Thursday, December 16, 2004

Triage | by Dylan

In our ND Coaching Search: The Movie post, we cast Gary Burghoff as Father John Jenkins. Now, it would violate our journalistic integrity to alter it ex post facto, but we would like to take this opportunity to point out that our characterization of Jenkins as Radar O'Reilly was flawed (we still stand by our pick for Wilbon, however). The SBT has Jenkins’s words to the Faculty Board on Athletics, and it is a must-read. Key quotes:

“Because the decision facing the university was about who should be coach in the 2005 season and beyond, the period when I would be president, I felt it appropriate for me to have significant input on this decision. Consequently, on Monday morning, Nov. 29, I went to Fr. Malloy's office to discuss this situation, and urged that we should have a conversation with other leaders of the university about it. Fr. Malloy made it clear that he did not favor making a change, but expressed a willingness to have such a discussion.”
Later, and most interestingly:
“...Several people have spoken to the press and to me about the "traditional five-year contract" for Notre Dame football coaches. My understanding of this is as follows. When Fr. Ted Hesburgh hired football coaches he invited them to his office, told them they had five years, and sealed the agreement with a handshake. (At least that is the story Fr. Ted tells at the dinner table.) Indeed, except for Joe Kuharich (who coached from 1959 to 1962), all coaches have coached for at least five years. However, as you may know, today all coaches now have sophisticated agents who would not stand for such an informal agreement. Consequently, Coach Willingham had a contract that specified in great detail the consequences if either party terminated the relationship at any given point in the employment. It anticipated that either party might terminate the relationship before the term of the contract expired. (Five years, I believe, was never mentioned as a minimum.) It was under such a contract that Notre Dame hired Coach Willingham, and it was under such a contract to which he agreed to coach here. Had there been an assurance given to Coach Willingham or anyone else that he would have a minimum of five years, my position on this would have been different. However, I don't believe there was such assurance, and no one has ever said anything to the contrary.”
And the money quote:
"...Success in our football program consists of three things: 1) acting with integrity, 2) giving our students a superb education, and 3) excelling on the field. Success in only one or two of these areas is not the success we seek. Just as we would not tolerate a program which failed to graduate its students or to act with integrity, so we should not be content with one that fails to succeed on the field. I feel these three goals have always defined success for us in Notre Dame football, and this will remain so in the future."
Read the whole thing. Compare what Fr. Jenkins said yesterday to the previous public statements by the Administration regarding Willingham’s dismissal, particularly Kevin White’s neutered performance at the November 30th press conference and Dr. Monkenstein’s embarrassing rant to ESPN. What you see is a sea change. What you see is leadership. What you see is an unapologetic recommitment to principle.

The patient is on the table. The shrapnel has been removed and will soon be discarded. The bleeding has been stopped, and the surgeon is preparing to close.

At the 4077th, Radar O'Reilly ordered supplies. Radar passed on announcements from HQ. Radar slept with a teddy bear.

Father Jenkins is no Radar O’Reilly.