Racial Bias and Willingham

I’m biased.

I know this because I publicly came out in support of Tyrone Willingham when he was hired by Notre Dame, noting on this site that the color of his skin would be both good for the program and good for minorities in coaching.

Color made a difference to me in the way I thought about future performance on the job and in image. And in a profession overwhelmingly controlled by white males coaching black athletes, I genuinely thought that Willingham might be a leader who would open doors and change what I viewed (and view) as a backward dynamic. I bought into the vision that Willingham was a boundary breaking hire.

I was wrong.

I now think Willingham is a detrimental force to the cause he no doubt deeply believes in.

When Willingham publicly decried the lack of head coaching jobs for black Americans this past weekend, he made an irrefutable point… that something in the system is broken. Willingham further points to the good ol’ boy network as a culprit, which would appear to have validity in my opinion. “You’ve got to explain the numbers,” said Willingham. “There’s more than one answer. But it’s alive and well in certain places, yes.”

He should be pointing the finger in the mirror.

Willingham has done as much to hurt the cause of minority coaches as any single coach in recent memory. I would argue that he’s created new minority roadblocks others must now overcome and in some respects, Willingham closed far more doors than he opened… if he opened any to begin with.

Let me explain my beliefs and my frustrations. The stepping stone to a head coaching position is a coordinator position. Now granted, Willingham skipped this step on his way to the head coaching position at Stanford, but being a coordinator is almost a prerequisite to the head coaching position (note that it certainly doesn’t guarantee success.)

Yet in his six years at Notre Dame and Washington, Willingham has hired exactly zero minority coordinators.

Zero.

Zero into the position that is the stepping stone to the head coaching chair. In contrast, since Willingham left, Notre Dame filled both of its coordinator positions with black coaches. Now, I’m not saying that Corwin Brown or Mike Haywood were hired for their color, but their positions at Notre Dame will make them prime candidates to step into the head chair at another school. In contrast, IN SIX YEARS, Willingham couldn’t find one minority worthy of being his second?

There would have been no better way to further the cause of minority coaches than by the notoriety gained by being a coordinator at Notre Dame. I don’t know what the minority pool looks like for Head Coaches, but theoretically you would think there has to be a bigger pool to choose from when hiring for a coordinator position. Yet, Tyrone Willingham hired whites for those key positions… again, the ones that make up the pool for the next head coaching ranks.

But his worst transgression, by far, was legitimizing the idea that it’s okay to blame racism without cause for personal failures.

Willingham was given the biggest stage in the college football world and failed. There’s no loss of dignity in failure. There is great loss of dignity in blaming racism without cause or proof. And worse, he did it the coward’s way, by not challenging charges of racism in the press that he knew had no factual support even when put on the spot by John Saunders, all while banking millions from Notre Dame with the knowledge that he had already contacted the University of Washington about leaving Notre Dame. Which, by the way, is grounds for firing with cause (read, no buyout.)

And be clear on this, Notre Dame Fans wanted Willingham to succeed.

We needed to him to succeed.

We were, in fact, desperate for him to succeed.

But when wins and recruiting nose dived simultaneously while Willingham talked in sweeping platitudes about nothing and perfected his lob wedge, those of us who followed the program closely knew Notre Dame was on the precipice of a virtual death penalty.

Willingham, despite one very good class, was considered a lazy recruiter (as noted in the Chicago Tribune) who was letting the program rot from underneath. The results of which we were treated to on the field this last year (Willingham’s last two classes were the juniors and seniors.) Don’t get me wrong, he was a great recruiter when he got into a family’s living room, but unlike Weis, Willingham expected the talent to come to him. It didn’t. Turns out, even at Notre Dame, you have to work for it.

But this isn’t just one data point. Willingham’s pattern of blame has continued at Washington. Last year Willingham’s job was all but over after Washington President Mark Emmert had decided to go in a new direction. Again, Willingham, without having to do the dirty work himself played the race card. Athletic Director Todd Turner intervened, lining up power brokers while James Bible, president of the Seattle-King County NAACP requested a meeting with Emmert to discuss “the value of Coach Willingham to this community.”

The Turner/Willingham end around forced Emmert’s hand.

