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  • Willingham steps down at Notre Dame

    Willingham Steps Down; Is Meyer Next?

    Lou Somogyi Associate Editor

    ESPN announced at 1:30 p.m. EST this afternoon that Tyrone Willingham will not return as Notre Dame’s head coach in 2005. Speculation centered on current Utah head coach Urban Meyer, an Irish assistant from 1996-2000 who has a Notre Dame clause in his contract, as the top candidate to replace Willingham.

    Could Urban Meyer become the next coach for Notre Dame?
    Willingham is only the second non-interim Notre Dame coach to hold the position only three years. The other was Hunk Anderson (1931-33). Perhaps not coincidentally, Anderson and Willingham are the only two Notre Dame coaches to lose each of their first three games against archrival USC. Willingham lost his third straight by 31 points to the Trojans this past weekend.

    Willingham’s three-year record of 21-15 (.583) is virtually identical to the three-year marks posted by Gerry Faust (18-15-1) and Bob Davie (21-16) after their third seasons with the Irish. More distressing was the lack of appreciable progress after an 8-0 start his first year. Since then, Notre Dame is 13-15.

    Moreover, the Irish have lost eight games by 21 points or more under Willingham. Faust and Davie combined for just seven such losses in their 10 years combined. After last year’s 5-7 debacle, Notre Dame only managed a 6-5 mark this year, including a loss at 5-6 BYU to open the season and home losses to Big East foes Boston College and Pittsburgh. Although the Irish did upset two Top 10-ranked teams in Michigan and Tennessee, the frustrating losses overshadowed the dramatic victories.

    Sources indicated that Willingham and his family were unhappy in South Bend and were looking for opportunities elsewhere. A news conference is scheduled to be held at the University at 4:00 p.m. EST.

  • #2
    Re: Willingham steps down at Notre Dame

    ND has egg on their face twice as Urban has chosen Florida.

    ND must realize they can't be the team they once were. They plan on scheduling cupcakes in the future which is pointless for an independent, they might as well join a conference.


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      What happened to this once-proud program could fill a courtroom. In fact, it has. The unfortunate Rick Neuheisel saga dragged U-Dub down to a point that Tyrone Willingham became the program's third coach in 18 months.

      The top story in the Pac-10 is Southern California chasing its third consecutive national championship. Right below it might be the plight of Washington. When was the last time the Huskies were picked last in the preseason as they were by media earlier this month?

      Not surprising, really, when Washington finished 1-10 and winless in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1973 last season. But, still, Washington? The school of Don James, great quarterbacks, Rose Bowls?

      Fortunately, the Huskies lucked out when Willingham was available. They won't be down for long in a conference that -- pre-USC dynasty -- was fluid (Washington won 11 games as recently as 2000). With less than two months to recruit after being fired, Willingham assembled a serviceable (if small at 13 players) recruiting class.

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