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Saban, Kelly lead Bama and ND out of darkness
“I know the dynamics there very well and there’s a lot of people who think you don’t have to do that at Notre Dame. It’s proven now that you do have to do those things.”
Former athletic director Kevin White was the catalyst for many of those changes, but he was also the man who hired George O’Leary, who was caught fibbing on his resume and stepped down, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis. The Weis hiring in 2004 was especially telling.
Notre Dame wanted Urban Meyer, who was then at Utah and the hottest commodity on the coaching market. Meyer worked at Notre Dame under Holtz and had called being Fighting Irish coach his dream job.
And he turned it down to coach Florida because he realized it would be easier to win national championship with the Gators than with the Irish. He won two with Florida in six years.
The Irish hired Weis, the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator who had never been a head coach but did graduate from Notre Dame. He was gone in five years.
This time when Notre Dame went looking for a coach, the hottest candidate on the market was Kelly, who climbed the coaching ladder slowly, winning big every step of the way. The difference was the hottest commodity also wanted Notre Dame, and White’s successor, Jack Swarbrick, scooped him up quickly.
Kelly has continued to push Notre Dame into the 21st century, implementing a training table to make it easier for the players to eat healthy. He pushed for music to be pumped through the PA system at Notre Dame Stadium to rouse a fanbase that over the years had started to sit on its hands.
“It’s flashier,” Davie said. “They are a lot more like everybody else is but that’s what’s making them competitive.”
Now what separates both Notre Dame and Alabama from the competition is their coaches.
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