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NDNation.com Staff: Scott Engler - Michael Cash - John Vannie - Mike Coffey - Kayo - Bacchus

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Notre Dame Has Run Out Of Mulligans And Flyers

posted by John Vannie
The last four coaching searches by Notre Dame have resulted in failure (one of them before the coach hired ever coached a game). That adds up to only one successful coach in the last 29 years - one successful hire out of the last 6 attempts going back to Gerry Faust. Notre Dame's brand and reputation have been degraded as a result. It is plain from fan interest, viewership and many other indicia that Notre Dame football has used up a lot of collateral and it is essential that this hire be a home run. Another failed coach and the program might not ever revive.

That is why the risk factor for acceptable candidates in this search must -- as a matter of prudence -- be low. A candidate who "might" succeed is not good enough now. A candidate with a short period of success or success not attained at a high level school or conference cannot be risked now. A candidate who has not had experiences sufficient to prepare him for the intense glare of a very high-profile program like Notre Dame is too big a risk now. A high-risk, high-reward candidate might be acceptable if Notre Dame had been a top-ten power for the past fifteen years. We would then have more margin for error, more collateral to play with. Unfortunately, we do not.

Accordingly, it was heartening to hear Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick articulate clear criteria for the next Notre Dame head coach; criteria unmistakably established to guarantee a low-risk, high percentage play through the hiring of a top-tier coach who has "been there, done that" and who will not be surprised or inexperienced in dealing with the intense pressure of a national program. In the words of Mr. Swarbrick:

"He must have shown the ability to build and sustain a Division One football team" and proven his ability to succeed "at the highest level."

This statement gives Notre Dame alumni a legitimate basis to be hopeful that Mr. Swarbrick is conducting the kind of search necessary to identify and sign a top-tier coach and end the pattern of botched searches.

Given Mr. Swarbrick's criteria, it is not difficult to determine which candidates meet the standard and which do not. It also is clear which candidates -- although they might be fine coaches -- are too big a risk for Notre Dame at this time.

One candidate who is frequently mentioned by the media and who falls into this category is Brian Kelly. He has not achieved sustained success "at the highest level." His three-year stint at Cincinnati deserves praise, but his performance there must be seen in the context of the weak competition he has played and the lack of top opponents on Cincinnati's schedule. Rich Rodriguez and Dan Hawkins each had three-year runs similar and better than Kelly's at Cincinnati when they were coaching at West Virginia and Boise State respectively. When they moved up to top-tier BCS conferences they proved not ready. That type of experience is the rule, not the exception when short-term high-flyers at lower level schools and conferences take on the top job at a traditional power.

Kelly has never coached at a top program either as an assistant or as a head coach. He has never been mentored by or coached with a top-level head coach. He has not recruited nationally or against top programs for elite recruits. In his entire career, Kelly has never coached on a staff that defeated one of the top twenty all-time Division 1 college programs in terms of either wins or winning percentage.

Successful Notre Dame coaches, such as Parseghian, Devine and Holtz had a record of major wins against major opponents before they ever coached at Notre Dame, including Woody Hayes, Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, Bud Wilkinson, Barry Switzer and Bob Devaney; multiple wins against teams such as Oklahoma, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, Penn State; years of testing against competition in the Big Ten, the Big Eight and the Southwest Conference. Each had been mentored by some of the elite football minds of the age such as Paul Brown, Biggie Munn, Duffy Daugherty and Woody Hayes. Each had been around big-time coaches and programs. That level of familiarity with and success against big-time competition and big-time programs is essential at this point. Brian Kelly can point to no such major wins against top teams or coaches, no experience at a top program to know what it is like and no familiarity or mentorship under a top coach.

Other coaches sometimes mentioned as being in contention suffer from a similar lack of readiness. Gary Patterson of TCU has done remarkable work this year and other years, but the level of competition his program faces is so far removed from that of Notre Dame that it would be a giant step to coaching on the big stage of Notre Dame football. Chris Peterson at Boise State has produced some terrific teams, and one memorable win over Oklahoma, but the level of competition that Boise State faces week in and week out and his relatively short stint there would make him an unacceptable risk.

None of this is meant to denigrate Brian Kelly or the others. Each is a good coach. At another time in the past, Kelly might have been an excellent choice for Notre Dame. He might even work out at Notre Dame. But playing the odds, one must conclude that right now, he would be an unacceptable risk given the unique combination of his current experience and the current state of Notre Dame football.

If Notre Dame hires Kelly, Patterson, Petersen or another head coach who does not meet Mr. Swarbrick's criteria, it will represent a failure. They do not meet the criteria laid out by Mr. Swarbrick of sustained excellence at the highest level. Notre Dame fans will be holding their collective breath as we "take a flyer" - again.

The failure to hire a coach that meets Mr. Swarbrick's criteria will have other consequences. Many ND alumni would not rally around the new coach, but would sigh "here we go again". It would be extremely disappointing, and it would exacerbate and even cement the malaise and detachment among alumni and the sense that Notre Dame is in a sad but irreversible decline.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, so who IS the candidate that meets the criteria?

There are two, and Notre Dame has NO shot to get either one. Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer. Both have won national titles, defeated top tier teams and sustained their programs. Neither are available.

Which means, a coach will be hired that does not meet the criteria set forth by the AD. Which I'm not opposed to.

Urban Meyer wasn't a championship coach when he arrived at Florida. He turned Bowling Green and Utah around (against weak schedules). And look how Florida has prospered.

Bob Stoops had never been a head coach when he arrived at OU. Within two years he won a championship.

The truth is, finding someone with the criteria mentioned is nearly impossible. Why? Because those coaches are already with other programs. It'd be like wanting Woody Hayes or Bear Bryant . . . that's not reality.

What is reality? Finding the next Woody Hayes and Bear Bryant in the haystack.

12/03/2009 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12/03/2009 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Good synopsis but I wonder if it is reasonable to expect a Bob Stoops level coach to leave his current, very comfortable, position to take on the huge job at ND.
If a Kelly is hired will this board cut him any slack or is he doomed from day one?

12/03/2009 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous huf said...

So Stoops & Meyer are the only coaches you'd accept? Tall order.

How about Mack Brown? Bobby Bowden - he fits your criteria.

You've got to get real

Swarbrick has a tough job - but by your standards I'd say nearly impossible. He did a terrific job of articulating what they are shooting for. Do you think talking or buying Stoops into it will guarantee a better result than having someone almost as well qualified who is more motivated to make his mark?

Charlie's playcalling down the stretch shows you the result you get when you play scared.

12/03/2009 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Vairish84 said...

I agree with anonymous Stoops and Meyer are not available. There is a world of difference between a Kelly and a S. Holtz or an Edsall.

The most likely candidates that would meet that criteria that I can think of who might be available are Mike Riley and Tedford; neither of whom will make the fanbase happy.

12/03/2009 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Roadkill said...

Tubberville fulfills these requirements.

Fighting in the SEC for recruits, undefeated season, big-time wins and pressure. He should be the #3 candidate after Stoops and Meyer.

