator.

After three seasons with the Buckeyes, joining Ryan Day’s inaugural staff in 2019, Washington was not retained last week.

Day overhauled much of his defensive coaching staff after Ohio State allowed more than 20 points per game for the second consecutive season, including bringing in Oklahoma State's Jim Knowles as the new coordinator.

The only defensive position coach poised to be back next season is defensive line coach Larry Johnson with defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and secondary coach Matt Barnes also not returning. Barnes was tapped as Memphis' defensive coordinator. 

The income that Washington receives at Notre Dame will offset the buyout pay he is owed by Ohio State, which could have reached as much as $600,000, his base salary for a year. He had another year left on his contract.

Washington previously coached defensive line coach at Boston College in 2016 and 2012 and at Cincinnati in 2017 before becoming the linebackers coach at Michigan in 2018 and then returning to his native Columbus in 2019. He was also a defensive tackle for the Eagles from 2002-05.

He is at least the second hire with Ohio State ties this month to join the staff at Notre Dame, which is being led by first-year coach Marcus Freeman, a former Buckeyes linebacker.

James Laurinaitis, who was a teammate with Freeman, is also heading to South Bend.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.