Notre Dame’s First African American Coach Gets Pink Slip

On Tuesday, Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham was fired after what was regarded as a dismal 6-5 season. The firing came three days after losing to rival USC by 31 points, the third straight loss to the Trojans by such a margin.

Willingham was hired in 2001, becoming the first black head coach of any team in Notre Dame’s history. He took the job after coaching Stanford to a 9-3 record in his final season and bringing them to four bowl games in his seven years with the Cardinals.

His firing leaves only two black head coaches in Division I-A football, Karl Dorrell at UCLA and Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State. Just recently, head coach Tony Samuel was fired by New Mexico State and Fitz Hill resigned as coach from San Jose State last week.

Executive director of the Black Coaches Association, Floyd Keith, said he was disappointed with Notre Dame’s decision.

"In three years, I think he has done everything, short of winning a national championship, and I don’t think he inherited national championship talent," Keith said.

In his first season, Willingham had many fans attention by turning the Fighting Irish into a 10-3 team after five sub par seasons under former coach Bob Davie. The season culminated with an invitation to the Gator Bowl.

Notre Dame has had a storied history as arguably the best school in college football history. They have won 8 national championships, most by any Division I school, and have had 7 Heisman Trophy Winners, also the most in college football.