Hart Gave His Heart to Husky Football

It will be strange for me to watch Randy Hart pacing the sidelines this coming weekend, spitting and yelling and cheering and working his butt off to beat our team. I know this: Every down he will be into the game. He is a battler if I've ever known one. He is also a damn good defensive line coach and has been for close to 30 years.

"I wanted to go find a veteran defensive line coach that was a fundamental technique guy with a lot of energy," Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday when asked about Hart. "And if you looked in Webster's, it would come back Randy Hart. He's exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't ask for anything more."

All Randy did at Washington was coach the same position for 21 years and produced lots of great players and even more good men.

Randy is "old school" and he is a grinder. He shows no weaknesses, he shows no pain, he is an old warrior and he left a permanent mark on Husky Football.

Fair, firm and friendly was his creed to coaching, and I promise you there will be many Huskies who will take time to give him a hug this weekend. He is a teacher of the game and a tough SOB.

Heck, he's a product of the legendary Woody Hayes and I know for sure he personally felt the wrath of Woody's infamous anger. He is a bit of a workaholic but he is a great friend. You would definitely pick Randy to have your back in a fox hole.

Sure, he was stern, sure he was a curmudgeon, and sure he always reminded me after every time we won a game that we were just that much closer to our next loss. He was so grouchy that every one of his players, at one time or another, felt like running him over. He pushed and pushed and pushed and every kid knew it made them better, at least every player who went on and played at the next level (and there were a lot of them).

He won a national championship both as a player and as a coach. He lettered three years for Woody and spent more years coaching at Washington than anyone in the history of the school besides Jim Lambright.

Randy Hart is what Husky toughness was all about. He demanded it of his players and equally of himself (I spent one whole season watching films with Randy laying on his back in the War Room because his back was so bad he couldn't sit.)

It's not necessary to name all the great players he helped develop because any kid who played for him benefited. They all shake their heads and smile whenever you tell "Randy" stories.

"Get em on the go… go, go, go" was what he'd always say to his players. They learned to listen at the right times because he was usually yelling at them all the time. One thing they all learned was you'd better bring your lunch box if you were going to play for coach Hart, because nobody was going to outwork you.

"I've never been around a guy who is more energetic than that guy," Weis said, noting that he is also eight years younger than his new defensive line coach. "Sign me up for his energy. He just exudes it, and the players feed off of it."

One year Randy was promoted to defensive coordinator and that was not his cup of tea. First of all, he had to be in the press box and he couldn't prowl the sidelines working off his energy. Second of all, he couldn't yell at anyone. And lastly, sitting down for a whole game was like a kid sitting in class, staring outside and having no recess. He just couldn't hold still.

I can't even imagine the shock that the Notre Dame defensive linemen have gone through adjusting to Uncle Randy. At least at Washington the older players could brace and prepare the younger players for what they would encounter in the "World According to Randy".

His had a definite love-hate relationship with some of his players. He didn't care if they hated him, as long as they knew he loved them. D'marco Farr will tell you that, as will Steve Emtman, Tank Johnson or any of the other kids who went on to the NFL. Randy Hart made the NFL seem easy.

So there he'll be, standing next to Big Charlie, on the Notre Dame sidelines. Even though I will always respect and cherish my years of working with Randy, I wish him no luck this weekend.

I am honored to have worked the many years we did together and to call this man one of my true friends in life. Randy Hart gave his soul to the program and unfortunately had to endure the final demise of the past six years. It always hurt me to hear all the negative criticism of the coaches over that period because I had been to the well with this man and he knew how to drink the water.

I wish he was still here just so he could be part of this turnaround, but I know when he is all finished coaching he will return to the northwest because this is his home. Randy Hart is a Husky. He's just working for the Irish right now, trying to make a living.

I've tried to talk to him about retiring someday and he'll have none of it. He needs to have that whistle hanging around his neck and he needs to be working with kids. He was lucky to have spent over 20 years at the same school because that just doesn't happen anymore in college football. I personally believe that type of coaching continuity is what makes great programs stay on top.

I hope coach Sarkisian is here for the next 15 years and that a nucleus of his staff stays with him and raise their children here, just like the old Buckeye transplant did two decades ago.

Randy Hart gave his heart to this program and is the only one who had to endure the whole process, from rags to riches and back to rags. He has been to the top of the mountain and has sunk to the bottom of the sea. He is a true warrior of the game and there will never be another one like him. Of course, that could also be a good thing. Who would want to take that away from him as he is certainly a one-of-a-kind coach?

Unfortunately, if Washington beats Notre Dame, it could put another nail in Charlie's coffin and Randy could be back on the streets again. Such is the life of a ball coach, the only life Randy has ever known since he left college many, many moons ago. It was Randy Hart who kept telling me winning wouldn't keep us from getting fired because there are only two types of coaches; those who have been fired and those who are going to fired.

He was right.

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