Now Notre Dame is looking for a new head football coach. Like it or not, Notre Dame fired Ty Willingham yesterday.
I have strong feelings both ways about this move by the Irish. First off, I hate it. Ty Willingham was a perfect coach for that university. It is extremely tough to head up a college with such high academic standards. Willingham had experience when he coached Stanford. Notre Dame doesn’t want problem players that most colleges would let a few “eek by”. It is a credit to the university….that academics ARE important. However, they cannot expect BCS bowls every year either. In this day and age…you got to get those kind of kids in the fold if you want to be consistently stay on top.
I think the alumni wants this….but Willingham didn’t.
Willingham is one of the classiest guys in the coaching profession. That was needed, when the Irish had to deal with the whole George O’Leary fiasco. Willingham, not perturbed to be the “second choice”, came in a brought respect to the program. Bob Davies was leading the Irish down a path of punch lines. Willingham, though having about the same amount of success, brought dignity and a sense of pride back to the Irish and the fans.
However….I cannot totally fault Notre Dame for doing this. Willingham had some big wins….he also had some big losses. Two major ones at the hands of USC.
When Willingham was hired…the landscape of the NCAA was different. Remember, there will be a huge reshuffling next summer. The Big East, which Notre Dame is “associated with” has become a shell of itself. Good-bye Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College! Hello, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida. This could threaten the Big East’s BCS status. So winning is very important…apparently….to the Domers.
He should get the full 5 years of his contract to do his thing….just as Bob Davis and Gerry Faust did. He only got 3 of the 5 seasons [uh…3/5 ring a bell??] Is that race related??? Hmmmm….I don’t know. I do know that the fact that a certain Urban Meyer is out and about with all kinds of job offers thrown at him had something to do with the timing of this. I don’t think it was a “hey, this black guy can’t coach!” I just think that bad losses didn’t make up for the wins against Tennessee and Michigan.