With the Irish playing Georgia Tech this week, it brings back many memories.
Rudy got to play for the Irish against Georgia Tech way back in the 1970s.
George O’Leary was the Georgia Tech coach once and then he was once the Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach. Yes, that was for about 5 minutes, or he may have lasted 5 days.
It’s really too bad. If he had been the Notre Dame coach I truly believe the Irish would have won a few more national titles.
I am totally serious.
I am a fun loving guy that loves to kid around, but I am not kidding about this. I think George O’Leary is an outstanding coach, and many would agree with that.
The Irish struggled under Bob Davie after Lou Holtz retired. Davie had gone 5-6 his last season at Notre Dame. The Irish hired George O’Leary.
An Irishman to coach the Irish and he had done really well at Georgia Tech.
O’Leary was forced to resign and instead of his excellent coaching skills, the Irish hired Tyrone Willingham away from Stanford.
All looked great after Willingham took a 5-6 team and coached them to a 10-2 record. They missed with O’Leary, but seemingly hit it out of the park with Willingham.
Not so fast as ESPN’s Lee Corso loves to say, and that’s my favorite thing about Corso.
Willingham guided the Irish to a very disappointing 5 and 7 record his second season and then 6-6 the next season and he was gone.
The Fighting Irish turned to Charlie Weiss in 2005 and Weiss went 9-3 his first season similar to Willingham. The following season in 2006, the Irish were 10-3 and Weiss was on top of the world. Well, they were almost on top of it.
Signs of danger were a 26 point loss to Michigan early on. Then, in their last game they got another big whipping at the hands of dreaded foe USC 24 to 44. A 20 point loss to the Trojans of USC is unacceptable.
In the Sugar Bowl, LSU further exposed the Irish with a 14 to 41 spanking.
The 2007 college football season saw the Irish tumble to an embarrassing 3-9 season. Their opening game was a huge 3 to 33 loss to Georgia Tech. Notre Dame was practically helpless with two 0 to 38 losses against old rivals Michigan and USC.
Somehow, the Irish decided to bring Charlies Weiss back and he rewarded them with a 7-6 record. Somehow, I don’t think Willingham had the same chances, but everyone mistakenly thought Charlie Weiss was some type of genius.
Instead of continuing on the upswing of the 2008 season, the Irish finished 2009 at 6-6.
That was finally enough and the Fighting Irish got rid of Weiss and brought in Brian Kelly from Cincinnati.
The Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weiss eras could have been avoided if only George O’Leary hadn’t lied about his own history.
Supposedly, O’Leary claimed to have earned 3 letters at the University of New Hampshire. However, when checking up on details, New Hampshire denied that he had even played in a single game while he supposedly lettered.
Then, the bigger lie came to the surface. He claimed to have a master’s degree which he lied about early on in his career in an obvious attempt at Resume Padding.
O’Leary was forced to resign and egg was all over the head of the Fighting Irish and all over George O’Leary. It was a national embarrassment.
George O’Leary went to the NFL as an assistant for a couple of years and things kind of blew over. Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice hired O’Leary mostly because Tice played for O’Leary in high school.
O’Leary improved the Viking defense dramatically when he was named Defensive Coordinator.
Say what you want, but the man can coach.
He left the Vikings to take the job at the University of Central Florida where he immediately took them to an unimpressive 0-11 record placing egg all over my head for claiming he is a great coach.
But, that horrible season did not last long. The Knights of UCF bounced back in season two under O’Leary and managed an 8-4 record and they won the Conference USA East.
The Knights have been up and down since that season, but they have had some good seasons highlighted by a 12-1 2013 team which was Quarterbacked by 1st round draft pick Blake Bortles.
I can’t speak of Irish fans, or anyone else, but I have to wonder what could have happened in South Bend if George O’Leary had not lied to pad his resume years ago.
Maybe the Irish could have won several national titles, or maybe O’Leary would have been fired way back about the time that Tyrone Willingham was sent packing.
We will never know for sure, but I believe George O’Leary would have knocked it out of the park at Notre Dame.