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Former Traverse City St. Francis, MSU star linebacker Max Bullough on his promotion to linebackers coach at the University of Notre Dame

Former Traverse City St. Francis linebacker and captain, Max Bullough, has always been a leader.

And now– he finds himself in a leadership role at one of the most highly regarded football programs in the nation, the University of Notre Dame.

“Are you a competitor? Do you compete in everything that you do?”


That was the mindset that helped Bullough become one of the top linebacker recruits in the country out of high school. It allowed him to play as a true freshman at Michigan State and earn first team Freshman All-American honors. He wrapped up his career as a Spartan as a two-time captain, recording 299 tackles, 31 TFLs, eight sacks, and three interceptions under one of the best defensive minds in college football, Mark Dantonio.

He went on to spend four seasons in the NFL. But even after such a successful career, walking away from his playing days wasn’t easy.

“Nothing really fulfilled me like playing football did,” he admitted.

He didn’t find coaching until he was approached by his former Traverse City St. Francis coach, Greg Sherwin.


“They kind of forced me out there to be honest with you, they asked me 10 times, I kept saying no, and then eventually I said yes. I went out there and I haven’t turned back since,” Bullough laughed.

After a year at the high school ranks with Traverse City Central, he found himself as a graduate assistant coach with Cincinnati, with current Notre Dame head coach, Marcus Freeman. After that, he was off to Alabama where he spent three seasons on Nick Saban’s staff that helped win the 2020 national championship. In the 2023 season he would have his final graduate assistant coaching job at the University of Notre Dame, before getting promoted to linebackers coach just last week.

Notre Dame is a program that leans heavily on its traditions and history, something that Bullough’s family has always been a part of.

“My mom is a Notre Dame grad, her dad, Jim Morse, played, was a captain here…and then my mom’s brother, my uncle Jamie (Jim Morse Jr.), who has since passed, too, was a cornerback here,” he said.


His coaching style is influenced heavily by his ‘Paw’, longtime NFL coach Hank Bullough, combined with his own experience as a player.

“I’m very direct. Giving immediate feedback, going the whole time, I like to be on top of it from the start,” he said.

And while his list of accomplishments is long, winning back-to-back state championships with the TCSF Glads still remains one of his favorites.

“It’s big time. You always go back to that...always go back to that,” he said. “Because everyone inevitably starts talking about their own high school football days. So, to have that in my back pocket has always been there for me. Always been there for me.”

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