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Alums say Irish prefer money to wins

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- More than 400 Notre Dame alumni signed a
letter to the school saying the football program needs to make
significant progress next season or "a coaching change will become
necessary."

The letter is dated Jan. 26 and was sent to Notre Dame's board
of trustees.

"We have 100,000 alumni and we hear from any number of them on
any number of topics. We take virtually all of them seriously,"
Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin said Monday. "Whether the board
of trustees will respond, I can't say, but it is doubtful they
would debate these matters in the media."

The letter is critical of the football program, saying Notre
Dame has made several poor coaching hires and placed more
importance on making money than winning games.

It also asked that someone from outside the university be
appointed to the vacant position of executive vice president and
concentrate on finances, administration and athletics. The Rev.
Edward Malloy, university president, has been handling those duties
since 2002.

"The key point of this is that we feel that the football
program itself is an integral part of what the university is all
about," Tim Kelley, a 1964 graduate who co-wrote the letter, told
The Indianapolis Star. "It's not just football for football's
sake."

Kelley said the letter is not asking that coach Tyrone
Willingham be fired. He said a similar letter was sent to the board
three years ago, when Bob Davie was coach.

The Fighting Irish started 8-0 in 2002, Willingham's first
season as coach. Since then, they have gone 7-10.