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Martin to coach ND's defensive backs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly has added some familiar faces to his staff at Notre Dame.

The new coach on Tuesday hired three assistants who have coached under him previously to join the Fighting Irish.

Chuck Martin, who succeeded Kelly as head coach at Grand Valley State in 2004, will be the defensive backs coach. Mike Elston will follow Kelly from Cincinnati and coach the defensive line. Mike Denbrock will coach the tight ends.

Denbrock and Kelly were graduate assistants together at Grand Valley State in 1987 and Denbrock was later offensive coordinator under Kelly from 1992-95.

"Because these guys have worked with me in the past, all three guys understand the importance of player development and we share the same philosophies for making our team better," Kelly said. "They each will be valuable recruiters for us as we put together a staff that will be able to cover the country and attract some of the best talent available."

The three join running backs coach Tony Alford, the only assistant retained from Charlie Weis' staff.

Martin, who led the Lakers to a pair Division II titles and a 74-7 record in six years, had been offered jobs by Kelly when he was hired at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, but decided to stay at Grand Valley until Kelly landed in South Bend.

Martin, who is Irish Catholic and grew up in Chicago, said the timing was now right, saying he wanted to prove he could win with his own players before moving.

"The fact I now have that experience as a head coach allows me to move on and keep progressing in my career," he said.

Elston, who also served as assistant head coach and special teams coach at Cincinnati, also coached with Kelly at Central Michigan. Elston played football at Michigan and said he's looking forward to coaching his former rival.

"I'm very excited because the traditions are very similar," he said. "There's a spiritual factor here at Notre Dame that you dont have at Michigan, but you have great football tradition and great academics at both places."

Denbrock, an associate head coach at Indiana State last season, coached offensive tackles and tight ends at Notre Dame under Tyrone Willingham in 2002-04. He also coached under Willingham for a year at Stanford and three years at Washington.

Kelly still has five more assistant coaching jobs to fill.

After the announcement, Grand Valley State said Matt Mitchell had been named head coach, replacing Martin. Mitchell was the Lakers' defensive coordinator.