Kirk Ferentz is my choice

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Everyone is weighing in on who should be Notre Dame's next football coach. Here is hoping that the Irish take their time, do their homework and make the right decision. After making a string of bad choices in recent years, it is important that they get this one right.

Cincinnati's Brian Kelly appears to be the favorite, now that Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer have been ruled out. I've never met him. But he isn't my choice. Why? Kelly isn't a proven recruiter. He has never signed a top prospect. He has developed some good players, to be sure, but he reminds me of former TCU coach Dennis Franchione. After making a reputation at TCU, he proved not to be so good at Alabama and Texas A&M and got fired.

When you get to Notre Dame, it's a different ballgame. You are up against the elite teams when it comes to recruiting...Florida, Texas, Alabama, USC, Ohio State. There is no homegrown talent in Indiana. You have to be a national recruiter.

In my view, the most important thing isn't to hire the best coach but to hire the coach who can hire the best staff, a bunch of hungry and aggressive and personable and highly paid assistant coaches like Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, Alabama's Nick Saban and Florida's Urban Meyer have assembled. They are more important than a head coach.

My choice to restore Notre Dame to BCS stature is Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.

Ferentz recruits big-time players and he is a proven winner in a state that has no high school talent at all. He develops great players. He does all you need to be a successful head coach. Of course, he would have to change his staff. He must hire a national staff that can attract the best players in the country.

Tyrone Willingham made a big mistake by bringing in a West Coast staff that floundered around the country. Charlie Weis didn't know any of the nine assistants he had on his staff when he arrived in South Bend.

There are some other worthy candidates.

Texas Tech's Mike Leach is a proven winner. He beat Oklahoma this year and Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Missouri last year before losing to Oklahoma. He wins with a high powered offense. Texas Tech also has the highest graduation rate in the Big 12 Conference. And he recruits in Lubbock, Texas, of all places. But he is a Mormon, which might not fly at Notre Dame.

Temple's Al Golden was the golden boy of recruiting at Penn State and Virginia. Charlie Weis tried to hire him as defensive coordinator at Notre Dame but then Virginia coach Al Groh wouldn't let Weis talk to him.

Also Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, a fanatical recruiter. His players are tough, like he is. He is the golden boy of young coaches, where Stoops and Meyer were eight years ago. He could be at Michigan in a few years. He has winner written all over him.

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Look at Iowa's roster - mainly Iowa boys. So don't say Iowa doesn't have any high school talent.

Mr. Lemming:
Have you ever heard Kirk Ferentz speak about the respect he had for his good friend, Joe Moore, and how much he learned from him? Was Mr. Moore once a staff member at Notre Dame? With that in mind, I doubt very much that Ferentz would seriously consider Notre Dame. Also, he still has a son in the Iowa City public schools and I doubt very much he would leave until after this son graduates. Additionally, he spoke the other day at a press conference about a job that caught his eye at a small school about an hour from his vacation home. He indicated he would be interested in being a line coach at a school like that if he were ten years older.

PS When you were in school, didn't you learn not to make sweeping generations like "in a state that has no high school talent at all"? Do the names Robert Gallery and Dallas Clark mean anything to you?

Mr. Lemming:
Assuming my previous comment gets posted, I would like to add another Iowa boy's name besides Robert Gallery and Dallas Clark. His name is Chad Hennings, an Outland Trophy winner at Air Force, a former combat pilot, a former member of the Dallas Cowboys and now a motivational speaker and writer.

Come watch high school football in Iowa. There is little to no talent

Mr. Lemming:

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever stepped foot in Iowa?

Guys, I think that Tom is saying that while Iowa does have talent, it does not have the depth of talent that some states have. How many Top 100 recruits are in Iowa? Not many, AJ Derby for example. But think of Ohio, Penn, Texas, Florida, Calif - states that lots of high level players AND a TON of mid-level players at all positions.

To Ferentz's credit he is able to get the top player(s) in Iowa (See Derby this year) and can "coach up" those mid-level Iowa players he gets and add to that strong skill position players that he has to get from Florida, Texas, California, etc.

ScottC, I agree that Iowa does not have depth of talent, but that is not what Mr. Lemming stated. He said "in a state that has no high school talent at all". If Mr. Lemming meant Iowa lacks the depth of talent, he should have said that. A state with 3 million or less population simply doesn't have the numbers to produce many outstanding athletes. I also agree with the rest of the comments in your post.

The reason I mentioned those three particular players from the state of Iowa is that all three of them won post-season awards and all three of them came from a farm or small town in Iowa. The lilihood of anyone from this setting to get any recognition in high school at the national level is remote.

J.Wilson, I understand your points. I was giving Tom the benefit of the doubt.

Tom, perhaps J. Wilson and I can give you some lessons in how not to make sweeping generalizations! LOL! Have a great day.

Sorry Tom. You guessed wrong! :P And ND's new coach did not end things well with his Cincinnati. I still predict that Kelly will have trouble at ND. Just a guess. The luck of the Iris is now the Curse of the Catholics.

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This page contains a single entry by Second Season published on December 6, 2009 9:30 AM.

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