In reply to: it was obvious that he was a good coach while at MSU * posted by brnd
At the time he left MSU, he had 6 total years of head coaching experience (5 at MSU, 1 at Toledo). It was far from obvious at that point that he would be an all-time great. Keep in mind that at MSU he was dealing with scholarship reductions leftover from Perles until his final season.
Of course, within 2 years he won the SEC at LSU, and in 4 years won the National Championship. I recall his name being mentioned in the 2nd tier of candidates during the post-Davie searches. While he would have been preferential to Ty at the time, I think that based on existing evidence in December of 2001, O'Leary would have been considered the more solid hire. I have also heard rumors that Monk nixed a potential Saban hire in favor of Ty during the 2nd search in December of 2001.
Either way, by the time Alabama hired him, he had 11 years of D-1A head coaching experience, 10 years of major conference experience, and an additional 2 years of NFL head coaching experience. A more experienced, more seasoned, and likely more skilled coach than the one who left East Lansing for Baton Rouge in 1999.
As I understand it. ND had Gruden all but wrapped up BEFORE O'Leary but Monk nixed it fearing a "cult of personality". There is a story that Gruden told Callahan, "Pack your bags. We're going to South Bend." before Monk intervened.
White went back to Gruden after the O'Leary debacle. Monk really wanted Ty all along. Gruden pretty much told White to pound sand because "the priest screwed it up." At that point, Monk basically told White who to hire.
...David Haugh in the South Bend Tribune. That archive is no longer available, but I believe was reported in the run-up to the Gruden vs. Callahan Super Bowl.
Regarding Monk - fuck him.
Monk was heading out of the country for a trip and refused to consider any candidate other than those previously interviewed which severely limited the search. It made Willingham one of the only candidates left.