Monday, November 30, 2009

Notre Dame want ads

Well, the Notre Dame football program is at it again. They fired the much maligned head coach Charlie Weis after 5 years. They get the dubious honor of having gone through 3 head coaching firings (4 if you count they George O'Leary resume debacle) this decade. The records of those three vastly different coaches tell the story:

1997–2001 Bob Davie 5 seasons 35–25 .583
2002–2004 T. Willingham 3 seasons 21-15 .583
2005–2009 Charlie Weis 5 seasons 35–27 .564

Weis and Willingham had identical records after 4 seasons. Willingham never really had a chance as he was not a media darling, nor made any attempt at being that, which simply doesn't fly at Notre Dame, which has had various and sundry charismatic (Rockne, et al) and colorful coaches (I'm looking at your Lou Holtz) over the years.

Willingham was run out of town because they thought they could do better. Rumor had Urban Meyer, then at Utah, going to Notre Dame. Meyer went to Florida, and in came the savior, Charlie Weis, fresh of 3 Super Bowl wins in 4 years with the Patriots. An offensive guru who groomed Tom Brady into a Hall of Famer, Weis was suppose to bring back the glory days. Ironically, after 5 seasons, he had 2 more losses than Bob Davie.

I like Notre Dame. I would not call myself a Notre Dame fan, but the football program has always been a class act the times I have witnessed them in person (both home and away.) I love Notre Dame fans. My father and I went to a Notre Dame game when I was in college when they were playing Tennessee, and we felt more welcomed in that Notre Dame section than any away football game I have ever been to.

I feel sorry that Notre Dame football has become such a hornet's nest soap opera in terms of head coaching. I am not convinced Notre Dame is going to be able to attract a quality head coach now. If Weis with his pedigree, could not do it, I don't know who could do better and be sane enough to take the job in the first place. With Notre Dame's tough academic standards (asking most football players to pass Calculus is nuts in my book), I don't see them really competing with the likes of a Florida or Michigan in terms of recruiting. It's going to take a very particular person to recruit and coach in that environment.

I fear it's such a hornet's nest, they won't ever be able to do it. I could be wrong, but they are going to have to seriously re-evaluate their program before they hire the first credible coach that comes along, or they will be back to this point again in 4 to 5 years.

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