In 2004 the University of Notre Dame fired failed head football coach Tyrone Willingham. The Willingham firing was controversial, as politically correct commentators ignored Willingham's incompetence in their zeal to find a Catholic institution engaged in alleged discrimination against a black man. Ultimately, the media storm stung Notre Dame's leadership so badly that they sacrificed some of the University's Catholic character to honor the staunchly pro-abortion President Barack Obama with a JD degree in a nasty little quid pro quo. We'll give you cover for your culture of death if you'll drop your trumped up charge of racism. As a post-script, Willingham amassed a 11-37 record as head coach of the University of Washington in his final NCAA head coaching job.
The firing was followed by a botched hiring of then-Utah coach Urban Meyer, who chose the University of Florida, publicly humiliating the University that once offered his "dream job." The media, still in a feeding frenzy, began to circulate stories that no one wanted the Notre Dame coaching job. This led to Notre Dame turning to Charlie Weis, who was a successful NFL coordinator, winning 3 Super Bowls with the New England patriots. However, he had never been a head coach at a level above high school. The initial signs were favorable. Notre Dame followed Willingham's 6-5 record (6-6 including a bowl loss under an interim coach for Willingham) with a 9-3 record in 2005 and a 10-3 record in 2006.
With most of the starters graduating, Notre Dame expected a down year in 2007. What they got was arguably their worst season ever, a 3-9 effort that looked more like a Three Stooges film than a Notre Dame football season. Lows included Navy ending Notre Dame's 43 game winning streak. 2008 featured a 7-6 mark and inexplicable losses and near losses to some of the worst teams in college football. The 2009 team was no better, finishing the regular season at 6-6, despite having arguably the best quarterback in Notre Dames legendary history, Jimmy Clausen.
Weis never grasped the concept of defense. He loved tinkering with the offense, but eschewed a power running game. That may work in the NFL, but power running wins games in college football. While Weis amassed offensive talent, it didn't translate to wins. Weis was fired today, deservedly so. The fact is, he was a terrible coach. If he had any experience, people would have seen this. Notre Dame's mistake was giving him a chance. Being a good coordinator doesn't translate into being a good head coach.
There will be press stories that Notre Dame can't win anymore. That Notre Dame's holier than thou attitude doesn't fit in this day and age. Who makes their players attend class, much less graduate? Notre Dame leads all NCAA Bowl Subdivision teams in this statistic. The naysayers are full of BS. Notre Dame can win and graduate its players. If Notre Dame gets a proven coach, the team will win. Let's hope the leaders at Notre Dame understand this.