12/03/2009 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone prayed a "Hail Mary" for our Lady to give us our new coach?

12/03/2009 08:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is no one mentioning Jim Tressel. The fan base wanted him out this year, when they were doing "poor". He, or at least his staff, obviously knows how to get players to play defense. He knows how to recruit home grown midwest talent. He has been successful. He professes to take his players to mass with him. He looks professional. I don't like him that much and certainly not Ohio State, but who cares.

12/03/2009 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vannie, could you and or you co-writers elaborate on who DOES fit the criteria?

Does Gruden?

Can you name an acceptable candidate whose name is not Urban or Stoops?

12/03/2009 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tuberville is an intriguing candidate. He won 3 national titles as an assistant on the late 80s and early 90s Miami teams, assisted at Texas A&M and was head coach at Ole Miss and Auburn. The only potential knock would be his overall 65% winning percentage.

His 56% winning percentage at Ole Miss is equal to the program's historical average. However, at Auburn, his 68% winning percentage beat the program's historical average by 5 percentage points.

12/03/2009 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece Mr. Vannie on the task at hand. You nailed every point including the major one; Will the majority of alum and fans support a non tier 1 coach?

Personally as an alum and fan of Notre Dame Football for 25 years I'm at my wits end with the neglect of this program by our supposed leaders.

I will always root for Notre Dame but if Swarbrick and Jenkins fail to hire a tier 1 coach (it's obvious who they are) I will not donate to this failed leadership again.

Thanks for all the work you, SEE,ElK,and Cash do for NDN.

12/03/2009 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger omahadomer said...

Categorical statements about who is and isn't available should probably be avoided. Swarbrick appears to be conducting a professional search which increases the possibility that he might hit a home run off of a 0-2 count. Taking Swarbrick at his word, guys like Ferentz, Tedford and Butch Davis come closer to fitting the bill than others often mentioned.

12/03/2009 09:10:00 PM  
Anonymous lottery ryan said...

I agree with the assessment of the names mentioned.

BK has a couple of factors.

Opt outs for ND and BC in contract.

Very comfortable already in cincy with a new stadium and practive facilities coming.

Wife is sick with cancer and may not want to up and move again. She is an east coaster too.

His defense sucks. Illinois put up big number. Watch this weekend.

Dont rule out urban either yet. Tebow will be gone, nothin left to prove if he wins another or runner-up, and his wife hates gainesville!

houston nutt a possibility. barry alvarez or even lloyd carr?

12/03/2009 09:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ara was 36-35 and 1 at Northwestern the only head coaching job he has at the college level prior to ND so contrary to Ara meeting the criteria - your assumption and use of Ara as an example doesnt hold water.

12/03/2009 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read it, Florida and Meyer are supposed to renew his contract after Saturday!

12/03/2009 09:43:00 PM  
Anonymous OderName said...

I agree with all ofthe comments thus far. I'm not convinced Stoops is completely unavailable, but that's it to meet the NDN criteria. Mack Brown, Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Les Miles, Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel - None are going to leave their current situations for ND. Tommy Tubberville maybe, I haven't thought about that one.

This is very rare, but I really disagree with NDN on this one. I've only been a die-hard ND fan since I arrived on campus as a freshman for Lou's last season, so perhaps my standards are different, but I really believe that Brian Kelly would be an acceptable coach - possibly even a very good or great one.

I also would be willing to go outside even Swarbrick's criteria for one other candidate who has not denied anything or distanced himself that I know of - Jon Gruden. No college head coaching experience, but he knows success as the head man (not just as a coordinator). I'm convinced he could not only shore up recruiting this year but bring in a few huge recruits in this class and keep it going. And he has spent the last year studying the college game, and could be available immediately.

I also believe that Kelly and Gruden also have that last thing that really is important - they have to "get" ND. This is pure speculation, but I'm terrified of another Willingham who is more interested in playing golf than succeeding at ND.

I'm all for Stoops, Kelly or Gruden. Beyond that we're too far into the risk category.

12/03/2009 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with virtually all of the respondents above. John Vannie has hit another long, powerful, well thought out and articulate...foul ball.
The point about Urban Meyer's experience prior to arriving in Florida are spot on.
I think it was Gene Corrigan who said that one of the crucial criteria for hiring a ND coach is that he must want Notre Dame. In other words, we should not have to be negotiating over how many JUCO transfers, etc. I suspect that this will sort out as Mr Swarbrick works through the process.

12/03/2009 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like the entire post is meant to serve as a scare tactic to Swarbrick and the ND administration. Forcing the ultimate option and so on. I hope it works.

12/03/2009 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tuberville would be my pick. Great recruiter, undefeated team in the SEC, rebuilt a program, defense minded.

12/03/2009 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Jackie Boys Criteria:

Urban Meyer
Bob Stoops
Butch Davis
Frank Beamer
Les Miles
Nick Saban
Mark Richt
Steve Spurrier
Kirk Ferentz
Jim Tressel
Philip Fulmer
Tommy Tuberville
Mike Bellotti
Pete Carrol

12/03/2009 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, Kelly is the next Ara. He does more with less. When given the proper resources I would expect Meyer like success. BTW Tuberville has been on my radar for awhile, don't know if an Arkansas boy will come this far North.

12/03/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot agree more with this post. We are at a critical juncture in ND history. The next coach has to be a proven winner. If it were 2001, I'd be saying "let's get Kelly." It is not 2001. We need to go all out on this one. Very well written. Let's pray to Our Lady that this happens. Go Irish.

12/03/2009 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Seamus said...

Completely agree that this hire mustbe a homerun or this program is doomed.

12/03/2009 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

I cannot believe they fired a guy with 6 years left to be paid and who was doing a better job than the last two coaches, without having a solid verbal commit from a coach they knew was way better. I was fortunate to be in the class of '89. Thanks Gene Corrigan!!!! ND is now just a train wreck that gets publicity and TV time for the same reason as Jon Goslin, Sarah Palin, Tiger Woods for his transgressions etc.... So sad and all because those who reside within the dome still cannot see the changes that have taken place in college football. Join the Big East for goodness sakes and give us a shot at a conference championship and BCS berth.

12/03/2009 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so "we end" up with Kelly and, surprise of surprises, in his second season ND is in the top ten at the end of the season...
Mark your words!
I believe you are just hopeless AND wrong.

Mike '79

12/03/2009 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous NavyJoe said...


You do realize that CW actually had a worse record than Davie and Willingham, right? Not to mention it was against weaker competition...

12/03/2009 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous 74Irish said...

Nothing like setting up an impossible task for Swarbrick. I would be happy with the next Ara, Holtz or Devine, and none of those would fit your criteria at the time they were hired.

Meyer, Saban and Stoops are all very unlikely. They are in ideal situations and we are to expect that they see ND as a better opportunity. That's just highly doubtful.

And if ND has to allow JUCO's and DUI's in order to succeed, it won't be the same ND succeeding.

12/03/2009 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two easy words. Hope the higher ups listen...

Paul Johnson....

