It’s Looking Like Deja Vu All Over Again For Notre Dame

December 1, 2009 – 9:26 pm by Ryan Phillips


After some really interesting initial rumors surrounding Notre Dame’s head coaching vacancy, all of a sudden coaches are running from speculation concerning that job like roaches when the lights come on.

Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops was thought to be the guy as recently as yesterday on this here blog. Now he says he’s going to be at Oklahoma next year and then reiterated that stance today, adding, “I don’t lie.” OK Bob, geez, relax buddy. So until Stoops proves to us that he’s a liar, we’re going to assume he’s not headed to South Bend (please ignore McD’s post for the purposes of this one). Especially because today many experts are saying that the sources claiming Stoops was headed to South Bend were flat-out wrong.

Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly has long been a favorite of Irish fans but ESPN’s Adam Schefter is saying that Notre Dame is not at all interested in Kelly and that the hire will have a defensive resume. We’ve also heard that Kelly is completely content at Cincinnati and may be using all the Notre Dame chatter surrounding him to leverage a huge, long-term extension.

Schefter has also informed the world that former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy has no interest in the job.

Urban Meyer ain’t coming, despite the long-time pipe dreams of Irish fans.

University of Texas defensive coordinator (and head coach in waiting) Will Muschamp? He’s already got a better gig waiting for him.

Oregon’s Chip Kelly? No way he leaves Eugene with a great returning squad and the money Nike can bring him.

TCU’s Gary Patterson? He’s always been fiercely loyal to the Horned Frogs and he’s in the process of inking a big extension.

So, uh, where does that leave the Irish? Pretty much where they were when Notre Dame hired Charlie Weis back in December of 2004. Without a big name, big ticket coach willing to fill the coaching vacancy and the prospect of a long, drawn out search that can only injure the program further.

It’s just becoming more and more apparent that Notre Dame simply isn’t the job it once was. The job certainly has an amazing tradition and an incredible fanbase and following, but those things alone don’t make a program. While Notre Dame has the NBC television deal and thus can promise potential players national exposure, virtually all the big programs are on national television on a weekly basis these days anyway.

The Irish have great facilities, but South Bend is a dump. Sure, it’s a pretty campus but go three feet off that campus and you’re in one of the more depressing towns in North America.

Then there are the other superficial things that kids headed to college like. There aren’t loads of gorgeous women wandering around the streets of South Bend. The town also has a horrible climate. In the winter it’s cold…like, Arctic Circle cold. Sure those may be trivial things but they work against you in recruiting. Throw in the fact that a coach at Notre Dame is forced to recruit nationally due to a lack of depth in football talent locally (Indiana and Illinois aren’t known as huge hotbeds littered with four and five-star guys), whereas other top schools can choose to recruit nationally (examples: USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, etc.). That just makes the job even harder since you’ve always got to be on the road for recruiting.

Those may seem like small issues but when a coach is making the decision whether or not to change his entire life, uproot his family and take a job where he’s going to face intense scrutiny, everything is a factor.

It just seems like Notre Dame is no longer the kind of  job that the top coaches will crawl over each other to get. We learned that in 2004 and it’s apparent once again.

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  1. 9 Responses to “It’s Looking Like Deja Vu All Over Again For Notre Dame”

  2. I don’t know about the climate argument. Columbus is a fucking dump AND is cold in the winter, and yet Tressel seems able to bring in decent players there. Cincinnati is in the middle of the bleakest neighborhoods I’ve ever seen, and it gets cold there, too, yet Kelly seems capable of bringing in good talent (and utilizing them…hint, hint, Cholly).

    The thing that pisses me the fuck off is the whole “we’re not interested in Brian Kelly because of his political stances about abortion”. When I was at ND, Malloy made this big fucking stink about how “religion and football don’t mix at Notre Dame”. And then, of course, the whole fucking fiasco with Obama speaking at commencement this past spring (for the record, I didn’t have a problem with him speaking…he’s the fucking President of the United States! Like him or not, it’s a fucking honor to have a sitting President visit your campus, let alone speak).

    We keep this shit up, and let’s just drop football and change our mascot to the Fighting Hypocrites. Or Fighting Asshats.

    I have a bad feeling we’re going to end up with Ralph Friedgen. At least we have the pre-stretched hoodies for him.

    By MJenks on Dec 1, 2009

  3. The weather wouldn’t be a big deal, but when you factor in all of those other things it all becomes a big deal. The reason coaches can sell Columbus is because it’s a good college town and Ohio State kids love to party. You can sell the fun. There ain’t much of that in South Bend.

    It’s a total package thing when it comes to picking a college for these kids.

    By Phillips on Dec 2, 2009

  4. What do you mean? There’s lots of fun in South Bend. There’s…uh…the College Football Hall of Fame. And…uh…the Studebaker Museum. And…um…er…Potato Creek. Guys like to fish, right?

    And the girls! If having three of the dankest, darkest, seediest strip clubs in the world is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    By MJenks on Dec 2, 2009

  5. Great article, the last couple paragraphs about south bend and recruiting are spot on.

    By Mike on Dec 2, 2009

  6. MJenks, Columbus is an awesome town, plenty to do, tons of hot chicks. South Bend is a total dump.

    I couldn’t believe when I drove through there that I saw cars on blocks.


    By Patch on Dec 3, 2009

  7. Adam Shefter reports Notre Dame has no interest in Brian Kelly. This is the same tool who said Bob Stoops was headed to ND. I don’t think I’ll believe anything else this douchebag says.

    By C Mac on Dec 3, 2009

  8. Have you ever been to Norman, Tuscaloosa, Athens,Ga, even Gainesville? Lots of college towns are not that great. The idea of unlimited sex and partying is mostly a myth and athletes really stand out for better and worse. I taught at UGA in the 80’s when its bands were at the top of the charts and it still was a pretty boring town. Bars are bars everywhere. Every campus has plenty of “jersey chasers”. You really can’t judge ND by the shabbiness of South Bend. The difference is that Chicago is only an hour away and it has everything! Plus you attract less attention. Many of the top athletes, black or white, are a lot more sophisticated than you think. ND has the most incredible alum network all over the world and unless you play in the NFL, its those connections for the rest of your life that make up for northern Indiana weather.

    By amberman on Dec 3, 2009

  9. Amberman,
    Honestly, I think you underestimate how much the “college experience” impacts these kids. It really does. Things like partying, etc are a big part of college life. Most kids want a place where you can have that, not a place where you have to drive and hour and be 21 to have that.

    When you factor in all the other stuff (weather, etc.) it does work against ND.

    Plus, while regular students rely on the alumni network ND has, football players will have tons of high-level alumni connections laid out for them no matter where they go.

    By Phillips on Dec 3, 2009

  10. C Mac,
    Schefter is being backed up by a lot of sources around football in saying that Kelly isn’t being looked at seriously for a whole bunch of reasons. Kelly isn’t denying anything or even discussing it because he’s negotiating an extension with Cincinnati and is using the ND stuff as leverage.

    By Phillips on Dec 3, 2009

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