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Cincinnati Bengals assistant Al Golden hired as Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator

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Tannenbaum calls Notre Dame's choice of Al Golden a 'fantastic hire' (1:02)

Mike Tannenbaum explains why he likes Al Golden as Fighting Irish's new defensive coordinator. (1:02)

Cincinnati Bengals assistant Al Golden has accepted the job to become Notre Dame's new defensive coordinator, the school announced.

Terms were not disclosed but Golden received a three-year deal, sources told ESPN.

Golden is a longtime college head coach who gives first-year coach Marcus Freeman a veteran sounding board. Golden spent 10 years as a college head coach from 2006 to 2015, going 59-59 during stints at Temple and Miami, and brings reputation as an impactful recruiter in the Northeast.

"Al's defensive background and knowledge of this profession makes him a valuable asset to our program," Freeman said in a statement. "He is known for getting the absolute best out of his players both on and off the field. Additionally, he will be a great resource for me and others on our staff with his previous experience as a head coach. I am thrilled that he has joined our staff at Notre Dame."

The hire completes Marcus Freeman's on-field coaching staff, which has included seven of 10 new assistants. Golden's hire represents the only staffer with significant head college coaching experience.

Golden will be the Irish's third defensive coordinator in three years. Freeman made it clear Wednesday that while he wants Golden to build upon what Notre Dame has been doing well defensively, that unit is Golden's to run.

"He has to take this thing over," Freeman said.

Golden said Wednesday he hopes to help Freeman make the transition from assistant to head coach, starting with where to stand during practice.

"Like, where do I go?" Golden kidded. "I'm always running a drill and all sudden now I'm overseeing a lot of different things."

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has some familiarity with Golden, as he interviewed him for the Notre Dame top job in 2009 after firing Charlie Weis. The Irish ended up hiring Brian Kelly, who Freeman replaced in December.

Golden, 52, has spent the past six years as an NFL assistant with the Lions and the Bengals, as he transitioned to pro football after being fired in Miami. He coached linebackers for the Bengals and was viewed as a key staff component for the franchise's Super Bowl run.

Golden said he enjoyed coaching in the NFL and he wasn't necessarily itching to get back to college. But he was impressed with Freeman just by watching his introductory news conference.

"I told my wife, I said, 'I share his values,'" Golden said Wednesday. "I listened to his press conference, and I said that would be a place that would get me back."

Golden has received interest in returning to college the past few seasons, with schools courting him as both a candidate to be a coordinator and head coach. The opportunity at Notre Dame fits Golden, a former Penn State captain from New Jersey who emerged in the profession during stints as an assistant coach at Virginia, Boston College and Penn State.

Golden went 32-25 during his five seasons in Miami, including a run to No. 7 in the country in 2013. Golden's time resurrecting Temple is remembered much more fondly in college football, as he pulled off one of the great turnarounds in the modern era of the sport.

When Golden took over at Temple, the school was an independent after being kicked out of the Big East. The Owls ended up in the MAC, where they went 17-8 his final two years, and he emerged as one of the country's most respected coaches.

Golden's staff at Temple included both Carolina coach Matt Rhule and Ohio State coach Ryan Day, and his tenure set the foundation for both Steve Addazio and Rhule to thrive as coaches there. Golden's work led to his induction in Temple's Hall of Fame.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.