12/03/2009 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous john said...

The ND football at this time is on the precipice of irreversible ignobility.

You are correct-the next hire is the last chance to redeem a once noble enterprise.

Mr. Weiss did not desire the head coaching job at ND. He was coerced into the head coaching positon after a disasterous effort by the search committee to hire Urban Meyer. He bailed ND out of an untenable situation of the administration's own making. His persona never in the past(prior to his hirig) fulfilled the perceived aura asssociated with ND coaches. To his credit, as an alum, he bailed the administrtion out of their quandry
After a mediocre two years, the administratiuon again compounded its folly with "the contract". Hence the postion on the abyss ND finds itself staring into.

The best scenario now if, as you say, the prime-time coach is not found is for Mr. Swarbrick to name Coach Ianello the "interim" head coach. Over the next year, a proper search can be made and ND might even find another Ara or Lou. Right now, the coaching "stars" are not aligned to give ND what it needs- the perfect fit.

12/04/2009 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's articles like this one that embarrass me as an alumnus. The authors do not speak for me or the majority of my fellow ND alumni. Brian Kelly is a great coach and deserves respect. He teaches fundamentals, which is what our team most desperately needs right now.

Please, fellow alums, get your heads out of the clouds. Meyer and Stoops are not coming. It's getting absurd to hear you keep saying these things. ND is a great school with a great football tradition, but so are many other schools. It's silly to think that Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer would quit what they've worked so hard to build in order to take a job in which the last three coaches have been fired. Would you do that in your own career? I doubt it.

I love ND and I want us to be successful. Let's support the process and whomever is the next coach. Instead of logging onto message boards to ridicule others for their grammar usage, let's spread some positivity around.

12/04/2009 01:01:00 AM  
Anonymous pittsburghchaz said...

AD Swarbrick and coach Rob must work together along with the staff to get the full potential from CW's recruiting efforts. They have to work the connection between high school teamates Michael Floyd and Seantrel Henderson (offered a full scholarship by ND in ninth grade and the #1 prospect on the line this year in the nation) at Cretin Derham Hall-Catholic.

Getting Seantral here is a key factor in moving things to the next level. If that happens we need to hope for a domino effect.

Floyd plays with a former teamate, Tate envisions a year with great returning talent on offense and another chance to showcase his baseball skills - yes baseball.

And Clausen, well with the right coach selection and the arsenal of established weapons already in place...could Jimmy be swayed to a fourth year and a chance to become a complete top round NFL QB with the right coaching... sans Powlus!

The answers are in the recruiting efforts right now and the type of head coach we are looking for.

Rob has been taking the lead from CW in recruiting for a long time now. He is fully capable of securing the lions share of recruits cultivated by Charlie. Hopefully he has some clout at this point with the administration on what kind of coach ND needs.

Bottom line...I stood beside Seantrel Henderson and a host of blue chip recruits on gameday USC on the path between the Basilica and the stadium while the Irish walked the fabled path. That day saw alot of top recruits caught up in the best pre-game tradition in college football...the time is now to secure them with Rob and the best possible COLLEGE coach and staff we can get.


12/04/2009 01:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All hot air unless you suggest at least someone who you think does fit the bill.

12/04/2009 04:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. T said...

It's Skip and Lou! Write it down.

12/04/2009 06:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree that Kelly is the next Ara - plus he seems very interested in the job. He does do much much more with much less. He is a motivator totally in charge of all aspects of his team. To let this guy get away would be just plain wrong. I could live w/ Stoops but Kelly is the right chemistry at the right time. He is ready to move into the spotlight of ND football - plus he wants to be here. Kelly or bust.

12/04/2009 06:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love NDNation, but I really disagree with this article. I'd happily take Kelly (and a number of other coaches who aren't "Tier One"). Kelly's resume is outstanding. I don't think DickRod's sruggles are attributable to a lack of coaching acumen.

I am also irate over the mishandling of the ND football program, but I find it strange that so many posters on Rock's House insist that "Tier One" coaches and programs must have some sort of extensive winning history. The fact is Cincy would probably stomp ND right now, with a fraction of the talent. I know Kelly is not a sure thing, but anyone outside of Urban Meyer carries that risk.

12/04/2009 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand your line of thinking, but I disagree. I've seen BK work his magic. He'll be great for the Irish. I'm pulling him.

12/04/2009 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are two, and Notre Dame has NO shot to get either one. Bob Stoops or Urban Meyer. Both have won national titles, defeated top tier teams and sustained their programs. Neither are available"

A coach of this stature has NEVER left their respective programs for another while highly successful. Lou was dismissed from Arkansas three years prior and Ara was told his contract wasnt going to be renewed at NW (AD was an idiot). To expect a Meyer or Stoops is about as reasonable as expecting us to drop football all together.

12/04/2009 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pull Your head out Vannie! Kelly IS the best choice!

12/04/2009 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The author of this article needs a little dose of reality. If Brian Kelly lacks the "big-time" experience because he plays weaker opponents, I would just review ND's record against Big East teams of late. ND hasn't managed to beat even the bottom tier teams in that conference in the last two years. Meanwhile, Cincinnati is on the verge of going undefeated against that same level of talent. Maybe Kelly hasn't been proven, but he's better than anything ND has gotten in the past 15 yrs. I am not endorsing Kelly, I don't know what the next coach, regardless of who he is, will do. What they need more than anything else is a good manager. Weis, for all his "brains" obviously didn't know how to manage a team. Being the smartest person in the room doesn't necessarily translate into being a good leader.

12/04/2009 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

While I agree Brian Kelly is not a grand slam, he appears to be the best REALISTIC option and I would be satisfied with him as the next HC.

BTW, his career has been MUCH more impressive than those of a pre-Florida Meyer and a pre-Oklahoma Stoops.

12/04/2009 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Kris said...

I think, as has been reported by some, we go after Stoops with everything we can bring. If Stoops falls through, the best player on the board is likely Kelly.

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

12/04/2009 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to believe one of the two guys coaching at 12:00 noon tomorrow will be in South Bend between Sunday and Wednesday. Kelly would be a big step up in terms of head coaching experience and is comparable to Meyer five years ago.
Holtz just loves ND as much as any of us. He has been a mid-major head coach for 5 years, he has also beat ranked teams recently. He also has had a strong mentor or two. Mark May will scream bloody murder, but I don't care. Look at his resume, if Rudy had the same qualifications, I'd consider him.

12/04/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you look at ND's tax return (Federal Form 990) and you will see that Charlie Weis only made $670K per year, including expense account. Lou Holtz took a pay cut to come to ND. After Lou they only hired coaches who would not require large sums of money, such as 2 first time hires and a average coach. Even Kelly would have to take a pay cut.

By the way, you are way off on Brian Kelly. Do you really think ND's schedule is any harder than Cincinnati's? They beat UCONN and will probably beat Pitt with much lower rated recruits. This guy one 2 national championships Division II. They are still college athletes and that is who he understands. This guy is a big time winner. Don't make comparisons to him and Rodriguez, who never went undefeated. Very few coaches can win the number of games Kelly wins regardless of where they are. Kelly is a winner proven time and time again. NDNATION IS DEAD WRONG.


