Irish Host Temple To Open 2017 Campaign

Notre Dame welcomes Owls to newly renovated Notre Dame Stadium Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.


Exclusive 1 on 1 - Clark Lea

Jack Nolan talks to Linebackers Coach, Clark Lea, on Media Day 2017.

The Lea File

Hometown Nashville, Tennessee
College Vanderbilt (B.A., Political Science, 2004; M.A., Political Science 2007)
Wife Allison
Children Clark III and Mara

Playing Experience

2001 Birmingham-Southern Baseball
2002 Belmont Baseball
2002-04 Vanderbilt Fullback

Coaching Career

2006 UCLA Graduate Assistant (Defense)
2007 South Dakota State Linebackers
2008 South Dakota State Recruiting Coordinator/Linebackers
2009 UCLA Graduate Assistant (Linebackers)
2010 UCLA Linebackers
2011 UCLA Linebackers
2012 Bowling Green Linebackers
2013 Syracuse Linebackers
2014 Syracuse Linebackers
2015 Syracuse Linebackers
2016 Wake Forest Linebackers
2017 Notre Dame Linebackers

Bowls Coached

2006 Emerald Bowl
2009 Eagle Bank Bowl
2011 Fight Hunger Bowl
2012 Military Bowl
2013 Texas Bowl
2016 Military Bowl


  • Began college career at Birmingham-Southern College where he was a member of the baseball team that captured the NAIA World Series title in 2001
  • Lettered in baseball at Belmont in 2002 before transferring to Vanderbilt for football


  • First season as the Irish linebackers coach in 2017
  • Over his 11-year career, Lea has mentored one All-American (Akeem Ayers, UCLA) and 10 all-conference selections
  • Comes to Notre Dame following a one-year stint as linebackers coach at Wake Forest, alongside Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko
  • In 2016, the Demon Deacons’ defense ranked in the top-20 of the FBS in fumbles recovered (third), turnovers forced (10th), sacks (12th), defensive TDs (17th), red zone defense (17th) and scoring defense (20th)
  • Wake Forest was one of four schools in the FBS to rank in the top-20 in turnovers forced, sacks and scoring defense in 2016 (the other three schools -- Alabama, Clemson and Washington -- qualified for the College Football Playoff)
  • Instrumental in the development of Demon Deacon linebacker Marquel Lee, who not only earned All-ACC second team honors in 2016, but was also selected to take part in the 2017 East-West Shrine Game
  • Lee was the only FBS linebacker to post at least 100 tackles, 20 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2016 (only one other linebacker in the country met at least two of those three figures)
  • Spent three seasons (2013-15) as the linebackers coach at Syracuse
  • Developed Zaire Franklin into an All-ACC caliber linebacker
  • In 2015, as a sophomore captain (the fourth sophomore captain in school history and first since 1945), Franklin led the Orange in tackles (81) and was second on the squad in tackles for loss (11)
  • The 2014 Orange defense held nine of its 12 opponents to less than its season average for total offense and was one of four FBS teams to surrender fewer than 10 rushing touchdowns (Alabama, TCU, and Ole Miss were the others)
  • In 2013, Syracuse ranked nationally in multiple categories, including third-down defense (15th), rush defense (24th), sacks (18th) and tackles for loss (18th)
  • Lea worked with Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko in 2012 at Bowling Green
  • Helped assemble a unit at Bowling Green that ranked sixth in the country in total defense (296.6) and 10th in scoring defense (16.7)
  • Bowling Green ranked fourth in the nation in third-down defense, fifth in first downs allowed (15.1), 11th in sacks (38), 12th in rushing defense (106.5) and 13th in pass defense (190.1)
  • Finalist for Linebackers Coach of the Year by in 2012
  • Graduate assistant at UCLA in 2006 before moving to South Dakota State for two seasons (2007-08)

Dynamic Disciples

LB Marquel Lee (Wake Forest)

  • 2016 All-ACC Second Team
  • 2017 East-West Shrine Game
  • Only FBS linebacker to post at least 100 tackles, 20 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2016

LB Zaire Franklin (Syracuse)

  • Fourth sophomore captain in program history
  • Led Syracuse in tackles (81) and was second on the squad in tackles for loss (11.0) in 2015

LB Marquis Spruill (Syracuse)

  • 2014 NFL Draft Fifth Round pick (Atlanta Falcons)
  • Recorded 243 tackles, including 41.0 for a loss (second most in program history)

LB Akeem Ayers (UCLA)

  • 2011 NFL Draft Second Round pick (Tennessee Titans)
  • 2010 Butkus Award finalist (he finished third in voting)
  • 2010 Phil Steele Second Team All-American
  • 2010 Associated Press Third Team All-American
  • 2010 All-Pac-10 First Team

Clark Lea
Clark  Lea

Defensive Coordinator

Alma Mater:
Vanderbilt '04

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