Over the last few days, I've been hearing countless names around campus, on the web, and on ESPN as potential candidates to replace Charlie Weis. Stoops, Meyer, Gruden, Dungy, Kelly, Edsall, Davis, Johnson, Ferentz, etc. The list goes on. Since Monday, there have even been two conflicting reports that coaches have already come to terms with ND and that an announcement would be coming, possibly as early as this weekend (Stoops and Kelly). It surprises me that any journalist would publish this type of report, not knowing if the information they are reporting is actually true. I think one thing has been established in this coaching search - We won't know the next head football coach of the Fighting Irish until Jack Swarbrick and the University issue a statement and hold a press conference.
The prospect of ND hiring a new coach has created a buzz around campus. These rumors have been among the most talked about topics. It seems as though every time I'm in the dining hall, the conversation somehow gets back to football, and who might lead ND back to glory. People have their hopes set high. Though I've never been an avid reader of NDNation, I've found myself constantly checking the site within the last few weeks because something tells me that the fans who post there will know before any of the major sports networks or websites. But evem with their knowledge and dedication to ND, the last couple of days have proven that we really won't know until we hear it from Swarbrick. Still, it's fun to think about what might happen.
Though many of the coaches who have been mentioned as possible candidates have denied their interest and/or contact with Notre Dame, I'm still holding out hope that we can find a home run coach. I appreciate all that Coach Weis did for ND football. He worked his tail off and he loves and respects this University. I think he will be a major asset to an NFL team if/when he returns to the professional game. It's unfortunate that things did not work out for him at his alma mater, but it's time for ND to find a coach who can motivate and lead college players. Maybe ND can bring back The Rocket, even if it's just to give a pre-game pep talk. But really, I hope we can find a coach who continues to uphold the values of the University, while also having the experience, passion and motivation necessary to wake up the echoes and put ND football back on the map. In a ideal scenario, Meyer or Stoops would welcome this challenge. I would be shocked if either of them wavered from their previous denials, but hey, I can dream right?