Daily Herald
Notre Dame in need of less talk, more reality
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 12/1/2009 12:03 AM

There. I just finished blocking out a few key time slots on my Google Calendar.

I'm expecting there'll be a Nov. 30 in our near future - possibly in the year 2013 but probably 2014 - when Notre Dame will need to search for another new coach and I'll need to recycle these words.

When it comes time to replace the guy who's replacing Charlie Weis, fired on Monday after posting a 35-27 record in five years, ND's athletic director du jour will trot out three time-honored themes for the media:

1) The football program wasn't making quite enough progress to satisfy anyone. Remember, college football is Notre Dame and Notre Dame is college football.

2) While we didn't win enough on the field, we dominated in the classroom. Cheer, cheer for old GPA!

3) The next guy will lead us back to the top. I can feel it!

Don't take my word for this. Take Kevin White's. Here's the former Irish AD after Tyrone Willingham's reign ended on Nov. 30, 2004:

"We just weren't, I don't think, manufacturing the momentum, the progress, we felt we needed to have to move this program back to the elite. That's not a negotiable position at Notre Dame. Football is very important to this institution...and competing at the highest level is of the utmost importance."

Now, here's current AD Jack Swarbrick on Monday after firing Weis:

"As we go out now and begin our search, that is our focus, in finding the right individual to lead Notre Dame back to a place of prominence in college football. The University is better when we do that, college football is better when we do that, and the student-athletes who call this place home are better when we do that."

Now for Talking Point No. 2. Mr. White, your turn again:

"From Sunday to Friday, our football program has exceeded all expectations in every way. Academic performance is at a fever pitch. It's never been better. Tyrone has done some wonderful things."

Et tu, Mr. Swarbrick?

"You know, Charlie did win a National Championship; he won a National Championship when his football program finished first in graduation success rate this year, and that is an important contribution and one which we value very highly."

Will Weis get a ring for this national championship? His players? His coaches? And did it save his job?

But we digress. On to Talking Point No. 3. Just for fun, let's throw a curve and go with a White quote from the day he fired Bob Davie. Officially it happened on Dec. 2, 2001, but I believe in my heart White did it on Nov. 30.

"Can we win a 12th (national title)?" White said. "I believe we can. I believe we can win at the highest level."

Hmmm. Take one guess as to Swarbrick's opinion, considering he weaved the dry spells experienced by the New York Yankees and Boston Celtics and Dallas Cowboys into his answer.

"This is a drought," he said, "and I have every confidence that we will end the drought and succeed spectacularly."

I have every reason to feel sorry for the coach who must try to fulfill these delusions.