Almost all analysis points to Hesburgh letting my father go.
This battle between dad & Fr. Ted has been debated and discussed over and over.
My dad did in fact blame Fr. Ted for the change in direction at ND.
One must understand….Dad was a giant in those days and Fr. Ted was a young new President at one of Americas greatest Universities. A clash of the Titans was inevitable.
Dad was 45, Fr. Ted in mid thirties at the time of conflict.
I will say this: For years the relationship was extremely strained if not painful. Fr. Ted did not appreciate dad’s lack of support for Terry Brennan and his outspoken criticism of Notre Dame Football during the down years
Dad would often speak about the program Rock built, and the success Layden had, and how he (dad) was honored to carry on the tradition of the great Rockne, and now Notre Dame had handed it to a High School coach which was a slap in the face of every loyal ND fan and to my dad.
In the end though, as my dad was dying in Lake Oswego, Oregon Fr.Ted spent the last week & a half with dad and the family. The end was captured in Wells Twombleys’ book "Shake Down the Thunder".
In the last days…many tears were shed ( and laughs) by dad & Fr. Ted in the quiet moments of my dads bedroom.
Two immensely proud (yet stubborn) men who realized their mistakes many years ago were able to put the swords down once and for all and put it all behind them.
Fr. Ted for realizing ND football could be strong and accentuate the academics and religious tone of ND..along with maintain a strong football program and my dad apologizing for all the negativity and bad press he brought to ND and Fr. Ted and Terry Brennan long long ago.
All of the Leahy's will always remember Fr.Ted as a leader, a man willing to say he was sorry, and mostly… as a friend and admirer of dad who was willing to be with dad up until the end.
Notre Dame: its history is rich with politics, drama, religious overtones, and internal conflicts (Athletics or Academics) ..Yet strong leadership qualities that reach far outside of football.
The dilemma is complex…. It is football that casts a large shadow across the Notre Dame landscape and its fans and in the public eye…but Academics is also such a strong point and is their moral compass.
So…….Many different views and attitudes to ponder about what took place way back in 1953.
All I know is from my perspective and that of my brothers and sisters ….we are true to the words of the Alma Mater.
Love Thee Notre Dame.
I do. My brothers and sisters do
My dad certainly did.
So did Fr. Ted.