12/04/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with most of the discussion is that it focuses on Stoops/Meyer/Saban v. Kelly. While nearly all would take one of the first group in a heartbeat, the sad fact is that each of these candidates is unlikely to leave their current position. Thus, a serious discussion should be had regarding preference for Kelly or someone with the record of accomplishment or Tuberville/Tedford/Ferentz/Davis. For what it's worth, Holtz and Ara pre ND share resumes that are more comparable to these candidates than Stoops/Saban/Meyer.

12/04/2009 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Availability" is not a factor in hiring a new coach. Swarbrick's plan is to identify the coach/coaches that meet his criteria regardless of availablity, contracts they have signed, or announcements they have made. Once he identifies his guy he goes out and hires them. You do that by keep making them offer after offer until they accept. I guarantee, an offer exists where they will say "yes".

12/04/2009 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ara at Northwestern in the early 60s fared no better against the competition than Kelly has at Cincinnati. I like Kelly as a 2nd choice, Gruden as first choice, and the idea of a Skip Holtz mentored by has Dad is intriguing. I saw Lou on Sean Hannity last night, and he looked like he could still do the job himself if called upon!

12/04/2009 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way NDs schedule is getting watered down in the future, you can't play that card agains Kelly.

12/04/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Petersen's win this year against an Oregon team that could finish in the top-10...that wasn't memorable or anything.

12/04/2009 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous DC Irish said...

I come to ND Nation because sometimes its outrageousness points out real issues that hide in more civilized debate. But Vannie is all wet on this. As one lucky enough to have seen Ara as coach for 4 years starting in '65 ("Ara -- stop the snow!"), maybe I have unrealistic aspirations too.

But Vannie all but says only Meyer or Stoops will do -- and that has to be wrong. Kelly would be great if we have him keep some connections for at least a year (Ianello and Alford) and give him the leeway to hire great people, not just bring his Cincy staff along (assistant salaries there are very low).

What has impressed me since Weis was finally canned (after Navy I predicted 6-6) is the number of recruits who have said "I'm still coming" and other top prospects who are keeping ND on their list, like Henderson mentioned by another poster. These young men are what ND needs and show that there are many out there who want an education that will serve them after football -- just what we need to return to glory. What Charlie couldn't do, in the words of the Ol' Ball Coach, was "coach 'em up." Kelly can, Tuberville can and there are some more names besides those at other elite programs who can (have you ever been in Oklahoma and seen how important OU football is to the entire state? -- I have). Let's get real and not start with a chip (not Chip Kelly) on our shoulders.

12/04/2009 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd also be thrilled to have Brian Kelly. This "Tier One" solipsism is as self-defeating as anything the administration has done.

12/04/2009 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that Swarbrick should shoot so high that he misses a rising star. Ara and Holtz were both rising stars when they were fired and look at what they accomplished at Notre Dame.

Brian Kelly is unquestionably a rising star and I wouldn't be afraid to pick him.

12/04/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to love how Mr. Vannie left it hanging on who he would consider acceptable candidates. I suspect he knows, like most of us do, that the Tier 1 coaches who Mr. Vannie would find acceptable are not interested in the Notre Dame job. I love Notre Dame, but it's time the fan base get real and realize that, today Notre Dame is not as desirable a job as it once was. Stoops and Meyer can recruit who ever they want, academics and character be damned. We want to win, but not that way. I am in full agreement with Swarbrick when he said, and I'm paraphasing, "I refuse to believe that we cannot win on the field and in the class room". The coach we get have to operate within those restrictions, and I suspect that's where your Tier 1 coaches will balk at coming to Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a special place. We will win on the field, but not at the expense of values. We will graduate our kids. We will not sell our souls to the devil.

12/04/2009 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous PJC said...

Great article.

Not enough people are focusing on your final paragraph. The program and alumni support of the program are at a critical point. If ND hires someone without a track record of proven success against the highest level of competition, the fanbase will immediately be fractured and it might be tough for the unproven coach to rally that fanbase around him. It will be doomed for failure before it even begins irrespective of the quality of the new coach.

12/04/2009 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it comes down to it, Jack Swarbrick and the Administration should give a rising star the nod to come in as the new HC. That would be in the tradition of Ara and Lou.

All things point to Brian Kelly being a rising star.

12/04/2009 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I’m biased because I got my Masters from Grand Valley, but I think Kelly would be a huge coup for Notre Dame at this point.
Notre Dame isn’t the dream job it was 20 years ago, for exactly the reasons you spell out at the beginning of your article.
You think Stoops, Meyer or Carroll would leave their cushy pads in the South and the West to come to snowy South Bend and take over a program that hasn’t managed to win even 60% of its games in this decade? Sorry. Don’t think so. The problem is perspective. Even though Kelly is about to win his second consecutive Big East Title, he’ll still look at Notre Dame as a step up. Stoops and Meyer would not see ND as a step up from Oklahoma or Florida, who have both paid a visit to the National Championship game within the last year.
So what is Swarbrick left with? Proven winning coaches – and that is what Kelly is. Just look at his career. It doesn’t matter where he’s been. They wind up a winner, and he’s done it at three very different levels. D-II is vastly different from MAC level competition in D-I, which is vastly different from BCS conference level competition in the Big East. The logical next step for Kelly is to a national program.
Kelly will also come cheaper than Stoops or Meyer, which is good, no matter what the actual buy-out figure is for Weis. The Irish just got finished paying off Willingham after all.
But don’t let price take away from the coach. He builds and sustains winning programs. Look at how Grand Valley and Central Michigan are doing. Grand Valley is still a D-II powerhouse competing for National Championships on a yearly basis. Central Michigan is a yearly fixture in the MAC championship race. The point is Kelly knows how to build a winning program. And he knows how to do it in modern Division I College Football.
If Cincy beats Pitt this weekend, they will wind up beating the two Big East teams Notre Dame played this year – both losses. Notre Dame and Cincy have huge talent gaps, yet Kelly has Cincinnati winning games Notre Dame loses. This with 10 new starters on defense and two different quarterbacks at the helm. That’s actually something that should be pointed out as well. When Stoops lost his Heisman candidate QB in Sam Bradford to injury, the previously 2nd ranked Sooners season crumbled to a disappointing 7-5. When Cincinnati’s Heisman hopeful, Tony Pike, was out for essentially 4 games due to injury, the Bearcats just kept rolling out victories. Could the Irish have done that in any of Charlie’s 5 seasons? Obviously not. We couldn’t even do it with Jimmy Clausen starting every game for the past two seasons.
Anyway, Kelly is the highest possible mark for the next Notre Dame Coach in my opinion. And if Swarbrick can get him, we’ll be lucky to have him.

12/04/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one can guarantee success as the new HC of Notre Dame. That's impossible because there are too many imponderables. All one can do is make the best possible pick out of experienced and successful college coaches available and go with him.

