Tony Dungy 2001-
"I know I probably didn't get a couple of jobs in my career because people could not see my personality or the way I was going to do it ... For your faith to be more important than your job, for your family to be more important than that job."
His faith could be just one of the reasons he would be hired as the next head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Granted, Dungy is a devout evangelical and probably not the Pope's first choice. But the Pope isn't involved in the hiring of a football coach. Faith is what matters. His character another. There are few in the coaching profession that can meet Dungy's credentials as an outstanding person. It also happens to be a fact that few can match his ability when it comes to the X's and O's in the game of football. Outstanding character, coaching leadership qualities and yes even faith is what Notre Dame has at the top of their list of qualifications that the Fighting Irish desire in their next head coach. Did I mention winning? Dungy is a winner of football games but a bigger winner in life. He would be the perfect fit to lead the nation's most historic college football program.
Is he on the list of candidates? I'd be willing to bet the farm on that one. Is he interested? Well, when asked during his news conference announcing his retirement when asked if he would ever entertain coaching again he said "I'll never say never and close the door on it (coaching)." That doesn't mean he's interested but it sure doesn't mean he is not at all interested either. Conversation is cheap and perhaps when he does share that conversation with the Notre Dame President and Athletic Director he might become excited about the unique opportunity.
So why would Dungy be interested in the Notre Dame job? Lots of reasons. The Fighting Irish program is the most storied in the history of the game. It's Notre Dame! He is all about helping others and the opportunity to impact the lives of young men is no doubt something he would welcome. The challenge of what appears to be a rebuilding of the once great (and feared) Notre Dame program. Money is probably not a major issue but IF it happens to be at least a consideration, there is no doubt that Notre Dame could and would pay him more than he's ever made in his life. Quality of life also isn't too bad in South Bend, Indiana. The overriding reason for him to take the job would be the chance to really make a difference. Not only with raising the stature of Notre Dame once again but the opportunity to make a difference in many other's lives and to be able to go down in history as the man who saved the Notre Dame football program.
Let's examine the options that Notre Dame has right now. Urban Meyer? He's not going anywhere. Yes, at one point Meyer was quoted as saying the Notre Dame head coaching job was his "dream job" but he's proven he can win a national title at Florida, he has the Gator's program on top of the heap, his recruiting classes are always in the top 2 or 3 in the nation and he's paid as well as any coach in the country and soon to be paid even more. Brian Kelly? Yes, he's proven to be a great coach and he may very well be number two on Notre Dame's list but number two won't matter if Dungy is interested. Gary Patterson? I think he's a long shot. Yes, he's had a good run at TCU but Notre Dame needs to pull out all the stops this time around and hire a coach of significant stature. Chris Petersen at Boise State? He's going nowhere. He loves life in Idaho and his program runs on all cylinders, he's paid very well and moving up is not a priority for him. There are others you could put on the Notre Dame short list but I really don't think the names will matter in the end.
Dungy is only 54 years old and has a lot of potentially great years of coaching and life ahead of him. Yes, there are younger coaches out there but none with the credentials of a Tony Dungy. He is your next head coach at Notre Dame.