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Because of circumstances, Willingham and Weis will always be linked. Willingham was ousted at Notre Dame after just three seasons, an unprecedented pulling of the plug on a Fighting Irish coach with a few years still remaining on his contract.

Weis put the shine back on the Golden Dome last year, going 9-3 -- a record identical to Willingham's first season at Notre Dame. But Weis' 9-3 was good enough to earn a 10-year contract extension.

Make no mistake, there was a difference between Weis' 9-3 and Willingham's. The 2002 Irish were a scrappy squad that rarely outplayed its opponents but took advantage of every break to steal several games. They were outclassed by top-notch teams.

Weis' Irish looked more polished and competed better against elite competition. Still, after 15 games at Notre Dame both were 11-4 and trying to recover from a mauling by Michigan.

Willingham lost game No. 16 to Michigan State.

In Weis' 16th game, Notre Dame was down 31-14 at half against the Spartans.


http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=131142
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Willingham for whatever reason was not popular with the boosters and alumni. This is a huge deal in college and can make or break a coach when his record is questionable.

Mack Brown at Texas for years had a decent record, but did poorly against Oklahoma and could not quite get Texas to the top. A year or so before they won the National Title I saw a piece where some analysts were discussing coaches on the hot seat and one asked if Mack Brown was in trouble. Another analyst replied that Mack Brown was safe at Texas because the boosters love him.

Almost 20 years ago Bill Curry at Alabama was 10-0 and ranked #2 or so going into the Auburn game. At the time he had the best record in the history of Alabama for any coach during his first 3 years. However, he had not once beaten arch rival Auburn and even at 10-0 everyone knew he was going to be fired if he lost again. Alabama lost to Auburn and Curry got fired. Curry was not popular with the boosters and alumni.

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Willingham for whatever reason was not popular with the boosters and alumni.

I'm so not saying anything here.

-synchronicity, intensely dislikes Notre Dame.
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{{Almost 20 years ago Bill Curry at Alabama was 10-0 and ranked #2 or so going into the Auburn game. At the time he had the best record in the history of Alabama for any coach during his first 3 years. However, he had not once beaten arch rival Auburn and even at 10-0 everyone knew he was going to be fired if he lost again. Alabama lost to Auburn and Curry got fired. Curry was not popular with the boosters and alumni.}}



AT OSU, Cooper was fired because he could not beat Michigan. Since Tressel came in, Carr is on the hotseat because he is only 1-4 versus OSU.


c
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Willingham for whatever reason was not popular with the boosters and alumni.

I'm so not saying anything here.


Of course race was an issue. To wit, Bob Davie's record after 3 years at ND: 21-16; Willingham's was 21-15. Davie gets to finish out his contract. Ditto for Gerry Faust, whose first three years netted an 18-15-1 record and he was able serve his five-year contract. (I cribbed these numbers from King Kaufman's column at the time: http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/kaufman/2004/12/01/wednesday/index.html)

I do think, and do think it was wrong, that Willingham was held to an unnecessarily high standard; plus he also saved the ND Admin's bacon over the O'Leary mess. At the time, the ND PR word was that the team wasn't winning enough, but that didn't keep previous -- white -- coaches from keeping their jobs. That being said, with, essentially, the same talent on the field that Ty had, Weis takes the Irish to a BCS bowl in his first season as coach.

--jbx (ND class of 1990, but no ND fan or apologist)
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"Of course race was an issue. To wit, Bob Davie's record after 3 years at ND: 21-16; Willingham's was 21-15. Davie gets to finish out his contract. Ditto for Gerry Faust, whose first three years netted an 18-15-1 record and he was able serve his five-year contract. (I cribbed these numbers from King Kaufman's column at the time: http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col/kaufman/2004/12/01/wednesday/index.html)"

I said what I felt last year.

"I do think, and do think it was wrong, that Willingham was held to an unnecessarily high standard; plus he also saved the ND Admin's bacon over the O'Leary mess. At the time, the ND PR word was that the team wasn't winning enough, but that didn't keep previous -- white -- coaches from keeping their jobs. That being said, with, essentially, the same talent on the field that Ty had, Weis takes the Irish to a BCS bowl in his first season as coach."

This is the reason why I went towards the Gators in my DI-A world.
1. Zook got fired at Florida (hired the same years as Willingham).
2. Similar results on the field.
3. Urban Meyer (during his tenure at Utah) puts a clause in his contract that if 2 jobs became vacant, he could entertain those offers without conflict.
4. Both got fired. What the difference between Zook and Willingham was that Willingham's guys "did everything right off the field, but did not translate to wins on the field" (or something like that).
5. Gruden, who's Dad worked for Dan Devine, is a die-hard domer fan. Gruden turned down the job. Word is that after Davie was let go, Gruden wanted the Notre Dame HC job. The rest is history. My money says he didn't like what happened to Coach Willingham either.
6. Coach Meyer considered both jobs mentioned earlier. My belief is that he saw what happened to Coach Willingham & saw he played kids early on.
7. Meyer also noticed that he has the entire state of Florida to recruit from. His first year he still managed a Top 10 recruiting class in the short time his staff had. Last year, U-F was Top 2 including the Top QB (Tebow) & WR (Harvin). This year, a verbal came from the #1 DL (who's cousin is currently playing at UF). ND lacked "talent" (in the means of natural athletes) but had discipline. Florida was just the opposite. Now, Florida in the Top 5 and most of his recruits are redshirts. While I won't say "Steve Who", this guy is about to tilt the balance of power straight through Gainsville (I thought it would have been Zook, who will do a VERY good job in Illinois). Kids have cancelled visits to top tier schools to consider U-F. I'll say 3-4 years at the worst, the measuring stick for NCAA Football will be USC, Florida, Texas, Ohio State & Auburn.

After hearing about what Steve Spurrier was as a guy, I change my stance. Plus he swings Big Bertha Clubs (NYSE:ELY) so he has taste in clubs.

77


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with, essentially, the same talent on the field that Ty had, Weis takes the Irish to a BCS bowl in his first season as coach.

Accurate, and Weis is a fine coach, but he had the talent when it was a year older and with more seasoning, the seasoning they got playing for Willingham. His performance that season doesn't make him a better coach than Willingham.

Mind you, he might prove to be a better coach than Willingham. He was a helluvan OC, and he seems to be able to motivate. But taking Willingham's players to a BCS Bowl doesn't demonstrate him to be superior.
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