Copyright by Global Electronics Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes.Com™
November 27, 2001
By Alan Tieuli
The IrishEyes.Com News Service
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (IE) – Bob Davie made it crystal clear just minutes ago. He will not resign as the Notre Dame football coach. To be rid of him, Davie admitted, the University is going to have to fire him.
The embattled fifth-year coach also took clear aim at Athletic Director Kevin White when he noted he hopes to be evaluated by someone who has the "courage" to distance himself from public perception.
"Anyone who is a football person, who is knowledgeable in football, and can pull themselves away from public perception, can see this season for what it is," said Davie.
To Davie this has been much more than a dismal 4-6 season, the Irish's second losing record in the five years of the Davie Era.
"Stop and look at the big picture of a program that just a couple of years ago was put on probation," Davie began. "Look at the conduct of our football team. I think if you look at the retention of our student-athletes. I think if you look at the grade point average of the last two semesters, it is the highest in the history of this University of the football team."
Davie acknowledged that this current Notre Dame squad is "not the favorite of our fans, but it's my favorite football team. I'm not ashamed to say I love this team."
The setting was Davie's regular Tuesday afternoon press conference. And Davie was on top of his game. He said he did not feel comfortable "defending the job" he has done the past five years, but his comments were delivered with conviction.
"There's a reason that the University of Notre Dame in December came to me and gave me a new five-year contract," Davie said. "I did not go to the University of Notre Dame and ask for a new contract. So I don't think I'm the one that should sit here and defend why that contract was given to me.
"If a lot of evaluation went into me last December, unless I've changed, which I don't think I've changed, then I would think those good reasons are still there," he said.
Davie was asked if he "regretted" labeling his 2001 squad in pre-season the most talented he's ever had at Notre Dame.
"I'm not backing away from my statement that this is our most talented team," said Davie. "But if you look at the dynamics of this season, it's been a challenge. In the history of the NCAA, there have never been two ranked teams that played when one team played two games where the other has not played (referring to the Nebraska opener). To say that Julius Jones, Tony Fisher, David Givens would never be healthy, that Arnaz Battle would go out the second game.
"I never said we were the Green Bay Packers," Davie continued. " said this was our most talented football team and I'm comparing it to 1997, since I've been the head football coach."
(Alan Tieuli is the Managing Editor of IrishEyes and can be reached at email@example.com)