ND Assistants: Bob Davie (Part 2)

Six of Davie’s assistant coaches at Notre Dame went on to become head coaches – Urban Meyer, Mike Sanford, Charlie Strong, Steve Addazio, Lou West and Joker Phillips.

When Lou Holtz “retired” from Notre Dame following the 1996 season, athletics director Mike Wadsworth chose Bob Davie as head coach following his three-year stint with the Irish as defensive coordinator.

Davie’s first staff at Notre Dame maintained strong ties with Holtz’s 1996 staff:

1997 (7-6)

Offense
• OC/OL-Jim Colletto
• QB-Mike Sanford
• RB-Desmond Robinson
• WR-Urban Meyer
• RC/TE-Bob Chmiel

Defense
• DC/ILB-Greg Mattison
• Asst. HC/LB/ST-Kirk Doll
• DL-Charlie Strong
• DB-Tom McMahon

Davie retained five assistants from Holtz’s final staff: linebackers coach Kirk Doll, who had arrived with Davie at Notre Dame from Texas A&M in ’94; defensive line coach Charlie Strong; secondary coach Tom McMahon; receivers coach Urban Meyer; and tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Bob Chmiel.

Three of Holtz’s last group of assistants were not retained: offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dave Roberts, running backs coach Earle Mosley and offensive line coach Joe Moore in a controversial decision that ultimately led to an age discrimination lawsuit against Notre Dame.

Replacing Moore as offensive line coach and Roberts as offensive coordinator was former Purdue head coach Jim Colletto. Davie tabbed Desmond Robinson from West Virginia to replace Mosley as running backs coach.

Mike Sanford the elder, father of future Notre Dame quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford the younger, took over as quarterbacks coach after spending eight years at USC, his alma mater, as receivers coach.

Greg Mattison – defensive coordinator at Michigan – stunned Wolverine faithful by heading to South Bend. Mattison’s connections with Davie extended back to Texas A&M where he served as Davie’s defensive line coach from 1989-91.
                                                                                   


1998 (9-3)

Offense
• OC/TE-Jim Colletto
• QB-Mike Sanford
• RB-Desmond Robinson
• WR/ST-Urban Meyer
• OL-Dave Borbely

Defense
• DC/ILB-Greg Mattison
• Asst. HC/OLB-Kirk Doll
• DL-Charlie Strong
• DB-Tom McMahon

Deciding that Jim Colletto needed to focus on coordinating the offense after Notre Dame’s worst rushing and total offense numbers since pre-Holtz – coupled with the decision to let Chmiel go -- Davie hired Dave Borbely from Stanford following Borbely’s three-year stint as offensive line coach of the Cardinal. Colletto instructed the tight ends.

Kirk Doll, now in his 11th season with Davie dating back to Texas A&M, was elevated to assistant head coach.
                                                                                   


1999 (5-7)

Offense
• OC/QB-Kevin Rogers
• RB-Desmond Robinson
• WR-Urban Meyer
• TE/ST-Steve Addazio
• OL-Dave Borbely

Defense
• DC/DL-Greg Mattison
• Asst. HC/LB-Kirk Doll
• OLB-Jerry Rosburg
• DB-Lou West

With Colletto leaving to coach the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive line, Davie selected Syracuse’s Kevin Rogers, who was on an eight-year run as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Syracuse.

Rogers replaced Sanford as quarterbacks coach after Sanford accepted a position coaching the San Diego Chargers’ receivers. Rogers brought Syracuse offensive line coach Steve Addazio with him to Notre Dame to serve as tight ends coach. (Sanford would go on to become head coach at Indiana State while Addazio landed head-coaching jobs with Temple and Boston College.)

Charlie Strong, who had worked two years for Holtz and two years for Davie, jumped at the opportunity to become Holtz’s defensive coordinator at South Carolina. Strong’s departure allowed Mattison to return to his most comfortable spot – defensive line. Strong would go on to serve as head coach at Louisville, Texas and now South Florida.

Defensive backs coach Tom McMahon, who had coached two years for Holtz and two for Davie, accepted the co-defensive coordinator’s job at Colorado.

Jerry Rosburg took over the outside linebackers as Doll switched to the inside linebackers with Mattison moving to the line. Rosburg had spent the two previous years at Boston College. After four years at Virginia Tech, Lou West came to Notre Dame to instruct the defensive backs.
                                                                                   


2000 (9-3)

Offense
• OC/QB-Kevin Rogers
• RB-Desmond Robinson
• WR-Urban Meyer
• TE-OT/ST-Steve Addazio
• OL-Dave Borbely

Defense
• DC/DL-Greg Mattison
• Asst. HC/LB/K-Kirk Doll
• OLB-Lou West
• DB/ST-Jerry Rosburg

The only change from Year 3 to Year 4 under Davie was the subtle flip-flop of spots between Rosburg and West.
                                                                                   


2001 (5-6)

Offense
• OC/QB-Kevin Rogers
• RB-Desmond Robinson
• TE-OT/ST-Steve Addazio
• WR-Joe “Joker” Phillips
• OL-Dave Borbely

Defense
• DC/DL-Greg Mattison
• Asst. HC/LB-Kirk Doll
• CB-David Lockwood
• S/ST-Bill Sheridan

One change was made on offense prior to Davie’s final year with the Irish, but it was a big one. Urban Meyer – Notre Dame’s receivers coach from 1996-2000 – accepted the head-coaching position at Bowling Green. He’s since achieved legendary status as head coach at Utah, Florida and Ohio State.

Meyer was replaced by Joker Phillips, who came to Notre Dame following a two-year stint at Minnesota and eventually became head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats in 2010.

Rosburg landed the special teams coordinator job with the Cleveland Browns following the 2000 season while West headed to Toledo to serve as defensive coordinator. He eventually became head coach at Indiana State.

Davie tabbed David Lockwood from West Virginia to coach his cornerbacks, and Bill Sheridan – linebackers coach at Michigan State from 1998-2000 – to teach the safeties and coordinate the special teams. Sheridan has spent the last 12 years in the NFL.
                                                                       



A total of 17 assistant coaches worked for Davie during his five-year run as head coach of the Irish. There were two offensive coordinators (Colletto, Rogers) and one defensive coordinator (Mattison), although Davie took over making the game-day defensive calls after the Irish fell to 74th in total defense and 78th in scoring defense in 1999.


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