Defensive coordinator will coach Dec. 28 game

Updated: December 1, 2004, 8:24 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame football players voted Wednesday to play in the Insight Bowl with defensive coordinator Kent Baer serving as interim coach.

Baer, who has been mentioned as a coaching candidate at his alma mater Utah State, had been the longest serving coach under Tyrone Willingham, who was fired Tuesday.

The school said the rest of the coaching staff would remain in place through the bowl game.

The players voted on the bowl because school officials said they didn't want the team going unless they were sure their hearts were in it.

"I think definitely there are some teammates who are angry at the decision (to fire Willingham) who think coach wasn't given a fair opportunity," offensive tackle Ryan Harris said.

Shawn Schoeffler, vice president of the Insight Bowl, said before the vote was announced that he expected the Irish to play, noting it would be unprecedented for a team to withdraw from a bowl.

"We haven't even talked about that yet because we plan on them being here," he said.

Irish players who met with the media on Wednesday before they voted said they wanted to play.

"I don't know why you wouldn't want to play another game, face another challenge," quarterback Brady Quinn said. "That's why we're here."

Notre Dame will likely face a Pac-10 team in the Dec. 28 game in Phoenix.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press