As a loyal 30-year fan of Notre Dame football, I’ve had the opportunity to experience some of the best feelings a fan can have. My short list goes as follows: inspired by the intensity of Ara Parseghian; in awe of the precision passing of Joe Montana; witnessed the great all-around football effort of Joe Theismann; proud of the fact that they were willing to cross racial barriers and hire Tyrone Willingham as its head coach. The national championships in 1973, 1977 and 1988 made for happy times as well.
That was pre-Nov. 30. On that day, their athletics decision-makers destroyed my devotion to their football program and as they say in divorce papers, the damage is irreconcilable.
Tyrone Willingham did not deserve this firing. Even Gerry Faust and Bob Davie were allowed five years of total mediocrity before being relieved of their coaching duties. Maybe Paul Hornung made the best observation when he implied that the school should maybe lower their academic standards to try and get better skill players; in essence he is saying they should “dumb-down.”
If that is the case, at least the athletics administration is letting that notion start from the top.
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