Monday, July 18, 2005

Minter's Tale | by Jay

The Texarkana Gazette had a nice profile of Rick Minter last week, while he was back for a visit to his hometown. Here's an excerpt (but the whole interview is well worth a read):

...A year after Minter went to Ball State, Holtz was named head coach at Notre Dame. Minter desperately wanted to work for Holtz again, but he was turned down five times.

"Coach Holtz wouldn't even talk to me those first few times," Minter said. "I changed my strategy and interviewed for jobs at Colorado State and the Navy. I called Coach Holtz for advice, and he told me to stick it out at Ball State and I would be his next hire. I did, and I was really surprised when he hired me to be his defensive coordinator."

Two Cotton Bowls with the Irish were not enough to keep Minter from accepting his first head job two years later at Cincinnati. What followed brought him great satisfaction and a very disappointing conclusion.

"We accomplished some good things at Cincinnati," Minter said. "We went to the first bowl game in 50 years in 1997. We then went to bowl games in 2000, 2001 and 2002. We won the league in 2002. It was the first conference championship in 30-something years, and then in 2003 we go 5-7 and I get released. The first guy to call me was Coach Holtz, who offered me a job at South Carolina.

"I was thinking about going to the NFL, but I owed Coach Holtz. He had given me my first real break at Arkansas, and then hired me at Notre Dame.

"I was disappointed more than anything when released by Cincinnati. You realize this day and age it doesn't really matter who you work for, it matters who your boss is. We had raised the bar at Cincinnati, so high that they're now in the Big East. I take pride in knowing how we built that program over 10 years. I just didn't get the fruits of my labor. It was a very difficult place to coach. We didn't always have all the resources and best players. I'd like a chance to do it again."

After one winning season at South Carolina, Minter was looking for work again after Holtz resigned.

"There wasn't a pre-existing relationship between me and Charlie Weis (Notre Dame's new head coach), but once my name got in front of him I think he was influenced by mutual friends," Minter said. "I was a defensive guy and he was an offensive guy. I had Notre Dame ties and he was a Notre Dame graduate. I had been a head coach. Those factors and others played in my favor."

Weis has made it off limits to his staff when talking about the Irish's prospects this fall, but Minter is still eager to promote Notre Dame.

"Our goal is to get this thing back to where it belongs at Notre Dame. We have new facilities, and there's so many other good things we have to offer a young man coming into our program. We think it's just a matter of time that we get things back to where they belong and that old mystique back there.

"I've always said if you're going to be an assistant or coordinator in college, why not Notre Dame, because quality cannot be underestimated. The image people have of Notre Dame overall is very positive; now it's up to us and the players to deliver and help get the mystique back on the athletic field.

"Are we the same program we were 10 years ago in the eyes of an 18-year-old? No. But to do that we've got to win some games and get back in the big bowls, and that's what our goal is."

Will MInter be a head coach again?

"To get what you want in life, make sure others around you get what they want in life," he said. "If we help Notre Dame get what it needs and deserves, and Charlie Weis gets what he needs and deserves, I've got to think somewhere along the line I'll be satisfied."