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.