Davie didn't do his job
This letter is in response to Michael L. Palumbo's Dec. 6 letter entitled "Integrity Sacrificed to Money." I completely agree with you about how Mr. Davie is a great man, moralistic, ethical, professional and respected, as he should be.
However, in 1996 he was hired as the head coach of Notre Dame football. When you are a coach your primary mission is to win. This cannot be argued. This is plain black and white, clear fact. We know all the facts: for example, he only had a 1-7 record against top 10 teams, a losing record on the road, etc. Mr. Davie did not succeed in the primary mission of all coaches, and that is to win.
To argue against the firing of Mr. Davie you bring up the high GPAs, high graduation rates, national academic recognition and the overall "Christ-like" behavior of Mr. Davie. Yes, that is all good, but in any job, it doesn't mean much if you can't get the job done.
Let's say there is an accountant who makes up the financial statements for a company. This accountant is a great man, with high morals and high integrity, and he takes great care of his team of accountants. He mentors them, provides them with support for personal problems, runs the company softball team, and he's also in charge of the charity and community service programs for the company.
However, this accountant is a horrible accountant who happened to be in way over his head. As a result he produced flawed statements that misrepresented the financial situation of the company. For all of you business majors, you know that releasing erred statements is a big deal and can get the company into a lot of trouble.
So, Mr. Palumbo, should this accountant be fired and replaced with someone who will do the job right, or kept because he is a "Christ-like" man and it is alright if he gets the company into trouble and can't do his job? You fire him.
My point is that whenever someone is hired for a job, they were hired to do a job. I am not saying that ethics, integrity and morality mean nothing; they are important for every job, especially in the accounting and medical industries, and Notre Dame football. However, no matter how ethical, moral and good of a person you are, you should not be holding those jobs if you can't add numbers, can't properly diagnose diseases and can't be eligible for and can't win bowl games.
Mr. Davie was not hired solely for, as you put it, his "Christ-like" qualities, but rather he was hired to use these qualities to win. This is true for any job, to use these great qualities to get the job done.
I disagree with you on one last point. You said that Notre Dame preaches and should preach that character and integrity are more important than wins and losses. No, they don't preach that, and no, they shouldn't preach that ideal. Rather, they should preach and do preach that character and integrity are integral, vital and fundamental parts of winning and success. By firing Mr. Davie they only supported these fundamental ideals that are foundational to this institution.
Dec. 6, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Monday, December 10, 2001