People and process: Factors causing ND's peaks and valleys
by ACross (2005-11-09 01:07:26)
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It's easy to ascertain why ND misfires on over half of its coaching hires.

First, and most importantly, it's a direct result of the people involved. Priests don't know anything about football. At least, priests besides Father Joyce, who batted less than .500 as it was (assuming he was responsible for Kuharich).

Second, not only are the wrong people involved, they also use the wrong criteria. Football coaching ability is never the primary concern. It's secondary - or even tertiary. Monk expressed during the last search that "ND doesn't need a great coach to succeed." Which is of course contrary to fact. Only great coaches have succeeded at ND.

Now, it is true that certain of the coaches we have hired before and have succeeded were not recognized as the very pinnacle of their profession, and that slight risks were taken. We never hired a Shula or a Madden or a Lombardi. But no coach who has succeeded at ND had a record of achievement as thin as Tyrone's. We took a flier.

But because we allow priests to run the show, and allow them to consider extraneous things like personality and image, rather than coaching, we bat about .300 in picking coaches. And so we have peaks of performance, interrupted by periods of woeful failure. Rather than steady high achievement demonstrated by our aspirational football peers, like Michigan.

And so it was when Monk got involved, and questioned Gruden's knowledge of residentiality and Catholicity. And so it was when Monk fretted about Majerus' lifestyle. And when Monk set his sights on Tyrone, not because he was the best candidate. But because, in Monk's own words, he believed Tyrone was "the best candidate who was appropriate for Notre Dame" (a verbatim quote from the pres conference in which Monk smugly announced TW's hiring).

So we better learn from history. Allow people who are equipped to conduct a search for a football coach to have unfettered authority to do so, subject only to an up/down vote by the BOT. And give the persons charged with responsibility clear criteria: hire the best football coach who is not patently unfit for the job due to lapses in professional or personal ethics. When judging the quality of candidates, rely heavily (if not solely) on their achievements in big-time football, and the depth and breadth of their experience therein.

Monk hired Davie, O'Leary and TW. All failures. It wasn't bad luck. It was inevitable, given the persons involved (Monk and Beauchamp and Wadsworth; Monk and Hatch and Saracino and White). If he is involved in the process to choose TW's replacement, we should expect the same result.


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