FOOTBALL: Assistants still face uncertainty
Associate Sports Editor
New head football coach George O'Leary said Sunday afternoon that he has no plans for an assistant coaching staff, only that he hopes to have his staff completely in place by Christmas.
But before he selects any assistant coaches, he wants to meet all nine current assistant coaches, saying that he has to have "dignity in coaching."
"I want to sit down with the staff that's here currently and have an opportunity to meet them," he said.
When Bob Davie was fired a week ago, Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White said that all assistant coaches would still be considered Notre Dame employees. However, he told them that the new head coach would be able to choose his own staff and would not be required to hire any of the assistant coaches who worked under Davie.
O'Leary didn't say whether he would bring any coaches from Georgia Tech with him, nor did he say which coaches, if any, he would keep from Notre Dame.
"My job is to get the best people here to win football games," he said. "Not just football coaching, but understand what academics are, what athletes go through, and what Notre Dame is all about. I think that takes a while and it takes a special person."
During a coaching transition, O'Leary said the most important thing is to keep the players in mind. And while he said that the new coaching staff would have a dramatic impact on the Irish, the coaches can only do so much. Success depends on the players.
"The players will determine how well you improve and how quick you improve," O'Leary said. "Coaches get them in the right direction. Players are the ones who need to understand the difference between being hungry and starving, and they need to be starving."
The nine head coaches who worked under Davie are offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Greg Mattison, running backs coach Desmond Robinson, wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, offensive line coaches Steve Addazio And Dave Borberly, linebackers coach Kirk Doll, cornerbacks coach David Lockwood and safeties coach Bill Sheridan.
All Sports Stories for Monday, December 10, 2001