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Ianello and assistants true professionals

Dec 1, 2009, 3:30 PM EDT

Watching Rob Ianello at the podium yesterday was bizarre. Here was a different coach in charge of the Notre Dame football program.

I feel sorry for the rest of this coaching staff, shouldering on without the man that brought them to town. From newcomers and true professionals like Frank Verducci, Tony Alfort and Randy Hart, to guys that have spent years in South Bend like Ianello, Bernie Parmalee, and Brian Polian. How do you think Bryant Young or Ron Powlus feel, knowing their triumphant returns to their alma mater didn’t go the way they expected? Corwin Brown and Jon Latina, two coaches that had impeccable reputations before arriving in South Bend, now might not get another offer to coordinate a college defense because of the Irish’s inept performance this season.

While Jack Swarbrick announced that Charlie Weis was out as head coach effective today, the assistant coaches are still around, precariously awaiting a fate that most likely will have them leaving the program when a new coach arrives. But they’ll solider on, and even hit the recruiting trail according to Ianello.

We’re going to have seven coaches on the road recruiting as of tomorrow
afternoon and Wednesday and Thursday for this University. Coaches are
going to go out and contact first and foremost all our committed
players and see some guys that are uncommitted that we’re still
involved with.”

During the press conference, Ianello was asked about how he was going to balance his uncertain future with his commitment to athletic director Jack Swarbrick during this transition. He was incredibly candid.

I’ve committed to Jack to do all I can during this transition for the
University, and I’m going to devote my time and efforts to that. I
think you’d be naïve to think that if I didn’t reach out to some other
people to make sure to secure my future, also, that that would be naïve
for you to think that. But I’m going to give all my energies to Notre
Dame, and if other opportunities come along the way, then we’ll deal
with them as they come. But this coaching staff is a very professional
coaching staff, a very committed coaching staff, and they will
certainly do the University right during this transition.

From the sounds of it, most recruits remain on-board with the Irish, and eagerly await some news on the next head coach. Top defensive recruit Chris Martin has de-committed from the Irish, but is willing to consider the next coaching staff, which is about all the next coach could realistically ask from a player of Martin’s stature.

Swarbrick’s asking a lot of a coaching staff that many believe are dead men walking, but like Ianello said, these guys are a true group of professionals.

  1. TLNDMA - Dec 1, 2009 at 5:08 PM

    A few of these guys may stick around, Ianello, Alford, Verducci and maybe Brown, if I were to hazzard a wild guess. If we have a coach in about 2 weeks, this recuiting class can be saved.

  2. SDI - Dec 1, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Keith–I think you mean John Tenuta in the second paragraph.

  3. irishfanintx - Dec 1, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    What’s the chances on getting Charlie’s thoughts on the firing and what his plans are for the future? I know what the media speculation but would like to hear from him what he plans on doing.

  4. Bill in Shanghai - Dec 2, 2009 at 3:48 AM

    I have several reactions to all this:
    1. I think Notre Dame has been very naive in the way they handled the decision to look elsewhere, assuming the AD is being candid. There was at least a 50/50 chance CW would be fired after Navy, maybe higher, so that’s when they should have started this as a confidential search. It happens very frequently that an incumbent is not told that a search is underway for his replacement. The excuse that “we had a head coach” is silly. If he’d won out, they could always have backed off.
    2. We are already reaping the down side of firing CW. Our top recruit, Chris Martin (a defensive line guy no less), is backing out–exactly the part of the team we’ve all said has been the main weakness at ND.
    3. Anybody who believes this recruiting trip by the assistants is anything other than going through the motions doesn’t understand human nature. They will likely all be fired as the new guy brings in his own team. They will be doing what we all would be doing, which is concentrating on where we go next. Additionally, they are essentially eunichs in this process, as they have no position of authority to tell recruits anything that has power behind it. The recruits know these coaches are lame ducks and can’t commit anything to them.
    4.Under no circumstances would I keep Brown–these guys were woefully bad in the secondary, and a lot of that did look like technique coaching. Tenuta should go too, I think.
    5. I think ND is betting the ranch on this decision. A change causes chaos in the recruiting process, entails a complete system change by the new guy, and always involves the risk of another hire that doesn’t pan out. I think I would have kept CW 1 more year, as at least the offense was cooking, and we’d have a better chance of keeping Tate and Clausen. I would have fired whomever needed firing on defense and committed to catch the defense up to the offense before going whole hog again to replace the entire shebang.
    6. If this decision doesn’t pan out, and it’s off to a bad start with losing the DE recruit and with guys like Stoops and Meyer just not going to come, then we really will become irrelevant. It’s happened before to other formerly great programs.
    For all our sake,I hope they get it right this time since they’ve bet the ranch.

  5. Mike - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    In 1990, the last person I coached against was Chris Petersen. He beat me, barely! He was himself an accomplished quarterback at UC Davis and has done a great job at Boise winning with talent that I suspect the elite programs wouldn’t actively recruit.
    It’s time for ND to start looking outside the fold. Peterson knows the spread offense and would be a refreshing change. As in all occupations, there are always new talents developing. Think outside the box ND.

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