James Laurinaitis is returning to Ohio State.
The former Buckeye linebacker is joining Ohio State’s staff as a defensive graduate assistant after one year in the same role at Notre Dame, sources confirmed to Eleven Warriors on Friday.
Laurinaitis will serve as an assistant linebackers coach, filling the role held last season by Koy McFarland, who is now the linebackers coach at Tulsa.
“I am thrilled for our program and especially for our current and future Buckeyes who will benefit so much from having James on staff,” Ryan Day said in a news release by Ohio State. “James is a terrific young man with wisdom as a Buckeye and experience as an eight-year NFL veteran. He is going to be a very important part of our program going forward.”
Back to the Brotherhood pic.twitter.com/ZC0TeWS8tC— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) January 27, 2023
The three-time Ohio State All-American previously worked in broadcasting for 97.1 The Fan and Big Ten Network before beginning his coaching career at Notre Dame last year. He chose to join the Fighting Irish because of his close friendship with Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman, who played alongside Laurinaitis at Ohio State.
“I was thankful for the opportunity that Marcus gave me,” Laurinaitis said during a press conference in August. “He said, ‘I don’t know what we’ll have (available) for you,’ and I said, ‘I don’t care what you have. I just want to be there and have a chance to get my foot in the door.’”
Now, Laurinaitis is returning to Columbus to help develop linebackers at the same school where he was one of college football’s all-time greats at the position. He joins a group of former Buckeye players on Ohio State’s staff that includes offensive coordinator Brian Hartline, secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and quality control coach Devin Jordan.
After returning to Ohio State in his first game with Notre Dame last season, Laurinaitis will now return to South Bend in his fourth game on Ohio State’s staff, as the Buckeyes are set to play the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium in their non-conference finale of the 2023 season on Sept. 23.