I remember my tenth grade Economics teacher Mr. Amstutz telling our class one time about how, whenever there's a recession or a depression, one thing that can "pull the economy out of the dumper is a good ol' fashioned WAR." Keep in mind, this is in 1984, when the United States versus Russia rivalry was at Brady-versus-Manning levels, so the wisdom of telling a roomful of teenagers that perhaps nuking Mother Russia was a good thing was questionable at best.
Today, I'd love to go find Mr. Amstutz and show him the front page of every newspaper (that is, if newspapers still existed) in the last six years that's had both an update on the war in Iraq and another shitty economic update simultaneously. "See old man! You're not so smart now, are you?!? Now give me the A-minus I so richly deserved!!"
Alas, this whole "war will get the cash register ringing" line of thought has been exposed as nothing more than urban myth, and our government has been relegated to trying to "jump start" the economy one stimulus check at a time.
Fortunately, my fellow Americans, we are on the cusp what has truly proven to be an economic B-12 shot over the last eight years, with money that would have otherwise sat in university endowment funds being doled out to multi-millionaires who aren't afraid to spend. Yes, you guessed it -- Notre Dame is about to fire it's football coach!!
You see, here's the thing -- despite the fact that the school has made a string of hires since 1996 that would lead you to believe Isiah Thomas was somehow prominently involved....despite the fact that you can sway 95% of today's recruits away from Notre Dame merely by showing them a South Bend weather report....despite the fact that a player cited for buying beer underaged at Notre Dame gets the same amount of pub as a player's robbing a civilian at gunpoint does at other places, Notre Dame still remains an elite level job with elite level money.
Since 2001, the number of men who have managed to parlay's Notre Dame's ineptitude at evaluating coaching talent into a financial windfall is long and illustrious.
There are a couple of ways that one can go about this. They are as follows:
(1) Pretend Notre Dame is interested in you and publicly pull your name out of the running. This is the tactic I recommend most highly because theoretically by saying you're not a candidate for the Notre Dame head coaching job, you're not lying. All you're doing is pulling your name out of the running for a job you were never being considered for in the first place. In 2004 everyone from Houston Nutt to Jeff Tedford ended up getting paid eventually, in part because their perceived worth was higher when they "pulled out of the Notre Dame job search". My favorite one was Mark Mangino, when he had to "address rumors" that he was a candidate for the position that was vacated when Notre Dame fired Tyrone Willingham, and he mysteriously did not know the source of the rumors. (Perhaps the mirror had the answer.)
And at the time it seemed so believable, too, that Notre Dame would want a coach with a 74 inch waist, a 12-24 record at Kansas, and a budding track record of anger issues. (As it turned out, Notre Dame only wanted one of those three things.) Admittedly, I even pulled my name out of the running and managed to get a promotion to Vice President of Sales and a company car at my previous company. This time around, I'm thinking if I take my name out of the running for Weis' job, I can at least get my own office and a Hooters VIP card.
ESPN has actually fired the first salvo this time by extending Jon Gruden's contract as a color analyst for Monday Night Football -- and Gruden didn't even NEED to pull out of the Notre Dame search! Or even need to be coaching at the time! It's that easy people! A whole lot of people are about to get paid just by scaring their employer into thinking Notre Dame likes them. Don't be left behind!!
(2) Write a "Notre Dame is back!" style book in the first year of the new head coach's regime. While this method admittedly won't bring the windfall that a contract extension will, it is a way to keep your writing skills sharp and, as Tony Soprano liked to say, get a "little trickle of cash comin' in". The downside is that when Notre Dame's hire inevitably flames out, you feel a little foolish. Past examples include:
New Gold Standard: Inside Notre Dame's Magical 2005 Season, by Tim Prister.
The description of the book says it all: "Weis proved, in the space of a single season, to be a football maestro with a hard edge, a brilliant mind, an affinity for detail, and an uncanny sense of how to motivate people. He returned a program mired in the blahs to its rightful (and historic) place among college football's elite. This book takes you inside a season unlike any other in Fighting Irish history -- and inside Weis's master plan for restoring the Gold Standard in South Bend."
Go ahead and soak all of that in. Thirteen used copies are available at the link above at $1.99 apiece. Sounds about right.
Return to Glory: Inside Tyrone Willingham's Amazing First Season at Notre Dame by Alan Grant.
My favorite part of this book's description: "From sweltering summer practice to tense coaches' meetings to the sidelines of the Gator Bowl, Grant shows how a single season transformed one of the nation's most renowned sports programs -- and how an unlikely pairing of coach and university proved to be the beginning of something huge."
And by "something huge," I'm assuming Grant did not mean "three-year flameout that would end with millions of people, including Willingham himself, either implying or directly accusing Notre Dame of being racist in its employment practices....well, at least the firing part." Apparently, Notre Dame wasn't racist when they hired Willingham. Whatever.
I've already got a few titles for my book I'm going to write on Notre Dame's 2010 season: Urban Legend: Meyer And his MILFY Wife's First Season in South Bend
Drunken Stooper: Notre Dame Fans' Love Affair With Bob Stoops First Season!
Chucky's In Love: Gruden's Wonderful First Season at Notre Dame
Chicken Fried Football: Mark Mangino's Tasty First Season at Notre Dame
Fighting Irish, Like For Realzies: Tom Cable's Bloody First Season at Notre Dame
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
(3) Actually get hired by Notre Dame, fool everyone into thinking you're good, then suck royally and get fired. Of the three methods of gravy training off of the Notre Dame head-coaching carousel, this is by far the most lucrative. It's also the most difficult to achieve. First, while everyone has an employer they can dupe to get an extension or a computer to type up a new hardback, there can only be one Notre Dame head football coach (except from 2005 to 2008, when theoretically Notre Dame was paying Weis and Willingham).
Second, as George O'Leary proved, there's no guarantee that getting hired by Notre Dame means you'll make it out of the first week. Keep that resume clean, people! No fake PhD's, and if you put down "chess" as a hobby, be sure you at least know what the little horsey is called!
If you are one of those fortunate enough to be called "Notre Dame Head Football Coach", it helps to have some NFL experience in your background. That way when you dazzle the ND administration with your 5-2 record and a really close loss to USC, you can feign interest from the New York Giants into a ten-year extension and an eight-figure buyout.
Yep, Charlie's about to get paid. As an ND alum, I for one, am giddy to see my $100 annual donation pay for twelve plates of chicken wings. Stock tip of the day...buy Hooters. Um, and GO IRISH!!