Willingham won again, but the subversive actions of Turner in support of Willingham, reportedly cost him his job.

And at what cost to other aspiring black coaches?

If you can’t fire a black head coach with cause (and an enormous) payday, than what signal does that send to other schools who might hire a minority head coach?

I’ll answer.

To a school it means you may not be able to fire him when you want to despite performance on the field. And that equates to a much riskier long term hire, which tilts the scale away from prospective black head coaches.

I know this because “fireability” is a key employment proposition at every major company. It’s the very reason many companies won’t do business in Spain and France, because changing out talent mistakes becomes incredibly costly. But in college football, it’s not just cost which is prohibitive, but also the negative publicity that comes with firing a minority head coach. And Willingham’s passive aggressive tacit approval of racial attacks on Notre Dame showed everyone how painful a process that can be. It would have been far more beneficial to those who came after him to refute unfounded charges rather that tacitely and cowardly advancing them without the benefit of proof.

So if you’re an AD on the sideline you’re thinking, “Do I need this headache? I just want a winning team.”

Not only isn’t Willingham filling the minority pipeline with potential head coaching candidates, he’s created a giant hurdle for others like him by selfishly protecting his own reputation and job.

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29 Responses to “Racial Bias and Willingham”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Did Willingham hire minority coordinators at Stanford?

  2. irish067 Says:

    Willianham had to white coordinators, Bill Dietrick and Kent Baer. They followed him to Notre Dame and only Baer went to washington with Willingham. Dietrich was so bad Washington would not let him coach at Washington. Talk about a coaching staff who could not develop talent

  3. Hoss Says:

    Making hiring decisions based on skin color is discrimination. Period. The whining that it’s okay to promote marginally qualified black men over more qualified white men in the name of diversity and social justice is antithetical to the American system of meritocracy. Yes, the good old boy system may zero some of the merit system out, or does it. Is the good old boy a system set-up to exclude, or is it a system that has people hiring other people they are familiar with in terms of work ethic, work history, loyalty, etc. How many black kids are trying to get graduate positions so that they can work the network and get some invaluable experience. Gotta pay your dues, and I’m not saying they’re not, just curious as to what it’s looking like out there.

    Otherwise, our feeble attempts at affirmative action to ease white-guilt results in people like Willingham being put in positions they are ill-qualified to succeed in in the long-term. He’s set up for failure like the kid who gets into MIT when he should be going to a school that’s less challenging.

    And one more thing, I find the whole “well, there are a lot of black kids playing football,why not a lot of black coaches” question absurd. Using that logic, we can ask why there aren’t more white kids as a percentage playing college sports than are currently playing? Does it have to do with merit: are they a victim of an institutional belief that black athletes are superior to white athletes and unjustly denied opportunity and scholarships; or, has independent judgement deemed that a higher persentage of black kids will succeed at the collegiate athletic level. You can’t have it both ways.

    Just sayin’.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Great points! Rock, unlike you, I was against Willingham’s hire from the beginning. I looked at his record at Stanford and couldn’t believe we fire a man for his on field won-loss record and hired a man with less of a record than the man we fired. Of course, Willingham supporters said it was harder to win at Stanford. So, I checked the coaches prior to Willingham and saw several with winning records. So, to me, the “Stanford excuse” didn’t make sense.

    I agree with your points that Willingham might have set back the hiring of minorities. One main reason is the fact that it does appear harder to fire a minority (because of the Willingham fiasco at Washington and Notre Dame being lamblasted as being racist over his firing) and Universities might not want that pressure.

    To me, the race issue all comes down to honesty. Honesty in both hiring and firing. I don’t think Willingham was qualified to coach at Notre Dame. I believe he was hired because of his race. Notre Dame, for its’ part, thought it was paving the way for more minorities being hired. The mistake was giving the wrong minority the chance. Secondly, as far as firing is concerned? We will all know we have reached a more equitable situation regarding race when a minority can be fired, strictly on his or her performance, and race is never brought into it.

