"Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans. The integrity and credibility of Notre Dame is impeccable and with that in mind, I will resign my position as head football coach effective December 13, 2001," O'Leary said in a statement delivered to Irish officials on Thursday night.
Kevin White, the Notre Dame athletic director, accepted O'Leary's resignation, saying in a prepared statement, "George has acknowledged inaccuracies in his biographical materials, including his academic background. I understand that these inaccuracies represent a very human failing, nonetheless, they constitute a breach of trust that makes it impossible for us to go forward with our relationship."
White added that he immediately will restart the search for a new head coach to replace Bob Davie. The others White is believed to have spoken to are Tyrone Willingham of Stanford, Mike Belotti of Oregon and Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders. Both Gruden (by far the fan's favorite) and Belotti, withdrew from consideration. Willingham's agent told ESPN that they were expecting another, formal interview between Willingham and White, but it never occurred.
O'Leary was listed in his biography in the Georgia Tech media guide as a three-time letter-winner at New Hampshire at offensive line and fullback. However, O'Leary went to New Hampshire only for two years, and never made it into a game, according to reports. That information also was included in a biography handed out by Notre Dame last Sunday during a press conference to announce O'Leary's hiring.
A document obtained by the Manchester Union indicates O'Leary listed the inaccurate information when hired as a coach at Syracuse University in 1980.
"Many years ago, as a young married father, I sought to pursue my dream as a football coach," O'Leary said in his statement to Notre Dame. "In seeking employment, I prepared a resume that contained inaccuracies regarding my completion of course work for a Master's Degree and also my level of participation in football at my alma mater. These misstatements were never stricken from my resume or biographical sketch in later years.
"During my coaching career, I believe I have been hired because of the success of my players on the field and the evaluation of my peers. However, these misstatements have resurfaced and become a distraction and embarrassment to the University of Notre Dame, an institution I dearly love. I regret that I did not call these facts to the attention of the University during their search. It now seems, therefore, that in keeping with my philosophy of personal accountability for these errors, I resign my position and deeply apologize for any disappointment I have caused the University, my family and many friends."