12/04/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we do not get Brian Kelly, we are going to MISS OUT. Plain and simple!

12/04/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think it is misleading to compare Brian Kelly's three-year run at Cincinati to Rich Rod's best three years at WVU. RR's best three came at the end of his seven-year reign in Morgantown. Kelly was an immediate success in Cincinnati. To put it another way - Kelly achieved in three years the best that Rich Rod did in seven.

12/04/2009 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Cincinnati alum (and fan), I agree wholeheartedly with every word in this post: under no circumstances should Notre Dame even consider hiring Brian Kelly.

12/04/2009 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Chilly Willy said...

The "Tier I" thesis reeks of arrogance. By your analysis, there are only 5 coaches that qualify: Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Pete Carroll, and Mack Brown.

So lets talk about our chances of getting any of them. Just about zero. Does that mean our administration did a bad job? How about the idea that THEY DONT WANT THE JOB! Let's stick with reality, not everyone thinks that the Notre Dame job is a great move when you're already at a top program.

Keep this in perspective, over the last 50yrs, how many coaches have left this list of 13 top programs for another Head Coaching job at a COLLEGE program?

Florida St
Notre Dame
Ohio State

The answer? ONE - Franchione from Bama. And he only did that because of Bama's probationary problems.

So why the obsession with the big name from a top program? Its not gonna happen.

Fact is that College WINNERS continue to WIN, and college losers (Zook, Rich Brooks, Willingham) continue to lose.

Brian Kelly has been a WINNER at every level. The fact that you consider him a big risk is quite bizarre.

Congrats, you've made Jack Swarbrick's job near impossible.

Kelly is the top of my list. If not him, Cutcliffe, Edsall, and then Al Golden and then Skip Holtz. Only college head coaches.

12/04/2009 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Butch Davis would be perfect for ND. He's 58, but he could keep going for 7 more seasons. He should not be lumped in with coaches like Kirk "puntosaurus" Ferentz or Jeff Tedford.

12/04/2009 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

If Kirk Herbstriet thinks Brian Kelly is the right guy, I'm okay with it.

12/04/2009 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous OderName said...

I completely agree with PJC and Vannie that the fan base must rally around the new coach.

However, I think it's clear from the comments here that Stoops and Meyer and Gruden aren't the only options we will rally around. I will absolutely be thrilled if we sign Kelly - would rally around any ND coach, but I believe Kelly would generate the desired effect with most of the fan base.

12/04/2009 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Brian Kelly is going to be the new annointed one at ND, I can understand the dismay of Cincinnati fans.

12/04/2009 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Anton said...

I have to agree that--as an alum--this article is simply embarrassing. The expressed ultimatum-issuing, foot-stamping tantrum-throwing is the sort of sentiment that enabled Wadsworth to push Holtz out the the door in the first place--and look what that accomplished for the program.

Let's review the article's listed criteria for selecting a successful head coach on national championships over the past nine years:

Mack Brown (Texas). Hired from North Carolina. Oops, not a successful, top-tier, Div. I program. Doesn't qualify.

Pete Carroll (USC). Failed NFL head coach (twice). Drove the super-bowl-reaching Patriots to mediocrity in only one season. Oops, not a successful head coach. Doesn't qualify.

Urban Meyer (Florida). Coached at Utah. Oops, not a top-tier Div. I program. Doesn't qualify.

Bob Stoops (Oklahoma). First head coaching job, former DC at Florida. Oops, no prior head coaching experience. Doesn't qualify.

Nick Saban (LSU). Failed to raise Michigan State beyond intermittent high-level play. Later (after LSU) a failed NFL head coach. Oops, not a success at a top-tier Div-I program. Doesn't qualify.

Jim Tressel (Ohio State). Hired out of Youngstown State. Oops, not a Div-I-A football program (let alone Tier One). Doesn't qualify.

So let me get this straight--the article lists criteria that not one of the most recent nine national championship team coaches qualified for at the time of their hiring? Its pretty clear that the article is a failure in reflecting rational thought on the part of the writer. Its also clear that the listed coaching criteria enable the writer to dismiss any chosen candidate at his whim.

Look, there are three kinds of head coaches: winners, hangers-on, and losers. A coach who consistently wins at three levels of college football is, by definition, a winner. Disqualifying him from Notre Dame because he doesn't already have a national championship at USC is beyond ridiculous.

As for those who say the selection needs to immediately impress the Notre Dame fanbase (i.e. those posting to fan boards), this is also beyond ridiculous. The only criteria that matters is winning, and specifically winning the Notre Dame way (i.e. graduating your athletes and playing by the rules). Everything else will follow. An 11-1 or 10-2 season next year means Notre Dame will dominate all media coverage. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, sports radio, Rivals, CBS & NBC sports, etc. Period.

There is no way that either Stoops or Meyer leaves their current recruiting-rich, JUCO-accepting, no-academics-required current situations. They'll string out any negotiations for a contract extension, and leave it at that. Also, it should be absolutely clear to everyone that Urban Meyer is a d-bag based on the Tebow concussion situation. Notre Dame dodged a bullet when he turned them down the first time.

I agree that Brian Kelly's defensive prowess is a question mark, but his teams have found a way to win anyway. And Chris Peterson runs a very tight ship with Boise State, and has for four straight years. Assuming that either coach would bring their full staff complement, they could start winning right away with the talent Weis left behind, and the caveat that Crist recovers from ACL surgery shortly.

We'll see what next week brings, but any rational alum should be more than happy with a Kelly or Peterson hire.

12/04/2009 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Growing up a Notre Dame fan with Lou at the helm was easy. What we fans must really do is take a good, hard look at what Notre Dame football has become over the past 20 years. One word - MEDIOCRE.... ND Football is at a crossroads now, even though CW left the program and talent within in much better shape as compared to what was on campus as he arrived. CW was a good recruiter, but he and his staff lacked in getting the very most out of the players that they brought to campus. As another poster mentioned, they didn't/couldn't "coach 'em up."
Whomever Swarbrick brings in, I am almost assured that it will NOT be Stoops or Meyer. If someone can give me a good reason why either would leave thier current jobs for South Bend, I would love to hear it.
For me, Kelly and Patterson make the most sense. Kelly has proven that he can win at different levels in college over the past 10-15 years, going to be bigger brand of football each step along the way. Patterson has proven that he can beat the big boys with less talent. If you have ever seen his teams play, its with speed and toughness.
Toughness is the biggest piece that lacks on a the Irish squad right now and they need the right person to change that mentality. the best way to change that is to fully commit to a running game and defense. What is the best way to do that? Focus on your lines - both offense AND DEFENSE. If you were to look at the last 10 years of Tier 1 teams, they had exceptional OL's and DL's. It starts with the hog-mollies and then you can truly have success.


12/04/2009 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger borromini said...

ISD has a post that's the antithesis to this one.


I for one am with ISD on this topic.

12/04/2009 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love you like a brother, but your dead wrong on this, and if Swarbrick is thinking like you are, Notre Dame will certainly get it wrong, again.

