Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cut Out | by Jay

Melancholy news today.

Still in cardiac rehab after his bypass surgery a few months ago, QB coach David Cutcliffe resigned his post as quarterbacks coach today and will take some time off to recuperate. Said Cutcliffe at the announcement presser:

During my limited time at Notre Dame, I learned to appreciate the unique spirit inherent in this university and the people who enliven it. It's a spirit that demands full attention and boundless energy. I'm happy to say that I am on the mend and, in fact, that I am healthier since my bypass surgery than I've been in years. However, it will be months before I can claim that mental, physical, and emotional intensity and would never give any program less than the passion and energy it deserves. To do so would unfairly penalize the Irish players, staff, students, alumni, and devoted friends. As anyone who knows me can attest, it's all or nothing with me.
The good news for Coach Cutcliffe is that it's not a permanent retirement, and it sounds like he'd like to get back into coaching as soon as he's up and about. He's only 50 years old, so his potential career is far from over.

It's a shame for us, though.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Getting a guy with Cutcliffe's experience and expertise to be "just a QB coach" was a real coup for ND in the first place, and it was a confluence of fate that saw him ignominiously dismissed from Ole Miss the same year that Weis took over at ND and canvassed the nation for the best assistants he could find. We were lucky he was available, and we were lucky to get him. I think many of us felt he was the top assistant on the staff; as the mentor to the Mannings, and a very successful OC and head coach in his own right, Cutcliffe was overqualified for the position.

For his part, Cutcliffe seemed genuinely excited to be under the dome. A few months ago the SBT peeked in on Cutcliffe to see how he was adapting to life north of the Mason-Dixon line, and it sounded like he was doing great and was really looking forward to tutoring Brady Quinn. Cutcliffe was also a key member of Charlie's recruiting team, and his southern roots would have been a welcome entry into a region of the country where ND would love to build up some cachet.

One thing that's been overlooked a bit is Cutcliffe's other title, that of Assistant Head Coach. Having a senior guy with former head coaching experience was no doubt one of the big draws for Charlie Weis as he moved into his new role, and Charlie will miss being able to lean on Cutcliffe for advice as he acclimates himself to being a head coach.

ND's losing a hell of a coach and a real gem of a guy. Replacing him won't be easy.

In the meantime, here's wishing him a speedy recovery, and I'm sure any notes of encouragement would find their way to Coach Cutcliffe via the ND athletic department mailing address.