Tommy Rees, not so swift of foot, a little prone to the interception, but a coach’s kid who understood his limitations, maximized his talent and led the Irish to important victories. His coaches’ thought enough of his body of work that after his playing days were over, he went into coaching and rapidly rose in the profession to his current job as ND offensive coordinator.
Originally from Los Angeles, Rees grew up in suburban Chicago. Bill Rees his father, who currently works on the ND staff as an analyst, served as a coach at UCLA and then Northwestern, while Rees was growing up.
A three-star recruit out of high school, Rees once had a 526 yard 6 touchdown game while at Lake Forest High School in suburban Chicago. He arrived at ND in 2010 as part of Brian Kelly’s inaugural season. He then was pressed into action in game nine when Dane Crist suffered a season ending injury.
Rees took advantage of the opportunity and led the Irish to four straight wins to end his freshman year including upset wins over Utah and USC and a 33-17 victory in the Sun Bowl over Miami. Rees then went on to have perhaps his best season statistically in 2011, throwing 20 touchdown passes with a 65.5% completion percentage.
Nonetheless, Everett Golson took over as the starter in 2012. But in fact Rees was called during the season to come off the bench and bail the Irish out against Purdue and most memorably against Stanford in a driving rainstorm, as the Irish posted an undefeated regular season. Rees also started and won the BYU game that year when Golson was injured.
When Everett Golson was declared ineligible for the 2013 season, Rees regained his starting role and threw for just under 3,257 yards and 27 TDs. He notched his second Bowl win that year against Rutgers in the PinStripe Bowl.
Rees left his mark on the Notre Dame record books. He presently ranks in the top five in Notre Dame history in 21 different single-game, single-season or career passing categories.
After a short stint as a player with the Washington Redskins, Rees started his coaching career in 2015 as a graduate assistant at Northwestern. In 2016 he served a year as an offensive assistant with the San Diego Chargers and in 2017 he returned to South Bend as part of Brian Kelly’s staff as quarterback’s coach. In December of 2019 Brian Kelly elevated him to offensive coordinator, the post he holds today.
Tommy Rees, another Fighting Irish Preview, All-time Irish Hero.