This one was so very hard. Notre Dame has enough names to fill out several Mount Rushmores. One for coaches, one for quarterbacks, one for running backs, one for other football players, one for basketball, etc. And when comparing players to coaches, the players had such fleeting careers. Guys like Gipper, Montana, and Brown only played for four years maximum. The coaches get to stay for a lot longer, leaving a deeper mark on programs. And that is definitely true with Notre Dame.
We left it up to the fans to help and help they did–here and elsewhere. And for Notre Dame, we are going to add coaches Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. Want to know what a mark Parseghian left on the sporting world? His first name is often an answer to a crossword puzzle clue. How many mothers and grandmothers would not know what goalposts are, but know his name. But in all seriousness… his record was outstanding… 95-17-4. Two national titles, seven years apart. In the 10 years before Parseghian, Notre Dame was 51-48. In the year before he took over, Notre Dame was 2-7. Parseghian restored Notre Dame football at a time of need.
Lou Holtz? For all the advantages Notre Dame has, Lou Holtz took over a program that was 30-26-1 in the five preceding years. He went 100-35-2, including a national championship. Only Rockne has won more games for the Fighting Irish. By comparison, in the 5 years before Lou and the 13 years after him, Notre Dame’s record has been 121-94, only slightly above .500. Holtz’s accomplishments stand apart from his contemporaries.
So, with all due respect to the other great players and coaches, the final Notre Dame Mount Rushmore is: Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz.
Other Mount Rushmores:
- Maryland Preliminary Maryland Final
- Boston College Boston College Final
- Wake Forest Wake Forest Final
- Miami Miami Final
- Virginia Tech Virginia Tech Final
- Syracuse Syracuse Final
- Virginia Virginia Final
- Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Final
- North Carolina State North Carolina State Final
- Clemson Clemson Final
- Georgia Tech Georgia Tech Final
- Louisville Lousiville Final
- Notre Dame
- North Carolina
- Florida State
For more on the Notre Dame decisions, see the original discussion…