Monday Briefing: The Coaches

Notre Dame's opposing head coaches run the gamut in terms of experience, success, and expectations entering 2012.

One is a former national champion. Four others have guided their current programs to BCS Bowl appearances. There's a rookie, five that are veterans of at least five seasons at their current schools, with a trio of others entering their second seasons at the helm.

Combined they're just 8-14 vs. Notre Dame in their head coaching tenures with just two yet to face the Irish. Meet the opposing head coaches ready to game plan for the Irish in 2012, in order of appearance:

Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: Boasts a 2-2 record vs. Notre Dame as Navy's head man since taking over for the program's recent architect, Paul Johnson. Niumatalolo enters his fifth season at the Academy with a 32-21 record, one sullied a bit by last year's 5-win fall from grace (Navy had won 8, 10 and 9 in his first three seasons, respectively). He's 1-2 in Bowl Games including a 2009 bludgeoning of Missouri.

Danny Hope, Purdue: Enters his fourth season as the Boilermakers head coach, Hope has fared poorly vs. the Irish with an 0-3 mark including a 24-21 defeat in West Lafayette in 2009 to which Hope's ill-advised late-game timeout gave the scrambling Irish offense time to set -- and the game-winning touchdown pass from Jimmy Clausen to Kyle Rudolph ensued. Hope has defeated Ohio State twice and Michigan once during his tenure and took the Boilermakers to a bowl game victory over Western Michigan last season to finish 7-6, his first winning effort at the University.

Mark Dantonio, Michigan State: Has logged three wins in five meetings vs. the Irish (two victories occurred in East Lansing) during his tenure including a 1-1 mark vs. Notre Dame against Brian Kelly. Dantonio is 44-22 as the Spartans head man but more important, 22-5 over the last two seasons. He's 4-1 vs. chief rival Michigan with the Spartans winners in four straight.

Brady Hoke, Michigan: Hoke's meteoric rise over the last four seasons culminated in an 11-2 mark debut for the Wolverines last fall, including an improbable 35-31 comeback win over the Irish in Ann Arbor. Hoke is 58-52 in his career with a pre-Michigan highlight occurring at Ball State where the Cardinals won a program record 12 games (12-0 regular season before a MAC title game loss to Buffalo) and achieved the program's first A.P. top 25 ranking. Hoke was previously 13-12 in two seasons at San Diego State, taking over a 2-10 squad and winning four, then nine games including a Poinsettia Bowl win over Navy to conclude his two-year stint.

Al Golden, Miami: Took over a mess in Miami last season and it showed, a 6-6 mark with a middling offense and defense that fell from grace after a solid 2010. Golden was just 27-34 in five years at Temple before hitting South Beach, then again, that's Temple, and Golden helped the Owls improve enough to win 17 games in his final two seasons in Philly after building from the ground up: a 1-11 first season in 2006 after he took over a winless squad and program that was a combined 3-31 in three seasons prior to his arrival.

David Shaw, Stanford: Took out the Irish in his first season as Stanford head man, finishing 11-2 overall and guiding the Cardinal program to a second straight BCS bowl appearance. Shaw worked four years previously as Jim Harbaugh's offensive coordinator on The Farm.

Bronco Mendenhall, BYU: 0-1 vs. the Irish as the Cougars head man though Mendenhall was the defensive coordinator at BYU in 2004 during a season-opening handling of the Irish in Provo. Mendenhall is 66-24 overall after a 10-4 2011 season, his fifth season with 10 or more wins in his seven at the helm.

Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: A remarkable 139-34 as the Sooners head man, Stoops enters his 14th season at Oklahoma with a BCS National Championship, three BCS bowl victories (vs. five defeats) and just three home losses. Ever. He's 0-1 vs. Notre Dame, losing to Bob Davie's Irish, 34-30 in 1999, Stoops' first season at the helm. (The Sooners defeated Florida State for the national title one year later, finishing 13-0). Stoops has never won fewer than eight games during his head coaching tenure, while winning 10 or more on 10 occasions, nine of those at with at least 11 wins at season's end.

Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh: The former Wisconsin offensive coordinator enters his first season in the Steel City, the Panthers third head coach in as many seasons. Chryst led the Badgers offense for the last seven seasons and is expected to bring his power-based attack east where it will fit in well with the Pittsburgh culture. What ight not fit is the team's pieces offensively as former head coach Todd Graham had a full season with the spread offense as his focal point. Ex-head man Dave Wannstedt employed the power game during his tenure at Pittsburgh and the team's junior, senior, and 5th-year senior classes are Wannstedt's remaining recruits.

Frank Spaziani, Boston College: Just 20-19 since taking over for Tom O'Brien in 2009. Spaziani is 0-3 vs. the Irish, this following a six-game winning streak and 7-1 run by his predecessor

Jim Grobe, Wake Forest: Lost in his first matchup vs. the Irish last fall, 24-17 in Winston-Salem. Grobe's Demon Deacons have won 68 and dropped 67 in his 11 seasons at the helm, the highlight a three-season run of success: 11-3 and an Orange Bowl berth in 2006; 9-4 in 2007; 8-5 in 2008. Grobe is 101-100-1 in 17 seasons, previously serving as the head man at Ohio University.

Lane Kiffin, USC: Is 1-1 vs. Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly in his two seasons at USC. Kiffin is 18-7 as the team's head coach with no bowl appearances due to two-season NCAA probation. The ban is lifted for 2012 and USC again ranks among the nation's pre-season elite, a consensus Top 3 in every major poll and pre-season annual. Kiffin was previously 7-6 in one season at Tennessee (2009) and 5-15 during a truncated two-year stint for the NFL's Oakland Raiders.


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