Skip Holtz May Not Be Wisest Choice

George O'Leary was only on campus five days, but his impact will be felt for years to come. IrishEyes Managing Editor Alan Tieuli pieces together thoughts on a week that exposed the very best in some, the very worst in others, and left all of Notre Dame Nation in some level of disbelief.

Copyright by Global Electronic Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes™

December 20, 2001

Inexperienced Coaches
Need Not Apply

By Alan Tieuli
The IrishEyes.Com NewsService

Random, connecting thoughts trying to make sense of a week like no other…

…Let's hand out a couple of game balls to the media in the five-day George O'Leary era at Notre Dame.  It was the obscure New England Cable News – the seventh-rated news outlet in Boston – that broke the O'Leary hiring story, and the ultra-conservative Manchester Union-Leader that did its homework and uncovered the discrepancies in O'Leary New Hampshire career.  This reporter also runs a PR firm in Boston, works closely with both these outlets, and takes great local pride in their success.  Just wish the second story hadn't been true. 

…Having grown up in Boston during the Bobby Orr-era, there is only one real Lou Nanne to me, that pesky winger for the Minnesota North Stars with a long, sad face (picture actor Dan Hedaya on skates). 

…No disrespect to Notre Dame's Lou Nanni, the spokesperson for the University in the O'Leary fall-out, but why hasn't Kevin White, Monk Malloy or even a ranking member of the Athletic Department like Sports Information Director John Heisler played a more high-profile role in dispensing information to the starving media? 

…Some reporters are so desperate for a scoop they're willing to trade in 100,000 Marriott points for an interview with White.  Preferably, the interview would take place in the Concierge Lounge.

…Nanni said this week that Notre Dame would be stepping out of character if it hired a "high-profile" head coach, like Tom Coughlin, Jon Gruden or Bob Stoops.   Didn't Dan Devine have more than 20 years of head coaching experience – including a stint with the Green Bay Packers?

…And, make no mistake, there are veteran college head and assistant coaches out there that are watching every move White makes. "There is a lot of jealousy among the old guard coaches in this profession in general," Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey told IrishEyes Thursday morning. "If you didn't follow the right route coming up, didn't pay your dues, you're a marked guy.  I haven't had that many jobs, but when I got this one, people thought it was OK because I had spent five years coaching in high school (under the legendary Morgan Wootten at DeMatha) and after I left Duke, I went to a 1-AA school and got my hands dirty, learning the head coaching craft while driving the bus.  So I sort of was accepted when I took this job.  Otherwise…"

…In other words, don't expect Skip Holtz to be warmly received by his brethren if he is extended a job offer.  Same for Tom Clements.

…The normally unflappable Brey told IrishEyes Thursday he was "pissed" when the word came down about O'Leary's resignation.  "Frankly, we have something good going with the basketball program and I saw this as a big distraction.  I was out recruiting (earlier this week) and if it wasn't the first question asked, it was the second.  I was upset at George.  He should have been more forthcoming with information."

…IrishEyes reported earlier this month about how thorough and professional White acted in his interview with Brey for the basketball job.  Now the A.D. himself is saying he fouled up the O'Leary hiring.  "The whole thing just shocked me," said Brey. "It really is a lesson to all of us to be more thorough, to re-evaluate how we do things.  And it's not just in the Athletic Department, it's all throughout the University."

…One thing Notre Dame should not apologize for, however, Top Stories