I was the first person on this blog to start pushing Kelly and I am certain he is the right man for the job. He's built winners virtually from scratch at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. His Bearcats will play for the national championship this year if they beat Pitt and the Cornhuskers beat Texas. For the last three years, his teams have won 10 or more games despite the fact his last two classes were ranked 60th and 44th by rivals. He is Catholic, wildly charismatic and telegenic and remarkably humble. He coaches from the sidelines like Meyer, Saban and Holtz. He gets in the faces of coaches and players when they screw up and he is an excellent game manager. No one candidate for the job has all these traits. Not one.

Stoops and Meyers are not interested, and none of the other coaching candidates is worthy of consideration.

Neither Chucky nor any of the other NFL has beens has recruited in years and none truly understands the Notre Dame value proposition.

The reporting I read suggests this search is now a three horse race (Skip Holtz, Randy Edsall and Jim Harbaugh). I just want to puke.

12/04/2009 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Irish Sting said...

A proven tier one coach, you say, boy you set a high bar to obtain. How about an upgrade over Wies and go for Coach Belichick. He is a hard nose coach who takes lesser talent and modes them into champions. If we are aiming high why not go to the top of the mountain. This article is a pie in the sky dream. Come down to reality according to your article Knute Rockne wouldn't qualify either.

Give me a coach with passion for the game, and developing lesser talent.

Give me Brian Kelly and not the pipe dreams above.

12/04/2009 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

The criteria lead me to consider a coach who is not being mentioned. Jeff Jagodzinski. Proven, consistent and tough. Did a great job at BC. Won his bowl games. Beat top flight programs. This guy has the pedigree. I was shocked that I would even think of him after the recent battles with Fredo. But if you think about it, Jag's teams played beyond their potential on both sides of the ball. He might be the best realistically coach available. I would prefer him over Kelly precisely since Kelly's teams have not performed well on defense.

12/04/2009 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Bulldog said...

This post eliminates Tressel pre-OSU doesn't it?

12/04/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question to the writers of this is what exactly would you do if one of the Tier 1 guys just won't come to ND? We all need to realize that Stoops or Meyer would be great (and I'm hopeful we get a miracle) but there is just the possibility that under no circumstances will they come to ND to coach, and if that happens to be the case what would you do?

12/04/2009 02:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In our house, we are still dancing the Irish jig celebrating Chucky's departure!

12/04/2009 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian Kelly or bust!!!!!

12/04/2009 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Rock said...

What about Tressell?

For everyone one Tressell there are 25 like him who fail.

Those are not good odds.

When Bama got Saban, they got a home run.

Let some other team be the guinea pig for could be coaches... Notre Dame can then pick them off after they prove themselves.

12/04/2009 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any coach that can turn programs based in Allendale MI, Mt Pleasant MI, and Cincy OH into perennial winners has to be a talented coach. Developing winning programs in locations that have extreme limitations in what they offer student athletes has to be commended. Earlier posts berate Kelly for his lack of defense. He has a makeshift defense this year but still is 11-0. His offense comes through in the clutch. Last I checked the ND defense can't stop anyone and the offense in the last half of the season can't close the deal either.

The realistic options for the next coach are limited. Last I checked South Bend is not a thriving metropolis, lacks sunlight for about six months out of the year, and the recent football history is anything but storied.

My vote is for any coach that will come in teach fundamentals and put the fight back into the Irish.

12/04/2009 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Austin said...

Absolutist, pie-in-the-sky posts like this one make me laugh in a piteous way. I have no desire to see ND step into the role of the 'second wife', and spend the next 3-5 years hearing about how Stoops or Meyer or Saban seem to have lost the fire they once had, or are having trouble rekindling that ol' Sooner/Gator/Bammer spirit. Those coaches aren't coming to ND, nor should we want them to. They're already sleeping with their trophy wife and rightfully have no desire to come to ND. Brian Kelly, on the other hand, still has unrequited hunger and fire. He wants to build an era at ND. He played LB and started as a D coordinator. He's clearly one of the best offensive minds in college football. As to his past performance, he has won at every level. His teams have beaten up on teams that have beaten up on ND over the last 3 years. How in the heck can you argue that his hire would be a failure, before he's even had a chance to coach a game, recruit a kid, or graduate a player? Get real. ND would be lucky to get Brian Kelly and I very much hope that posts of this variety don't represent the conventional ND wisdom.

12/04/2009 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous GeorgeB said...

It would appear that either Ferentz, Riley, or Tedford is Swarbrick's man for the job and fits your criteria. Good choices!

12/04/2009 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Heard Phil Fulmer wants to talk to ND. Wouldn't mind seeing that. Still have Tuberville at the top of my list. The guy had an undefeated team in 2004 in the SEC. Yeah, it was when Zook was at Florida and when Shula was at Bama, but he beat Saban's LSU Tigers in a defensive struggle and he did it at a school that plays second fiddle in Alabama and had I don't even know how many players drafted off that team. Jason Campbell, Carlos Rogers, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown... The team was nasty. I really think he would be a great fit. This guy can coach and he can win. Someone call him please.

12/04/2009 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With your criteria very,very few coaches fit. And those that do: Saban, Stoops, Meyer,Carrol Brown won't leave.
Do you think for a minute we could ever get someone like that? Get real......We will be lucky to get a guy like Kelly. The ND coaching position is not the dream job that it used to be.

12/04/2009 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous TTone said...

Let's face it. Nobody really knows who a great hire is. USC fans were outraged with the hiring of Carroll. Now they're outraged that he didn't make the Rose Bowl or another BCS game for the first time in 7 years. This posting sums it up best: http://www.irishsportsdaily.com/football/1456-home-run-hires-a-myth
Let's also face it, we know what hasn't worked for us, but all of our hires looked at the time to be solid.
-Bob Davie had head coached us to victories in Lou's absence in 1995. He was hot at the time.
-Willingham had a better resume than Harbaugh, and he seemed to coach the kind of disciplined teams that were missing in the BD era.
-Weis came in with the bravado, the winning record, and the ND diploma that we all wanted. It looked good in light of the Carroll (ex-NFL) success at USC.

Nobody, including Stoops or Urban, is a "sure hire."

12/04/2009 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how does Tony Dungy sound?

12/04/2009 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Scranton Dave said...

How does Tony Dungy sound? It sounds awful. He was a very overrated NFL coach and he is more interested in helping scumbags like Micheal Vick than anything else anyway. I agree with Vannie, and I have been telling you guys all along that Kelly isnt the end all you guys think. The home run hire is Gruden. Swarbrick should give him a blank check, and I guarantee with Gruden, we win minimum 2 NCs in the next 10 years.

12/04/2009 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Chris Petersen beat Oregon twice in the last two years, and this year the Ducks are in the Rose Bowl. Would that not add to his credentials?

12/04/2009 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see Vannie's point but the coaches that meet his criteria are most likely not interested in the ND job. I just don't think the ND job has the allure it once did, but that doesn't mean ND cannot attract a promising coach with a good record in the college ranks.

