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ND has plenty to choose from in coaching search

Joe Hettler | Wednesday, December 1, 2004

The University administration and athletic director Kevin White will have plenty of top-tier candidates when choosing the next coach of the Fighting Irish.

Following Tuesday’s firing of third-year coach Tyrone Willingham, a group of 10-12 possible replacements have surfaced as early contenders for one of the country’s most prestigious -and most scrutinized – head coaching positions.

The early frontrunner, according to numerous news sources, is former Notre Dame wide receivers coach and current Utah head coach Urban Meyer. The 40-year old Ashtabula, Ohio native has turned around two programs as head coach – Bowling Green and Utah. The Utes are ranked No. 5 in the nation this season with an 11-0 record and likely will play in a Bowl Championship Series game.

However, White said at Tuesday’s press conference the University has not looked into any replacements yet.

“We haven’t done a thing in terms of the search at this point,” White said. “And I think that’s what [the reporter is] referring to. No, we haven’t begun, haven’t lifted the phone up at this point. I’ve been really focused on our team and our coaches, and obviously conversations with Coach Willingham. So that will happen here shortly.”

White stated several times throughout the press conference that Notre Dame had no contact with any possible candidates. He said the coaching search would begin this morning.

“We will immediately begin a national search for a new football coach,” White said. “I don’t have any particular parameters in mind, other than identifying an individual who can lead Notre Dame football back to the sustained level of excellence that everyone associated with the University and the program wants and desires.”

White set no timetable for finding the 29th coach in Notre Dame’s history, saying the school will “come to a conclusions, when it comes to a conclusion.”