This archived article was written by: Nate Davis
In 2002 Ty Willingham took over as head coach at the University of Notre Dame, his mission was to return the Fighting Irish to their past glory. Three years later with a new head coach; mission accomplished.
This past Saturday the Irish beat a scrappy Stanford team, and will most likely secure a spot in the Bowl Championship Series The Irish are now 9-2, and will probably play in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Much of the success this season is due to Coach Charlie Weis
This season was Weis’ first as head coach of the Irish, and in a season where many people expected Notre Dame to continue in their floundering ways, they flourished. Weis found success with many of the same players Willingham had, but uncovered hidden talent on the team in the form of Jeff Samardzija, who is a leading receiver this season but rarely used when Willingham was at the reigns.
Although the Irish found success under Weis, the foundation was laid by Willingham. He was the one who recruited many of the current Notre Dame stars, and without his recruiting skills, Weis would not have many of the great players that make up the Irish roster. Willingham wasn’t able to find success on the field, and is noted as the only head coach in Notre Dame history to be fired during his first contract agreement, he is also noted as being the only Notre Dame coach to lose five games by 30 or more points.
Weis took over the struggling Notre Dame program in mid December 2004. He started his Notre Dame coaching career against the University of Pittsburgh on September 3, 2005, with a resounding 45-21 win. Since then he hasn’t looked back leading the Irish to a 9-2 season, and their first B.C.S. bowl game in recent memory.
There are also many stories about Charlie Weis’ compassionate side. He visited a dying boy, and asked him if he had any wishes the boy did. The boy’s one wish: to call the first play in the next game. Notre Dame had the ball on their own one yard line, the boy’s family thought Weis would run a different play rather than the risky pass play the boy requested. Quarterback Brady Quinn came to the sidelines and asked Weis what they were going to do. Weis said we have no choice, run the play. Quinn dropped back and completed the pass to tight end Anthony Fasano for a first down. Notre Dame went on to win the game 36-17.
Charlie Weis has turned the Notre Dame football program around, his career at Notre Dame is just begining but if he can produce the numbers that he has this year he will join the likes of Rockne and Holtz.