ISD posted a great article titled "They Myth of the Home Run Hire". Even before reading the article I thought of Jim Tressel who came from the division 1-AA ranks and was an assistant to the good but unspectacular Earle Bruce at Ohio State. Then there's Pete Carroll who was the 3rd or 4th choice of USC.

I think since ND has blown the last three hires the margin for error is very slim this time around. If possible ND needs someone was who is hitting their stride on the big stage instead of someone like Brian Kelley who seems to have promise and potential of succeeding on the big stage. Personally I just don't see Saban, Meyer, or Stoops ever coming to South Bend.

Cincy's schedule isn't that grueling but they did travel to Oregon St. this year and win 28-18. According to press reports Cincy was in command the whole game. This is the same OSU team the rolled up 36 points and 450 yards on the USC defense. USC has fallen the last two trips to Oregon St.

Cincy's defense just has a problem of running out of gas late in the third quarter. They were whipping Illinois 42-20 then got soft in the third before winning 49-36. This was an Illinois team that beat Michigan 38-13 and Michigan beat ND.

To put things in perspective I think ND would finish 9-3 at best with Cincy's schedule. With inferior talent Kelley may go 12-0 which to me proves he would be more competent a coach than Weis.

12/04/2009 07:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard from a fairly strong source that Stoops is in. We'll see.

12/04/2009 10:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand your points but I think ND fans/alumni need to come to terms with the fact that our program is not every coach's dream job. If it was why wouldn't top tier coaches be lined up to take the job? We will be lucky to get Kelly or Patterson. Both are excellent coaches with great track records.

12/04/2009 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Holton said...

...I have disagreed with your point of view in the past... but this I mostly agree with, particularly the salient points about Brian Kelly's qualifications.

12/05/2009 12:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The better Wisconsin candidate is Alvarez. ESPN was pushing Fulmer a little more on the MAC game tonight. I'll bet either is a better "tested" entity than "hot" kelly.

12/05/2009 12:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone actually know who is on the list?

Fullmer threw his name into the ring and god forbid that offer is made. I knew a colleague who was a UT fan and ND does not want this guy.

Tebow has almost no shot at a pro career as a QB, so Meyer is about to burn the candle at both ends and will end up like Spurrier soon, who turned QB U into QB graveyard.

Saban is probably the best fit, if he will hire a great OC. I don't know why people say he wouldn't leave, the SEC is a nightmare and its easier to recruit there with promises of immediate playing time that it will be the next few years. ND is a draw and he has the pro connection and defensive mindset.

Kelley is seen as the ace in the whole, but his lack of pro experience will not bode well with guys like Clausen. I am not a Stoops fan, so I will defer to those who are. If you have never lived in TX, perhaps the importance of getting top drawer TX athletes is under appreciated. I am a former elite athlete and I promise TX is loaded with physical freaks who have for several decades pushed whatever school to national prominence that can recruit them. So Stoops draws from a big pool

12/05/2009 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Mrs. Doubtfire said...

Of the 90 comments to this, most covered exactly what I was thinking...if not Kelly, etc, then who meets the ND Nation standard; that is who meets the standard and will actually take the job? All this article really does is allow this site to lay the foundation to continue to be a source of vitriol toward whoever coaches this team. Weis has his shortfalls, no doubt, but his dismissal, due in part to the hateful noise of the "fans" that blog for and populate these sites (maybe accounted for 10% of the reasoning for the dismissal) has already resulted in the loss of ND's only 5 star recruit and potentially countless others. And, if you do not think our friend in sunny southern California has not already sent Te'o a text, you really are delusional. The people who run this site are like politicians. They can spend countless hours telling you what is wrong with something, but they provide no solutions. Tell us, oh masters of ND football, after Stoops and Meyer, what coach, who is actually in a position to leave his current postion, should ND be talking to?

12/05/2009 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Butch Davis? He has coached at Miami where he won a National title. He is at N. Carolina so I can see why he would want to make this jump. He comes from the Jimmy Johnson coaching tree and he has a defensive background. Sounds like to me after you get past Myers and Stoops he could me the most logical choice.

12/05/2009 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Spurrier? I doubt he would want to leave the South though.

12/05/2009 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking shots at Brian Kelly is such weak sauce.

People, for gosh sake, ask yourself this simple question:

Who is in the
National Championship discussion

Stoops? No.
Peterson? No.
Chip Kelly? No
Phil Fulmer? LMAO
Barry Alvarez? ROFLMAO

The Bearcats are the darlings of the NCAA Football world, yet they play before crowds that top out at 30,000, practice at inferior facilities, and recruit primarily two-star kids.

Despite all that, Brian Kelly has them poised to play for the National Championship if his Bearcats beat Pitt (which they will) and the Huskers upset the Longhorns.

Kelly turned Tony Pike, who was on no one's radar screen when he was recruited, into a first round draft choice. He turned Zach Collaros, Pike's back-up, into a complete stud.

He's so innovative it's sick.
Against the Illini, he threw a hook-and-ladder pass to the FB from the 3.

The Irish haven't even spoken to Kelly and he's likely the Coach
of the Year.

All you can really say about the Notre Dame coaching search is that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat their errors.

Unless the Irish hire Kelly, get ready for the next chapter in mediocrity.

12/05/2009 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what direction is the right choice, but Pitt is currently running all over the Cincy defense. This makes me skeptical of Kelly's fit. I think the Irish need a balanced team, offense and defense, and I fear that Kelly brings the same offense-only mindset that Weiss offered.

12/05/2009 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Schaffler said...

I think you are delusional about Brian Kelly. The guy just built a weal program into a national title contender. Weak facilities, inferior talent and a losing program. Oh, and he has built two other programs before from bottom dwellers to conference winners. Don't you recognize talent. I hope we are lucky enough to get Kelly because Meyer and Stoops are not going to consider ND for a moment. And guess what their background was before they landed at Florida and Oklahoma? Go compare wher they were and what they did as compared to Kelly and I think you might be impressed.

12/05/2009 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In spit of fierce and consistent rumors, Stoops made a very strong statement today that he will not be at Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Cincy came back beautifully vs. Pitt and won the Big East on a day the players had every reason to be distracted re: what is beign discussed here. I don't know which way Swarbrick (or Kelly) would go, but I think Kelly brings more than Ara had at the time ND brought him on.

12/05/2009 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our schedule is a joke too. Only team on our schedule this year that is a top tier team was USC but they went downhill in the second half. Michigan, MSU, Purdue, BC, Stanford, Navy, UConn? Come on, how is that much better competition week in and week out. Only teams that can boast that are the SEC teams. Jim Tressel really didn't coach at other big time schools before going to OSU. Saban started out at Kent State, Urban went from Bowling Green to UTah to Florida. I think Kelly is a great candidate because he's done so much with so little.

12/05/2009 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the Stoops from Arizona? They just kicked USC! Maybe we have been "stooping" up the wrong Stoop???

12/05/2009 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Vannie's post, at least on specifics. We have to aim for the best, but there has to be a certain amount of realism as well.

