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Notre Dame has not lost its way

Observer Viewpoint | Sunday, December 5, 2004

I love college football. More specifically, I love Notre Dame football. But if someone where to ask what my favorite thing about Notre Dame was, it would be not be football. Sure, it is something that brings that campus, alumni, friends and family together on Saturday afternoons in the fall. But is this the essence of Notre Dame? I don’t think so. That is why I have been very upset by the reaction to the firing of head coach Tyrone Willingham.

Many people, both here in The Observer, on ESPN and numerous other media outlets, have said they are disappointed by the decision, that the decision proves that Notre Dame is just another “football factory,” and that the decision tarnished the Golden Dome. People have written that Notre Dame will never be the same again.

I certainly was shocked on Tuesday upon hearing the news, and I personally really liked Willingham, as a great representative of the University. While I may not have agreed that this was the right thing to do or the right time to do it, I never thought that this decision had any bearing on what Notre Dame stands for. All of these people act like football defines what a school is. Maybe it does at a football factory. It shouldn’t and I don’t think it does at Notre Dame.

When I think of Notre Dame, I think of the incredible education I received, the great teachers and mentors, lifelong friends, the absolutely beautiful campus, Mass at the Basilica, studying abroad, praying at the Grotto, the amazing support network – I could just go on and on. This is Notre Dame. Okay, some of the leaders at Notre Dame decided that Willingham wasn’t the coach they wanted for our football team. We all want to win and I don’t think that this makes us bad people. Whether or not this broke with tradition, whether or not we all agree that it gave him a fair chance, none of this takes the truly amazing nature of Notre Dame away from us. Those things are what make Notre Dame special.

Heidi Ketvertis


Class of 2000

Dec. 3