    –Granger Irish

  5. jim / Redondo Beach Says:

    …willingham has lost 7 out of 10 games he’s coached at UW and been dead last in the Pac-10 for the three years he’s been there…yet his supporters/apologists in Seattle seem to equate willingham with some need for delayed gratification and are willing to accept mediocrity at a once proud football school. I only wish that willingham had never darkened the history of ND sports. The man is a charlatan who’s next stop will be Sacramento State…if he’s lucky…

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Can we put the Willingham fruad to rest theres nothing more to be proven or said he’s not a good coach ,he looking for handouts and he should be ignored!It’s time to focus on the Coaches Black or white,Hispanic etc. that put in the work and has paid their dues to be that next coach,I’m a black man with four boys and I dont pretend to be a good father ,I earned the title of a Good Father.GO IRISH!!!!!!

  7. jim / Redondo Beach Says:

    …no…we can’t/won’t…willingham has continued his fraud at the University of Washington (“winning %= .300)…and should be castigated at every opportunity…consider it a public service!…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    But the question that wasn’t raised was if it was more difficult for minority coaches to hire minority coordinators (all assuming the most qualified for all roles) due to potential racial backlash. Not saying it is a reason or justification, but given what we’re seeing in some parts of the country in the elections, not to far of a step to think it would be an issue for a coach. Just a thought.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Let’s turn the page on Coach Willingham. He does seem like a good person an average but not a great football Coach.

    Why keep bringing this up. Perhaps Kevin White will leave for the confines of the Pac 10 as Comish and Notre Dame can get a top flight more intuned Notre Dame old school AD who can revamp the Football and Basketball programs and scedules instead of dumbing them down and weak sucking them out with San Diego State,Nevada,BYU,Army,UCONN,Rutgers. Put Alabama,LSU,UCLA,Ohio State and such back on

    Go Irish, Go to the PAC 10 where you belong Kevin White

  10. Granger Irish Says:

    I keep hearing Willingham is a good person. This is usually used to offset his mediocre coaching ability. I am going to be different here. How is he a good person? What has he done? It seems to me that, by allowing the media to run their mouths all over Notre Dame and call them racists while he stood by and didn’t say a word is contrary to the “good person” theory. In my book, he needs to do more to be called, constantly, a “good person”.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Why are we on Willingham again? Did something just happen in the news? Let Willingham go, man, this has become a tired old story. We all know he was a terrible coach, you don’t need to defend anything to the people who read this site.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I think Willingham has been privately “coaching” Obama.
    That is, anytime someone attacks one of Obama’s far-left positions or one of his far-left friends or spiritual advisors, Obama claims or insinuates that the speaker must be a racist. He used that tactic very effectively against Mrs. Clinton. Obama, like Willingham, does not want to compete on a level playing field.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    this previous comment is just more right wing garbage. its racist and you are a malcontent if you believe that. he never once inferred clinton was racist yet she kept tying him to islam even though he is clearly christian. in any point stick to football.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Stop talking about race. Your story comes down to being ignorantly racist. It is obvious that you do not merit any credentials to talk about race. You however, have the credentials to be an Irish fan. Stick to talking about Irish football and leave the Willingham race story behind. You are just exacerbating the issue. The arguments you are giving are not well formed and definitely not enlightening. Your stance is wrong, your views are wrong, and when you continue to write about it, it shows that you have done nothing but held on to your preconceived notions and done nothing to expand your understanding on race. Just stop writing about it, please!!!

    p.s. Hoss, your definately not an ignorant racist, but one who has taken great measure in becoming a full-blown racist.

  15. Scranton Dave Says:

    Rock, thats the best blog you posted yet and you have posted some good ones. You hit it right on the head, and most of the intelligent people in the media would agree with you, but cant say anything like that for fear of cries of racism and discrimination. its the John Saunders and Mark Mays of the world with agendas that they dont probably fully believe that ruins it for everyone. Great job !!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    …about damn time…

    Well stated, Rock.

    Too bad these points weren’t circulated better when this matter was fresh on peoples’ minds. I can’t tell you how many times and in how many contexts, Notre Dame has been unfairly labeled racist due to the W’ham termination.

    Rather than shoving the issue (and by extionson, this article) under the rug, I’d suggest that your readers bookmark this article, and provide a link to it, whenever the W’ham/ND matter pokes its ugly head up in other forums. Hell, circulate it generously!

