O'Leary Lands on Feet

George O'Leary wasn't down for long. Friday he was named defensive line and assistance head coach for the Minnesota Vikings, four weeks to the day after he was released from his contract by Notre Dame.

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January 11, 2002

O'Leary a Viking

The IrishEyes.Com NewsService

George O'Leary is back in the coaching fraternity.

Notre Dame head coach for five days before being a source of national ridicule for padding his resume, O'Leary was hired as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Vikings on Friday. O'Leary will coach the defensive line for new Vikings head coach Mike Tice and will also carry the title assistant head coach.

O'Leary, the former Georgia Tech coach who also coached Tice in high school, was hired at Notre Dame on Dec. 8. He quit five days later after a reporter at the Manchester Union-Leader in New Hampshire discovered that he had embellished some of his collegiate athletic and academic accomplishments.

Tice stressed to the Minneapolis media that O'Leary's past transgressions had no influence on his decision.  "Not even a bit," he said.

O'Leary told ESPN's Mike Tirico a week after leaving Notre Dame -- O'Leary said he was fired; Athletic Director Kevin White said O'Leary resigned -- that he "needed" to coach again.

"I'm just happy to be part of the picture right now," O'Leary told the Associated Press. "I'm looking forward to it. I've been dealing with a lot of other problems, as you know, but I'm looking forward to coaching, and that's what I really enjoy."

White took the high road when informed of the O'Leary news and said the former Georgia Tech coach "will no doubt be a great addition to the Vikings' staff.

"Personally speaking, I am most pleased to learn that he has been offered, and accepted, this opportunity," White continued. "We wish him the best."

White accompanied the Notre Dame men's basketball team on its victorious trip to West Virginia Wednesday and has thrown himself back into his job overseeing all of Notre Dame sports and teams after the extended coaching search.

(To provide feedback on IrishEyes editorial coverage, please contact Managing Editor Alan Tieuli at aatandsonspr@aol.com)

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