Most of the big names simply won't leave their current position for ND. Based on what's transpired in the past week, I'd have to say Stoops might, but it's a longshot at best. I don't think Meyer will, and to be honest, I wouldn't want him at ND given what transpired in 2004, as well as the off-field incidents associated with Florida's program during his tenure. As for Tressel, I frequent a college football board with fans from many other teams, including tOSU. I haven't heard any of the tOSU fans there wanting him out, although of course, I can't say that they speak for the entire fanbase.

Gruden simply does not meet the criteria Swarbrick has laid out, most notably due to his long absence from the college game and the fact that he never has been a college coach. Tuberville? I honestly don't see him coming here, I think he's a Southern boy at heart. I wouldn't mind the next coach hiring him as DC, though.

Of those coaches in the obviously gettable category, I'd have to say that Kelly is the best bet. He has faced a higher level of competition than either Patterson or Peterson, at least on a week in, week out basis. Plus, he's built a very strong recruiting base in the Cincinnati area, traditionally a good area for ND to recruit.

Kelly to me stands out above not only Patterson and Peterson, but also Fitzgerald, Edsall and Skip Holtz. I'd like to get Stoops, don't get me wrong, but I'm still somewhat skeptical about our chances. If we don't get him, Kelly's our best bet.

12/06/2009 05:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12/06/2009 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter who ND chooses as the next head coach, the new coach regardless of where he has been and what he has done will have to prove himself all over in the eyes of the Irish fan. All of the coaches that have turned into the Supercoach we as ND fans are looking for started out as suspect in most ways until he found a way to become the coach the became. It makes no difference as long as it is someone who makes sense and can motivate kids to be the best student athlete they are capable of. When the next coach is named, there will be groans until he finally takes us back into the BCS contention we all want. Who ever it is we need to back him the same way we believed in Charlie. Hopefully it will be with the results we all want. We all will wait until we are finally convinced we have the right man and no matter who it is, it will take some time to get to that point.

12/06/2009 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Here is what bothers me about Kelly. We've read the last day or so how he told the Bearcats team he wasn't leaving. Those players took his word for it and repeated it to the media. I understand the nuances of instilling confidence in a team (especially as you're heading into a conference championship game). But if it's true, and Kelly said that, then jumps ship, it speaks volumes.

Do we really want someone with the character of Nick Saban (who repeatedly denied going to Alabama, till the moment he did)?

One thing lost - and in my opinion translated wrong - is this idea of getting a coach who has maintained a program. The author of this article put Notre Dame on the level of USC, Florida and Oklahoma. It is not. Traditionally, sure, it is. But not over the last 15 years. So you cannot expect a coach from a Tier 1 BCS school to make a move to ND. If we use the author's criteria, there are only a few coaches that meet his standards: Pete Carrol, Mack Brown, Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops.

That is short-sighted. I don't want Carrol, Brown, Meyer or Stoops. The truth is, my dog has more character than all those men combined (well, maybe not Brown, but the definitely the others). And what Kelly has proven to me is the same thing, unless he TRULY plans on staying at Cincinnati. If he does, great, I commend him for turning down ND and telling his players the truth.

Tubberville? Come on. He didn't maintain anything. Does anyone remember WHY he was fired?

Fulmer? He had a good run at Tenn. And then drove the program to mediocrity. Hardly a recipe for inspiration.

Gruden? He can stay at ESPN. There is no "learning" curve at ND.

Stoops (either one) - can stay where they are at. Bob, we don't need you.

Meyer. I'm not even going to address that one.

Skip Holtz has come up recently. He's intriguing. But I don't see him at Notre Dame.

In my opinion, what Notre Dame needs is a coach who wins with "less." And by less I mean, less 5 star recruits, less attractive atmosphere, against opponents who "should" beat them. Who comes to mind?

My first choice - Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech. He's won championships (at Georgia Southern), tuned Navy COMPLETELY around, and has Georgia Tech as a top 10 and BCS team. His offense plays a style that is unattractive to warm weather QB's who want to be the next Peyton Manning. But guess what? I don't care. I want wins. Not QB's drafted on the first day.

To me, Paul Johnson is the complete package. He won with less talent, coached at a school more strict and held to higher standards than Notre Dame (and most importantly, won with men dedicated to not playing in the NFL, but serving this country).

I'm not sure if Johnson is open to leaving Georgia Tech. But that's who I would focus on.

12/06/2009 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Ok,we are all lifetime ND fans,we stick around thru thick and thin and for the last generation very thin.The reality is that ND has the money but no longer the position in college football to dictate it's choice for the head football coach. That top tier,proven,program sustaining choice is just not an option. Maybe we could get Pete Carrol etc.,but the more likely scenario will provide us with a diamond in the rough who will flourish with the support of the ND family.

12/06/2009 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Ohio Irish said...

I think most of you are missing the point of this post. Vannie is only reiterating the ctiteria laid out by Swarbrick. You guys may say that I am crazy, but I also don't see why Stoops or Meyer wouldn't leave their respective positions to coach at ND. Five years ago when this was all discussed, the ND program was in a far worse state. Now we have the talent, but we need someone to guide them.

There are a few comments here that stated that Holtz was a rising star when he was hired at ND. That is not the case. He had already won over 100 games at the D1 level. I would call that being an established coach who can win at the highest level.

I for one would like to see Phillip Fulmer. He is available, and he has been successful at the D1 level. He won 152 games at Tennessee. Let me say that again. He won 152 games at Tennessee.

12/06/2009 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Irish73 said...

After watching some big games this weekend one could see an element that one hardly ever saw in a ND game this year- emotion. From Weis and his handpicked QB you hardly ever saw anything to indicate it was anything other than a business. When we went a whole first half without scoring a point, was anyone being chewed out on the sidelines or going nuts trying to get the other players excited? I didn't see it. More than anything a new coach has to be smart and exciting. Lou was that. But Davies, Ty, and now CW were just too business-like to deal with kids that are so young. I want a guy that will impress me with his schemes, but also one who will cry when ND loses and jump up and down when we score. No more stoic, arms-crossed coaches! Let them do boring commentary on ESPN2!

12/06/2009 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all so depressing. I was listening to a Chicago Sports Talk Station and the commentator was railing about ND's "sanctimonious" approach to college football. Paraphrasing this talking head, he basically said: "We all know what college football is about. You recruit the strongest and fastest kids, with just enough intelligence so that they will not flunk out, and you hope they will not rape anyone on campus in their four years." He might be right. You take Bama, Texas, Florida, etc and you look at their graduation rates. Pretty bad. Yeah, so we can be Stanford, or Northwestern, or Georgia Tech, blah, blah, blah. Folks, none of these schools will ever win a national title, though they may well post 9-3 or 8-4 W-L records. This is not the college football of Ara or Knute, or Leahy. I doubt that ND wants to Stoop or become "Myered" (sorry for the puns) in the current zeitgeist of what is needed for a National Title.

12/06/2009 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norm Chow. enough said.

12/07/2009 12:50:00 AM  

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