    IMO, the silent “fortress ND” tactic, has been a public relations disaster for Notre Dame. They (y’all) should’ve gone on the offensive long ago. Sitting tacitly by, allowing others to characterize what happened and why, in your own house…may as well let them talk about your moms while they’re at it!

    My $.02.

    ’92 Gator

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I am an ND hater (and I’ll be open about it) who received this as a link from a friend who’s an ND grad. I’m not going to try to start WWIII here and blast you since it would be pointless bickering. I am ALSO a diehard UW fan who is white and has defended Willingham to a point here at UW. I’m not blind to the missteps, but I was (and still am) willing to let the first two seasons not count. Why? The program Ty took over was beyond death with the whole Neuhesiel fiasco and Keith Gilbertson’s pathetic recruting in the interim. I also think Slick Rick is VASTLY overrated as a recruiter, and if you check his records you will see what I mean. Back to the point, though; this is really a dead issue for everyone EXCEPT Notre Dame! Wake up folks! You are defending yourself to yourselves and a deaf national audience. I still believe (and always will, sorry) that the firing was racially motivated, not completely but it was a major factor. I think the other problem is that you (or most of the ND nation) were looking for another Lou Holtz-type sycophant who would worship at the Golden Dome and all it’s lore; that isn’t who he is or was. He’s a football coach, but not the cheerleading kind. Let’s be honest; most all of your coaches in your school’s history have been that.

    I’m not going to restate the reasons for my opinion (I could but again, I think it’s kind of a time-waster for you) but reiterate my point; just forget it. There are people who hate you and your school and always will, and a few more in addition who think you fired a coach because he’s a black man. The rest of the world has pretty much moved on, you guys should let it go. The only people you’re explaining it to is yourselves. Just telling you this to help, not hate

    PS if you want to spew hate-mail you can get me at pbdollarsign@yahoo.com. Won’t bother me at all

  18. Anonymous Says:

    It’s always so politically correct to bemoan the lack of black head coaches, but it’s racist to say we need more white tailbacks and cornerbacks. The logic being that since there’s a preponderance of black players, it’s only fair to have more black coaches. But this can be reversed to argue that there should be more white players overall due to a majority of white coaches.

    This racial double standard should dismay and offend any reasonable person, but then again ND has recently come out in favor of amnesty (under the guise of “immigration reform”) so we shouldn’t expect any different from their graduates on the subject of black head coaches.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I can’t tell if the previous comment is meant to be satirical or literal. If literal, it may be the stupidest argument ever. It’s not about “political correctness” that people argue for more black head coaches across the board, or about the fact that many of the athletes are black.

    For years black football players were prevented from playing certain positions on the football field, namely Quarterback, Center and Middle Linebcaker. The reasoning was that they lacked the mental capability to lead, and these were (and are) traditionally the positions of leadership on the field. This was prevalent in both college and the pros. There’s nothing to do with political correctness in this argument; if you’re going to stereotype an entire group of people as unable to lead because of their skin color, you’re a racist. If you didn’t know it already, I’m glad to inform you in your ignorance.

    The argument for more black head coaches is that there are plenty of black football coaches who possess all the skills necessary to lead a college football program. Even with those skills, they are not often getting the chance to prove themselves. The “politically correct” argument by the previous poster claiming it’s about ratio of players to coaches is beyond asinine! Athletes are brought in because of physical gifts they have, not about skin color. If there aren’t enough white corners or running backs maybe it’s because they aren’t performing as well…? Think that might make more sense? Black head coaches argue for more chances for new black head coaches because they know there are more than a few white coaches getting jobs who aren’t as qualified to lead. THAT argument is one that makes sense…

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Urban Meyer went from WR coach to head coach

  21. Anonymous Says:

    There was nothing figurative about my comments. Further, it was the author of “The Rock Report” that advanced the argument of more black head coaches in the interest of an illusory fairness and to mollify the majority black player/athlete.

    It’s funny how people like you claim that blacks are generally better football players than whites and at the same time equal to, or better than, their white peers in the coaching ranks, yet have the temerity to label others who hold a dissenting viewpoint “racist” and worse. The fact that whites are more numerous as head coaches is somehow evidence of evil doing and “the good old boy network” while the numerical superiority of black players is explained by better athletic performance. That’s a very hypocritical position that borders on outright black supremacy. By your logic, then, white coaches are more talented than black coaches since there are more of them and universities prefer hiring them.

