After another disappointing season, the Washington Redskins are finally beginning to feel the repercussion in their front office. In a statement released Thursday morning, the team has announced that Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato has resigned his post and will no longer be working in the nation's capital.
Meanwhile, as Brian Kelly begins his new tenure at Notre Dame by recruiting and slowly evaluating and assembling his coaching staff, a question must be asked:
Will Cerrato be returning to South Bend?
It seems like ages ago, but once upon a time Vinny Cerrato was one of the most talked about people in college football and on the campus of Notre Dame where he was the top Fighting Irish recruiting coordinator under Lou Holtz from 1986 to 1991.
Since that time, Cerrato has worked as a player personnel director for the San Francisco 49ers and as Dan Snyder's right hand man in Washington from 1999 until his resignation this morning.
Cerrato's return to South Bend may be unlikely, but it sure seems like very good timing to be looking for a new job as a new coach settles in at Notre Dame.
With Kelly now thrust into the spotlight as head coach at Notre Dame, Cerrato may be the perfect person to employ as a recruiting coordinator since he has the experience of selling the Irish brand and more importantly, canvassing the entire country for elite talent.
Many Washington Redskins fans may be elated to see Cerrato leave, viewing him as a failure and puppet to Snyder's hands on approach, but Fighting Irish fans should be aware of the tremendous job he was able to do during the late 1980's.
After coming with Lou Holtz from the University of Minnesota, Cerrato was able to immediately bring in to Notre Dame among the best recruiting classes in the country. Once these players became veteran upperclassmen, Notre Dame once again became a national powerhouse.
With Cerrato's recruits leading the way (1988-1993), Notre Dame compiled a 64-9-1 record including a 5-1 record in bowl games, as well as winning the school's last national championship in 1988.
With Gerry Faust's recruits as upperclassmen in 1986-87 and without Cerrato's recruits (last class having graduated after the 1993 season), Notre Dame compiled a much weaker 36-21-1 record.
What's more, Cerrato's five recruiting classes were responsible for countless All-American honors and national awards, including over a dozen first round NFL draft picks.
There was some controversy surrounding Cerrato in that he was never viewed as a real Notre Dame guy, and there have been people familiar with the situation who have stated that the university and administration were never fully comfortable with his demeanor, style, and collection of sometimes unruly recruits.
These same people are quick to point out that Cerrato never did anything wrong but that his reputation as "the only guy in South Bend with a tan in January" rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
And although Lou Holtz has claimed that Cerrato was not pushed out by the administration, the consensus seems to be he was not welcome and may in fact have been all but forced to leave South Bend for the NFL.
Nevertheless, Cerrato's contribution to the success of Notre Dame football cannot be denied. It is interesting to note that people don't often return to their former place of success after a long period of time and go on to find that same winning formula again.
Just ask Cerrato's former employer about how well Joe Gibbs part two worked out.
Still, with Cerrato's past and history with Notre Dame football, it makes you wonder if he will be receiving a phone call from Brian Kelly sometime in the near future.
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