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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Resurgence of the Irish

Don’t look now, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are back in the limelight of major college football.

It’s been some years now since the Jesuit university in South Bend, Indiana has started the season with a record of 3-0. The most recent conquest of Notre Dame was the Michigan Wolverines, a college football powerhouse that was ranked in the top ten of most college football polls, in an entertaining 25-23 game.

What’s the big deal? Well, if one considers the illustrious history of Notre Dame on the gridiron, the impressive start perhaps signifies the return from the odious land of mediocrity that that Notre Dame has inhabited for the last half dozen years or so.

Since the departure of coach Lou Holtz, the Irish have had seasons that would not make anyone in the world of college football take notice. Except the Irish have the most storied college football program. When Notre Dame culminates a record of 7-5 or 6-6, fans of the team across the country heap extensive criticism on the players, coaches, and the university. After all, Notre Dame has produced countless players for the National Football League, including Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Joe Theisman, and Paul Hornung.

The revival of the downtrodden program is marked foremost by the first year head coach, Tyrone Willingham. The story of his hiring is one well documented by fans and haters alike. After Holtz left South Bend, the program turned to offensive coordinator Bob Davie to continue the tradition established by those before him. However, Davie could do little to bring his team success and accolades.

Most devoted followers welcomed Davie’s dismissal and the program turned to former Georgia Tech head coach, George O’Leary, to resuscitate the football spirit that had lain dormant for a few years. However, scandal soon followed as it was discovered that O’Leary had lied on his resume, claiming to have lettered at the University of New Hampshire as a football player. O’Leary was sent packing before he ever had the chance to roam the sidelines in South Bend.

With shame hanging over the university, administrators looked nearly 2000 miles away, Palo Alto, California, for its next head coach: Willingham. What makes the hiring of Willingham note worthy is that he is an African-American. Few blacks hold the reins of Division I football

About the Contributor
Jason Campos served as The Mass Media staff for the following years and positions: Editor-in-Chief: 2003-2004; Managing Editor: 2002-2003; and Sports Editor: 2001-2002, 2002-2003, 2003-2004 Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.