Dec. 5, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Notre Dame head coach Bob Davie, whose 2000 squad has earned a Bowl Championship Series berth in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, has signed a five-year contract to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish football program through the 2005 season.
"The head coaching position at Notre Dame is the most visible and, from that perspective, the most demanding in the country. Bob clearly has grown and learned a great deal during his four years in the job and he has demonstrated to me not only that he is a very good football coach, but also that he has the respect and confidence of his players and staff," said Irish athletic director Kevin White.
"My confidence in him is unqualified, and there's no doubt the future of Notre Dame football is bright. Plus, and this is as important as any of his achievements, Bob embraces the principles and values that Notre Dame represents.
"I've personally spent a great deal of time with Bob over the last nine months, and I've been extremely impressed with the way he has handled the entire football program. This agreement comes about after a year-end evaluation of the 2000 season as well as a close examination of the current state of the program.
"This assessment involved not only what's happened on the football field, but also how our football student-athletes have performed in the classroom and how they've handled themselves off the field. In both arenas they've represented themselves and the University well, which is a great credit to Bob and his staff.
"I think Bob feels better about where we are in all aspects of the football program than at any time since he's been here, and I would agree with that assessment."
"I'm excited about the leadership Kevin White has brought to our athletic program. We've all been energized by it, and by the direction our program is headed in.
"It's extremely encouraging to me that the University recognizes the foundation that's been established in our football program and that the efforts of our players and coaches have been rewarded.
"All of us are excited about the potential shown by our football team this year, and we look forward to the future with great anticipation. With the momentum we have, it feels a little bit like a new beginning."
The 2000 campaign marks Davie's fourth and most successful with the Irish, thanks to Notre Dame's current 9-2 record, a number-10 final regular-season ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls -- with a New Year's Day matchup with fifth-rated and 10-1 Oregon State on the docket in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Davie is one of three finalists for the 2000 Football News national coach-of-the-year award, after his Irish produced a four-and-a-half-game turnaround from last year's 5-7 season. Notre Dame accomplished that by tying an all-time NCAA season record for fewest turnovers (eight), ranking 14th nationally in rushing and 17th in passing efficiency. In addition, the Irish made drastic improvements from a year ago in defense and special teams.
The Irish in 2000 produced victories over five teams that eventually qualified for bowl games -- Texas A&M (Independence Bowl after 7-4 season), Purdue (Rose after 8-3), West Virginia (Music City after 6-5), Air Force (Silicon Valley Classic after 8-3) and Boston College (Aloha after 6-5). The Irish, for only the second time in NCAA history, played four straight ranked opponents to open the season, with their only defeats coming in overtime to top-ranked Nebraska and on a late score at Michigan State.
Davie's career record stands at 30-18 (.625), following 9-2 regular seasons in both 1998 and 2000. His first team in '97 qualified for the Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl, while the '98 Irish squad participated in the Toyota Gator Bowl. He also was one of 10 finalists in '98 for the Walter Camp Football Foundation/Street & Smith's national coach-of-the-year award.
Davie's four seasons at Notre Dame have produced six wins over ranked opponents -- including victories in '97 over 11th-rated LSU on the road and 22nd-ranked West Virginia, in '98 over fifth-ranked and defending national champion Michigan, in '99 against 23rd-ranked Oklahoma and in 2000 against 23rd-rated Texas A&M and 13th-ranked Purdue.
This marks Davie's seventh season overall at Notre Dame, following three seasons as the Irish defensive coordinator (1994-96). He previously coached nine seasons as an assistant at Texas A&M ('85-'93), two at Tulane ('83-'84), four at Pittsburgh ('77, '80-'82) and two at Arizona ('78-'79). He spent both years at Tulane as defensive coordinator and the last five at Texas A&M in that role.