    Why is it that only the interests of black players and coaches that should matter? If under representation connotes discrimination, then, white players are just as much victims of an unfair system as are black coaches.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    ND Hater (UW Husky Fan):

    Of course you want ND Fan to shut up about the issue; the “verdict” (in the court of public opinion) is in; Notre Dame is racist.

    Thank you for confirming my point: The “verdict” needs to be set aside, and can only be done so by challenging it. The “verdict” never would have been rendered against Notre Dame in the first place, had Kevin White and ND’s president (his name elludes me right now–I believe they were in transition) defended Notre Dame properly at the time.

    My recollection of the treatment of the whole fiasco, was ND’s leadership being very meek, even apologetic and “kiss ass” in front of their PC friends and colleagues.

    Your blind, blanket, broad-brush allegations of racial motivation would not stand scrutiny, and had the evidence been properly reviewed in context, and again, in the court of public opinion, I’m confident that the truth would not only undermine the “racist” theory, but would serve to show just how justified ND was in canning W’ham. Unfortunately, ND’s leadership cowardly attempted to bury the issue, and to create separation from the decision to stop the bleeding–‘er, cut W’ham loose.

    Would you like to know what was really behind Ty’s “premature’ termination (if we can even characterize it as premature)? I’ll give you a hint: the answer is related to my handle, and was previously mentioned in prior commment. That, combined with a prolonged stretch of “DavieHam” futility…will give you the answer to the riddle–which will definitively rule out that his termination was racially motivated, or that it had absolutely anything at all to do with the color of W’ham’s skin.

    …but then it’s much more fun to sling mud at Notre Dame, based on a superficial analysis spoon fed to you by the mainstream media, than it is to dig beneath the surface, and negotiate a pesky little obstacle like the truth, right?

    (…yeah, let’s not open this one again…the “troof” might just leak out…)

    So let me turn the tables on you, since the racist allegation was never even challenged in the first place:

    Other than the fact that W’ham is black, what other evidence can you point to, to show that his termination was racially motivated?

    Patiently waiting…

    ’92 Gator

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Correction to above:

    Sorry; I forgot, I don’t use a “handle” in this blog, just a psudonym.

    ’92 Gator

  24. Hulk Says:

    1) ND hater is right that we need to stop defending the firing of Ty Willingham. Enough years have gone by that nobody wants to hear it anymore.

    2) To say ND fired Ty on even a somewhat racial basis, why did they hire him in the first place?

    3) Notoriety is the same as infamy, so we wouldn’t want any coordinators at ND to gain notoriety. Just sayin…

  25. hulk Says:

    Furthermore, consider that African Americans age 25 or higher with a bachelor’s degree or higher (considered necessary for a head coaching position) make up 0.5% of the American population.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I am the UW fan (ND hater) and responding as best I can to questions brought by ’92 Gator; some I feel I have a very firm grasp on and one I am not following. Before getting to that though, I wasn’t trying to angrily tell you all to shut up about the racist argument but rather stating that it is a pointless argument. I’m encouraging you to drop it, since no one else cares anymore except ND fans. Nothing in anger or frustration, just stating what is pretty much accepted as fact 4 years later.

    The assertion I don’t understand is how the ’92 Gators relate to this, or what prior comment relates to it. The ONLY thing I am guessing at is the criticism of W’ham playing too much golf or something, which I will admit I am somewhat ignorant of (though not entirely) and don’t put much merit behind it. If that’s what you’re getting at, feel free to enlighten me (here or at my previously posted email, I don’t plan to check this thing forever).

    The “blind, blanket” accusations I am making are not that at all. In your last post, you actually DO help make part of my argument in a backward way by tying Willingham and Davie together. Willingham had nothing to do with Davie’s tenure and should not have been made to suffer an early termination because of Bob Davie’s poor performance.

    Willingham is not the first coach to struggle at ND, although being fired 2 years after taking them to a 10-2 regular season record and the Gator Bowl when most everyone gave him only a good shot at a .500 season that year…that raises eyebrows. In addition, though he wasn’t allowed to coach the team he did lead them to a bowl game in his final season. That’s 2 bowl games in 3 years, which may seem low for ND but considering what he inherited was not failure.

