Notre Dame expected to hire Stanford's Willingham
December 31, 2001 10:22 AM   Subscribe

Notre Dame expected to hire Stanford's Willingham Can't help but to cheer for this opportunity for Willingham. Can't help but to weep that my beloved Cardinal is losing the best coach they have had in years.
posted by gazingus (7 comments total)
Plus, my wife is a die-hard Notre Dame fan. Insult to injury.
posted by gazingus at 10:23 AM on December 31, 2001

And he's black
posted by geoff. at 10:29 AM on December 31, 2001

I though ND was holding out for the Raiders coach Jon whatshisname.Gruden?I thought that guy was the front-runner.

When they asked him about it on the Fox pre-game yesterday, you could tell he really wanted the job.

And he's black

Uh, yay.

If hiring that guy has anything to do with Jesse Jackson, I'll just add it to the list of Reasons To Hate Norte Dame.

If the guy gets the job because he's a great coach though, good for him.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 10:45 AM on December 31, 2001

Willingham's a terrific coach; I would hope that's why he got the job. Jon Gruden had declined the chance to interview at ND on more than one occasion. While he grew up in South Bend and would probably love to coach there, he's got a year or two left on a contract with Al Davis. Better not to chance breaking that.
posted by yerfatma at 11:14 AM on December 31, 2001

That Willingham is black is important, in that he's the first African-American to hold such a prestigious coaching position at the college level. (Probably the most prestigious position at that level, though it's worth noting that there are only five black coaches currently at the Division 1-A level.) However, I think it's more important that his creditials and reputation are as impeccable as they come. Add to that the fact that he is a damn fine coach, and he's the best person Notre Dame could have possibly hoped for, even if the whole George O'Leary debacle hadn't occurred. People were questioning O'Leary's abilities (without his offensive coordinator, who took over Maryland this year and did wonders; I forget his name at the moment) even before they were questioning his integrity.

As much as I hate to say it (I'm a WVU fan, as sad as that sounds), it looks like Notre Dame will be strong again very, very soon.
posted by arco at 1:22 PM on December 31, 2001

Don't you think it's a bit of a slap in the face for Willingham? He is obviously a more qualified coach than O'Leary, yet he was their second choice? I'm not saying he should have turned down such a prestigious job - but I would have certainly cheered if he told them where they could stick it.
posted by owillis at 1:29 PM on December 31, 2001

owillis: It looks like he was actually waaaay down the list, initially. (Read this, which has some interesting insights.)

I forgot to mention that Willingham is also a stickler for off-field integrity among his players, especially academically. One of the weirdest criticisms I've read of Notre Dame recently is that by raising their academic standards (minimum GPA to play, etc.) they incurably crippled their teams. Willingham will, hopefully, show people how academics and athletics aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. (He did it at Stanford...)
posted by arco at 1:37 PM on December 31, 2001

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