Irish Showed Interest in Tony Dungy?

Reese Strickland, US Presswire

It will be the two year anniversary of Brian Kelly being named the head football coach at Notre Dame coming up this December, but the discussion of the hiring process is still taking place.

Early this morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Tony Dungy, the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League and now an analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America, said that Notre Dame may have contacted him about the vacant head coaching job at the school.

Here are further details from JJ Stankevitz at

The man who led Indianapolis to a Super Bowl victory over the Bears in 2007 played coy on the Dan Patrick Show when asked if the Irish contacted him, saying he didn’t quite know if the people asking him about his interest in the opening following the 2009 season were legitimately connected to Notre Dame’s search committee or not.

“I had some calls about if I would be interested in the job, but I don’t know how close these people were, if they were actually on the search committee,” Dungy said.

Who knows if Notre Dame was seriously considering Dungy. At this stage, it is a moot point with Kelly eventually getting the job, but it would make sense. He has ties to the Midwest with playing football at the University of Minnesota and being the head coach of the Colts for several years.

Dungy is also one of the most respected people in all of sports. It is hard to find a nicer guy in the sports world than him. He is also one hell of a football coach, who led the Colts to a Super Bowl and many other playoff appearances in his time in Indy as well as Tampa Bay. Dungy would instantly bring credibility to your football program.

Despite those things, I highly doubt that Dungy was given serious consideration by the school. I think athletic director Jack Swarbrick and company were only considering coaches with heading coaching experience at the collegiate level. We know Dungy has great judgment on evaluating talent, but would he have been a great recruiter? Who knows.

Notre Dame had mistakes in the hires of both Bob Davie and Charlie Weis who didn’t have any head coaching experience in college. Weis had no experience whatsoever in college before being hired. It was hard to see the school making the same mistake once again with Dungy, who is best suited for the pro level anyway.

Even though his record stands at only 9-7 in South Bend so far, I still think Kelly was a great hire at the time. In under two years in South Bend, Kelly has already improved the talent dramatically on both sides of the football. If Irish fans can remain patient with Kelly, he can eventually turn Notre Dame into a legit title contender year in and year out.

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