1) If it is not already, power should be centralized in as few hands as possible. Those making the decision to fire and hire a coach should be the AD, the President and maybe a council of a few key, football friendly trustees and maybe a few former players. No one else. No academics, no trustees like Burish or Scully, no ass kissing administrators (looking at you Lou Nanni), no one. All decision run through that small group and no one else. If the Dean of the Liberal Arts has a problem. Tough shit. If one of the non-council trustees has an issue with football becoming too big, tough shit.
2) ND needs to realize that college football ain't cheap. Be prepared to pay a ridiculously high salary to get an elite coach. It doesn't stop there. Be prepared to give your new head coach a ridiculously high budget for assistants as well. Harbaugh is said to be getting a very large assistant coaching budget. ND was the 2nd most profitable college program last year and is often in the Top 5, if not always in the Top 5. They also have a substantial donor list and wealthy alums to step to the plate if ND does what's necessary. So penny pinching and justifying not approaching top level coaches because they'll be too costly and won't fit into the ND philosophy are weak excuses.
3) ND needs to invest in both facilities and their programs. The Gug is decent but even at it's young age, needs to constantly be refreshed to keep up with the elites in college football. And it's not just physical plants that need upgrading. ND needs to beef up their nutrition program as well, for exmaple. As was said a time ago on this board, ND's program is not great by any stretch and when created for Kelly, ND kind of half assed it with an inexperienced person to run the show. Contrast that to say Nebraska, who has a 15+ person sports nutrition department with its own dedicated executive chef. Alabama apparently has a similar set up and even opens its training table to regular students for a fee to get around NCAA rules limiting training table usage.
4) ND needs to again take a long hard look at admissions, specifically JUCOs. ND need not compromise its academic integrity by allowing some well vetted, academic risks into school. They can't tighten the belt every time something bad goes wrong.
ND likes to think they are college football royalty but they act like they are a mid-tier program doing just enough to keep profits coming in but not enough to be a legit, power program.
It's almost embarrassing to them to have to do thinks like pay coaches large salaries and invest millions into things like a football weight room or nutrition program. That the moment they invest fully into ND football is the day they sold their soul.
If ND wants to show up at Playoff Committee meetings and other AD meetings atalking like they are upper crust, then it's time to start acting that way. ND should always strive to have the best coaches, best facilities, best programs money can buy.
A legacy and tradition like ND football deserves it.