100 years ago today a coaching legend was born. Frank Leahy, an Irish Catholic, was born in O'Neil, Nebraska on August 27, 1908. Leahy attended the University of Notre Dame during his undergraduate years and played football at the tackle position under legendary Irish coach Knute Rockne, playing for the Rock's final three seasons before the tragic plane crash that led to his death.
After several coaching stints with Georgetown, Michigan State, and Fordham Leahy earned a head coaching position at Boston College in 1939. He led the Eagles to an undefeated season in 1940 and a share of the national championship before leaving to return to his alma mater.
Leahy coached 11 seasons at Notre Dame, earning an overall record of 87- 11-9. He guided the Irish to 6 undefeated seasons, including a stretch of 4 straight seasons without a loss, and four national championships (1943, 1946, 1947, 1949). Notre Dame finished at least in the top 3 of the AP polls in 7 seasons while Leahy was in charge.
Leahy also instructed four heisman trophy winners, including Notre Dame's first winner Angelo Bertelli (1943), Johnny Lujack (1947), the trophy's second and last defensive end winner Leon Hart (1949), and John Lattner (1953).
Unfortunately, Leahy's tenure at Notre Dame was interrupted when the United States entered World War II. One can only imagine how many additional titles and/or records he could have set while at the helm of the Fighting Irish during his two year hiatus.
He was a great coach and a great individual. In honor of his centennial, please enjoy the following NFL Films tribute to this Irish legend and College Football Hall of Fame coach.
"When the going gets tough, let the tough get going" - Frank Leahy