    My two biggest arguments against you are Gerry Faust and Bob Davie, though I did research some other coaches at ND and some others could rightly be cited, but they are the two most recent coaches who fit the bill. ND signs it coaches to an initial 5-year contract, that is a tradition they have had for some time. Willingham, along with Joe Kuharich, was the only coach to not be allowed to finish out his contract, and Kuharich even got a fourth year despite a lousy .425 winning percentage in his FOUR years. Willingham was fired with a winning record, a winning percentage equal to Davie’s and higher than Faust’s. Faust went to 2 bowl games in five years and won only one; Davie went to three bowl games and won zero. Willingham was the first coach to win 10 games in his first year and (if not for Davie) would’ve been the first to take his team to a bowl in his first year. Are those such low credentials that he deserved an early axe?

    I will say this in all honesty; while I do think race played a factor, I don’t believe it was the only one. I think more of it had to do with personality, and I still find ND in the wrong here. Faust and Davie were Ra-Ra types who lived for the lore of Notre Dame, for Knute Rockne and Touchdown Jesus (one more reason I find the place sickening, talk about sacrilege) and all the other stories that ND fans love to relive. Willingham is not a cheerleader type, he’s about organization, discpline and execution and not an excitable sideline guy. I do coach athletes at the High School level and I am of a different temperament. I’m excitable (understatement)…but I can appreciate Willingham’s style and understand it. I personally think that ND loathed him because they wanted another Lou Holtz, someone to channel Rockne in the locker room, and what they hired was a black Bill Walsh clone. I’m not equating Ty and Walsh on the same level strategically (not close) but on the personality side; Walsh was a quietly confident coach, not at all demonstrative on the sidelines. Notre Dame would’ve had a demonstrative guy with George O’Leary, but he made everyone there look foolish. Even after Ty’s firing, ND was left with egg on their face in the pursuit of Urban Meyer; now apparently you like to sling mud at his tactics down at Florida (ND fans like to sling mud, not Gator fans). You got your brash arrogant fat boy in Cheeseburger Charlie, and you’re loving him through it all; I can’t stand him, but if you’re happy with him that’s your choice.

    I will say that I don’t think the firing was inherently racist, but it WAS inherently about personality. And being that Willingham is a black man and not afraid to embrace that fact, that is part of his personality and therefore raises the question. Willingham never played the race card, and even if it wasn’t about race his firing was unjust. He did not receive the chance to develop his players (although believe me, we out here in Husky land understand the loathing for Kent Baer. That guy sucks!) and look at what those players did for you! Don’t give that to Weis and then blame this past year on Ty, that is beyond low.

    For the record, I said before that I was a supporter of Ty to a point. That point is this year, and in order to remain as HC at UW he needs to finish in the PAC-10 top 4 and win a bowl game. That is my arbitrary level of success, but I think that is the minimum he must achieve to remain. Jake Locker is the real deal, and with a new D this year that is supposed to be vastly improved the Huskies should be able to reach that plateau. Who besides UW should be in the top? USC is a no brainer, then UCLA (Neuweasel does well with inherited players) and after that it’s a crapshoot (my money’s on ASU with Erickson’s crooks).

    Anyway, if you wanna debate more feel free to email me 😉

  27. Anonymous Says:

    ND Hater (UW Husky Fan):

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply (other than the “Fat Boy Cheeseburger Charlie” remark, which-well, let’s just say it deviated from the civility in the rest of your post–I’ll simply ignore that).

    In in the interest of time, I’ll just hit a couple of your points:

    “…how the ’92 Gators relate to this…”

    They don’t. I am a UF alumnus, who graduated in ’92. Besides that, I’m just a CFB fan who appreciates what Notre Dame means to CFB.
    ___________________________________
    “…tying Willingham and Davie together. Willingham had nothing to do with Davie’s tenure and should not have been made to suffer an early termination because of Bob Davie’s poor performance…”

    First, I do not claim originality in tying the two (“Davieham”)together; I got this from ND alumni friends–it is almost cliche around ND circles; go ahead and google it.

