December 09, 2004

Willingham blames himself for ND firing

Former Notre Dame football coach Ty Willingham has been described as a coach's coach, and one class act by many who have met him, player, coach and fan alike.

Buried amid last week's stories of his firing from Notre Dame after three "middle of the road" years for the storied football program is this little tidbit.

Tyrone Willingham blamed himself Wednesday for his firing as Notre Dame coach, saying he failed to meet the school's expectations of producing an elite team.

``I don't get into what's fair and what's not fair. I am an optimist by nature, but I am also a realist, and that makes you deal with the events as they occur,'' he said. ``So I will deal with the events.''

``I understand that I did not meet the expectations and standards I set for myself and this program,'' he said. ``When you don't meet your own expectations you make yourself vulnerable to the will of others. So today I am no longer the head football coach at Notre Dame.''

So while charges of racism get tossed by everyone from Washington Post columnist and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon to Jesse "I gotta find me a visable cause to represent" Jackson, and everyone in between, the most insightful and honorable comment comes from the man at the center of the maelstrom.

And for those comments and the willingness own up to his own shortcomings, my high level of respect for Willingham rose a notch higher yet today.

Mark my words -- though Willingham has departed from under the watchful gaze of "Touchdown Jesus," his journey will take him to greater football heights, and countless legions of football fans will be the better for it.

(Other coverage from Casey Lartigue)

Posted by mhking at December 9, 2004 02:04 PM

I had yet to hear that, thanks. Yes, a class act.

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at December 9, 2004 08:47 PM

This is a stand up guy. I heard about his firing from listening to 'net radio, but nobody reported what he'd said. Rush could have, but I don't always get to hear Rush since he comes over at 1-4AM. Willingham's a prince, a total prince. As for Jesse, let him do his poverty and racism pimp act; he won't find any buyers in Willingham.

Posted by: Helen at December 11, 2004 09:23 AM

The news tonight is that Willingham has been hired as the University of Washington's new football coach.

Posted by: Keith at December 13, 2004 02:27 AM
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