Notre Dame turns to Plan B

Originally Published: November 30, 2004
By Pat Forde | ESPN.com

Now that Nos. 1-10 on Notre Dame's wish list -- Utah's Urban Meyer -- has decided to coach at Florida, here's who the Irish may turn to next (in alphabetical order).

Butch Davis. Suddenly unemployed, and with a much better track record as a college coach than a pro coach. But he also said he wants to take a year off from coaching.

Kirk Ferentz. Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White and Ferentz are friends dating back to the days when White hired Ferentz as head coach at Maine back in 1990. The catch -- he just signed a new deal and it's highly unlikely he'd leave after doing that.

Jon Gruden. His dad coached there, and he went to high school in South Bend. Gruden was thought to be in play briefly after Bob Davie was fired, but now he's in the first year of a contract worth more than $4 million annually. Notre Dame won't be paying anywhere near that.

Dan Hawkins. It's a huge step up in wattage from Boise State, but the man's record is 44-6, he seems to have the right perspective for Notre Dame, and his offense is pyrotechnic. Hawkins told ESPN.com in late October that, as a Catholic, Notre Dame was one of the places he could, in his dreams, see himself coaching.

Lou Holtz. Available. And he knows how to beat USC.

Steve Mariucci: The New York Times is reporting the Irish have contacted the Detroit Lions coach.

Bobby Petrino. The Louisville coach is the only guy in the country with better offensive statistics to his name than Hawkins. But the Auburn fandango last year could cause schools to approach him with caution -- and when it comes to recruiting, the academic requirements at Notre Dame are much different than at Louisville.

Nick Saban. Because what list of Cadillac jobs, pro or college, is complete without the LSU coach?

Bob Stoops. He passed on a chance at the Notre Dame job before Willingham was hired, and has said a blue million times that he's happy at Oklahoma. While he's repeatedly said he has no interest in any other jobs, what would it hurt to listen. What better legacy than to be known as the guy who restored arguably the two greatest traditions in college football?

Jeff Tedford. The creative California coach has worked miracles with the Golden Bears but has been frustrated by the slow response to needs for upgraded facilities. If he's looking to walk from Berkeley, this would be a prime destination.

Charlie Weis. The New England offensive coordinator is a Notre Dame grad and is interested in the job.

Pat Forde is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPN4D@aol.com.

ALSO SEE