    Second, for better or for worse, Davie’s tenure had a lot to do with W’ham’s–it virtually eliminated his margin of error, by wearing down ND Nation’s patience.

    It also provides context:

    What was he brought it to do? What was he doing?
    What wasn’t he doing?

    W’ham was brought in to bring Notre Dame back to relevance; sure it appeared he was well on his way after first season, but then the wheels just kinda’ fell off; ND stopped being competitive with the big boys, on his clock. Instead of deviating from Bob Davie’s standards, he continued them (hence Davieham).

    What was he doing? By most accounts, as you alluded to in your post–playing a lot of golf.

    What wasn’t he doing? Meaningfully addressing ND’s grotesquely apparent deficiencies on the field (includig recruiting).

    So if W’ham thought that Davie redefined Notre Dame coaching–he was obviously mistaken. Davie simply consumed both of their combined margins of error.
    __________________________________

    “…I will say that I don’t think the firing was inherently racist, but it WAS inherently about personality. And being that Willingham is a black man and not afraid to embrace that fact, that is part of his personality and therefore raises the question. Willingham never played the race card, and even if it wasn’t about race his firing was unjust….”

    Alright, so you at least you concede that it wasn’t inherently racist.

    Now, let’s see what kind of a job you did in developing that it was even remotely racist: YOU attribute
    his personality to his race, then attribute his termination to his personality–which, according to you, is a function of his race.

    Not very convincing.

    In fact, it makes you sound more racist than Notre Dame–and as you so astutely picked up, this is coming from a ’92 graduate UF Gator–hardly a ND mouthpiece (although frankly I’m doing a better job of it than the ND leadership did at the time, but I digress…).

    What’s more, it’s not accurate at all. W’ham was very learned, articulate, and educated. A very accomplished speaker. ND Administration’s wet dream. A FB coach who spoke like a Harvard law professor. So I’ll have to respectfully disagree; it wasn’t his lack of charm at all.
    _________________________________
    The winning percentages and the notorious 5 year contract which you touched on–taken alone, and in isolation without any other mitigating circumstances or context, suggest a deviation from the norm, which could be (and obviously was, in the MSM) used to buttress the allegation that his termination was racially motivated.

    …but you don’t get to pick and choose what happened, and what didn’t. You don’t get to define the context for your own convenience.

    We’ve already developed the extension of Davie-esque mediocrity; now let’s get to the heart of the matter, which you touched on, and to which I alluded to in my prior post–the true motivation that determined WHEN W’ham was terminated (as it was already almost a forgone conclusion that his contract would not be renewed):

    Urban Meyer. 12-0 with the lowly Utah Utes. Woody Hayes pedigreed; He coached at ND; he had a ND out clause in his Utah contract; my beloved alma mater was making a not-so-well-kept secret run at him; he was and remains quite clearly, a unique, rare, and highly desirable coach–the kind of guy you clear the decks for…the kind of guy you pass on Steve Spurrier for…the kind of guy you can your current coach for…

    My beloved alma mater did it…

    …so did Notre Dame.

    Not due to W’ham’s race, or even his personality; he simply wasn’t doing what they hired him to do, and there was a guy who they believed could do it.

    Merits, plain and simple; not race.

    The truth.

    ’92 Gator

  28. Anonymous Says:

    UW/nd hater:

    Seems I’ve given ol’ Ty more credentials than he’s earned.
    (Such treatment must be reserved for Coach O’Leary)… I somehow recalled him having some paper. Seems he’s just a HS grad, not college. He only coached at Stanford. My bad.

    …though I stand by the assertion that he is known as an intelligent speaker, and commands respect when he speaks. So the gist of that point stands, in terms of personality.

    ’92 Gator

  29. Mark Schafer Says:

    George Will today, writing not about Ty Willingham, but the idea is apt:

    “When, in 1975, Frank Robinson became major league baseball’s first African American manager, with the Cleveland Indians, that was an important milestone. But an even more important one came two years later, when the Indians fired him. That was real equality: Losing one’s job is part of the job description of major league managers, because sacking the manager is one of the few changes a floundering team can make immediately. So, in a sense, Robinson had not really arrived until he was told to leave. Then he was just like hundreds of managers before him.”

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