Commentary

More lows than highs for ND since '88

Updated: November 30, 2009, 5:37 PM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Here's a quick look at the ups and downs at Notre Dame since its last national championship in 1988:

[+] EnlargeLou Holtz
AP Photo/Rob SchumacherLou Holtz led the Irish to the 1988 national title.

Jan. 2, 1989: Behind quarterback Tony Rice and receiver Raghib "Rocket" Ismail, Notre Dame defeated West Virginia 34-21 in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 12-0 and win the school's 11th national championship.

Nov. 25, 1989: No. 2-ranked Miami ended No. 1 Notre Dame's 23-game winning streak, 27-10.

Feb. 5, 1990:

Notre Dame signed an exclusive five-year contract with NBC, for a reported $35 million, to televise each of its home football games. The Irish broke ranks with the College Football Association, which negotiated broadcast rights for 66 universities.

Nov. 13, 1993: No. 2 Notre Dame upsets No. 1 Florida State, 31-24. The Irish would finish the season 11-1. Florida State would go on to beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl and finish No. 1 in the final AP Poll; the Irish finished second.

Nov. 20, 1996: Lou Holtz resigned as Notre Dame's coach after 11 seasons. Holtz compiled a 100-30-2 record and led the Fighting Irish to a school-record nine consecutive bowl games.

Nov. 25, 1996: Without conducting a national search, Notre Dame promoted defensive coordinator Bob Davie to head coach. Davie had never been a head coach before replacing Holtz.

July 16, 1998: Former Notre Dame offensive line coach Joe Moore successfully sued the school for age discrimination and was awarded close to $86,000 by a jury after a week-long trial.

Feb. 5, 1999: Notre Dame's Board of Trustees voted unanimously not to pursue membership in the Big Ten Conference, leaving the Irish as one of college football's last independents.

Dec. 17, 1999: The NCAA placed Notre Dame's football program on probation for the first time in school history and stripped it of two scholarships for various violations related to a booster giving improper benefits to players during the 1993-1998 seasons.

Feb. 8, 2000: Athletics director Mike Wadsworth resigned and the school reduced Rev. E. William Beauchamp's oversight of the athletics department, ending a decades-old practice.

Dec. 2, 2001: Notre Dame fired Davie as its coach after he compiled a 35-25 record in five seasons. The Fighting Irish fired him only one year after it gave him a new five-year contract.

Dec. 14, 2001: George O'Leary resigned as Notre Dame's coach, less than a week after he was hired from Georgia Tech to replace Davie. O'Leary was asked to resign after admitting he lied about his academic and athletic background on his résumé and biography.

[+] EnlargeTyrone Willingham
Craig Jones/Getty ImagesThe Tyrone Willingham era at Notre Dame lasted only three seasons.

Dec. 31, 2001: The Fighting Irish hired Stanford's Tyrone Willingham as its new coach. Willingham became the first African-American coach of any sport in Notre Dame history.

Oct. 26, 2002: The Irish began Willingham's first season with the program's first 8-0 start since 1993 after defeating Florida State 34-24 on the road. Notre Dame was upset by Boston College 14-7 the next week and finished 10-3.

Nov. 30, 2004: Notre Dame fired Willingham after he compiled a 21-15 record in three seasons, including five losses of 31 points or more. Willingham had the shortest tenure of any Notre Dame coach since Hunk Anderson from 1931 to '33.

Dec. 4, 2004: Utah coach Urban Meyer is named Florida's new coach, spurning Notre Dame's offer to replace Willingham. Meyer, a former Irish assistant coach, led the Gators to BCS national championships in two of his first four seasons.

Dec. 13, 2004: The Fighting Irish hired New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis as their new coach. Weis, a 1978 Notre Dame graduate, becomes the first alumnus to coach the Fighting Irish since Hugh Devore served as interim coach in 1963.

Oct. 15, 2005: Weis nearly led the Irish to an upset of No. 1 USC, losing 34-31 to the Trojans after quarterback Matt Leinart scored on a one-yard run with three seconds to play at Notre Dame Stadium.

Oct. 29, 2005: After a 5-2 start in his first season, Weis received a new 10-year contract from Notre Dame that was believed to be worth between $30 and $40 million.

Jan. 3, 2007: Notre Dame lost to No. 4 LSU 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl, extending its bowl losing streak to an NCAA-record nine defeats in a row. The Irish finished 10-3 after starting the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason Associated Press top 25 poll.

Nov. 3, 2007: The Irish, who started the season by losing their first five games, fell to Navy 46-44 in triple overtime, ending their 43-game winning streak over the Midshipmen. Notre Dame finished the season with a 3-9 record, the most losses in school history.

June 19, 2008: Despite declining ratings, NBC extended its broadcast agreement with Notre Dame for the fourth time through the 2015 season.

Dec. 3, 2008: Athletics director Jack Swarbrick announced Weis would return for a fifth season in 2009, after the Irish finished 6-6 during the regular season in 2008. Notre Dame went on to beat Hawaii 49-21 in the Hawaii Bowl, ending its nine-game losing streak in bowl games.

Nov. 7, 2009: After starting the season with a 6-2 record, the Fighting Irish lost to Navy 23-21 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish lost their next two games to Pittsburgh and Connecticut to fall to 6-5 overall.

Nov. 30, 2009: Notre Dame Stadium fired coach Charlie Weis, who ended his five-year Irish tenure with a 35-27 record.

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.

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