An Open Letter from One Notre Dame Fan to the Rest of ND Nation
Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Lou Holtz are the people you may think about when you hear the term "Notre Dame Football." Under the guidance of these men, Notre Dame transformed itself into a national powerhouse.
Notre Dame mystique runs deep through the campus. The Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, and Rudy Ruettiger have instilled a pride, and dare I say arrogance, in the Irish faithful.
Notre Dame Nation is convinced that anyone would love to coach here. Urban Myer, famed coach of Florida was thought to be interested in taking the job when Charlie Weis was given the boot at the end of the 2009 season.
To quote a Notre Dame Monogram Award-winner: "If he wins at Florida he'll be a legend, but if he wins at Notre Dame, he'll be a God."
And that is exactly the problem with the current state of Irish football. With their NBC contract in hand, boosters and season ticket holders expect dominance in a day when top-tier football players would rather play in sunny California than in run-down South Bend.
Since the Lou Holtz era ended in 1996, Notre Dame has hired, then fired, three different full-time replacements. None of them was given more than four years to get the program turned around. Charlie Weis led Notre Dame to the Fiesta, Sugar, and Hawaii bowl but got the axe one year later.
It's Brian Kelly's time now.
After a 1-3 start to the 2010 season, he is already fielding questions from the press about the expectations on this program, to which I'm sure he's thinking, "I should have stayed at Cincinnati."
In football action this past Saturday Cincinnati dropped a thriller 31-29 to eighth-ranked Oklahoma. Meanwhile, Kelley with the elite talent and home-field advantage that only Notre Dame can provide got beat down by No. 16 Stanford 37-14.
Notre Dame has now lost 11 consecutive games to ranked opponents, the last five of which have been played in Notre Dame Stadium.
They have not won a national championship since 1988. For those of you scoring at home, that has been 22 years without a title. Nearly a quarter of a century with no championship, yet they still fancy themselves a powerhouse in college football?
With all the recruiting power that the Irish have, last season they lost to Navy. Navy has one major recruiting dilemma: All of their students have to go off to war! If the Irish can't beat a team like that, then they are no better than any other small school in the country.
Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida may get the occasional upset, but they are just that, occasional upsets. Notre Dame has made it the norm to lose to teams like Michigan State, Connecticut, Navy, North Carolina, and Boston College. These are not top-tier schools, and neither is Notre Dame.
Like I stated at the beginning, I am a Notre Dame fan. The purpose of this article is to help quell the knee-jerk reactions that have plagued this program since Lou Holtz left. Brian Kelly has the makings of a good coach. The university should not be quick to fire him after three or four years. He will need time to get his team, his players, and his mindset instilled into this program.
So let's give him the time and support he needs so that one day he might be able to return the Irish to national prominence.