BASN Classic BlackBox: The Only Job Security At Nortre Dame For Black Coaches Winning

Updated: December 10, 2007

A BASN Classic BlackBox Originally Published:September 24, 2004 THE ONLY JOB SECURITY AT NOTRE DAME FOR BLACK COACHES


Tyrone Willingham


We have it on good authority ( our own ) that after Notre Dame’s first football game of this season lots of Fighting Irish Alumni were besides themselves with Glee. Never had a Notre Dame loss been so welcome to them.

You already know why if you are a regular here. The more ND loses this season the more likely these determined alumni are to get their Christmas wish. Tyrone Willingham’s dismissal as the Dame’s head football coach.

For some influential Alumni Willingham suffers from one very big and permanent Handicap. He’s Black. He’s in the same exact predicament African American candidates for the Heisman, all Black QBs are, coaches, etc., and African American in any attractive position in sports, with rare exceptions, who can’t afford to be ‘only’ as good as their white counterparts, to win acclaim or even simply survive they have to be Better.

How do we know that here in South Bend. Very specific and powerful circumstantial evidence. 1) The Irish never had an African American coach in their very long history before Willingham, 2) he only got the job after an unusual set of circumstances which left them little choice, and 3) most of all after last season, and after only two short seasons as head coach, one a very winning one, the other only modestly successful …..

A bunch of Alumni did what no ND alumni before them had ever done. They circulated a petition demanding that the school replace Willingham.

That’s right after taking over a football program that had been in the toilet for much of the previous decade, and without a national championship for 16 years, long from its Glory days, after 2 short seasons white alumni wanted to kick his Butt off campus.

Even though Willingham so far after taking over a distressed program has an impressive record of 17 wins 11 losses. Does it make any sense he is under Assault. It makes NO sense even less so when you factor in the average number of years, most past ND coaches ran the team. Increasingly into the Ground

And yes of course how did a spokesman for the college administration respond to the Petition ? With derision and disdain. No way. His statement basically told them ” we feel your pain.” A real great way to pull the rug out from under Willingham without bothering to fire him.

So in this environment ( the more cynical not us might say cesspool ) Tyrone Willingham prepared for the 2004 season.

Also keep in mind as Paul Horning pointed out earlier in the year to his eternal detriment, that Notre Dame’s tougher admission policies prevents the football team from recruiting many outstanding high school students who would be drawn to the Dames but rather end up at other Division I colleges with less stringent academic standards.

This boys & girls is Tyrone Willingham’s whacky world right now.

OK let’s finally get down to it and the 2004 season so far and the real reason for the timing of today’s Box, the importance of Notre Dame’s nationally televised game Saturday afternoon, for the Coach.

A win and at home will put the Irish at 3-1 self confident to face the heart of the Schedule, and thinking about riding the Polls. A loss will have them 2-2 come Sunday morning and the talk will become of a losing season and Willingham’s head.

The Irish began the season with a disappointing 20-17 loss against Brigham Young University playing in Provo, Utah. Week 2 their home coming game against Michigan a solid 28-20 victory, and last week away in East Lansing against Michigan State an equally strong 31-24 win.

Which brings us to this Saturday afternoon and Washington in a game that can be seen on NBC at 12:30PM local Indiana time. The Fighting Irish are favored over the Washington Huskies which in Willingham’s Irish world means they had better win.

And if they do it is expected the Dames will finally again break into the Top 25 where they haven’t been since the start of last season. Then it will be the long climb up the Standing the following 7 weekends if they can.

It is going to take a Top 10 finish to quell Tyrone’s determined Critics which means he probably can’t afford more than one more loss, 2 more at the very most this season. Even though you might logically think if the Irish go 7-4 and finish anywhere in the Top 25 that would be a Good Season.

Not here. Not for Tyrone Willingham. Although arguably it would be a real big stretch for Notre Dame to dismiss him were the team to “only” go 7-4 which would bring his 3 year record to 22-14.

On the other hand the blood thirsty Alumni are out there waiting in Ambush. You can tell them apart. They are the Ones with all the money and the influence. The Swaggering Irish.

Who worship the Green.

Color them White.

Counter them by

Cheering Willingham

to Victory

All season long.

Starting this Saturday.

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….

Notre Dame