QB coach, assistant resigns after triple bypass

Updated: June 1, 2005, 5:55 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – David Cutcliffe resigned as Notre Dame's assistant football coach, saying Wednesday that he hasn't fully recovered from triple bypass heart surgery.

"I'm not going to be ready to jump back into it with the ability to do the kind of job I expect from myself," Cutcliffe said. "I'm just to a point now where I'm just really getting into the rehab good, getting some endurance."

Cutcliffe, fired as Mississippi's coach in December, didn't take part in spring practice at Notre Dame after his surgery March 9.

The 50-year-old was expected to be the top offensive assistant during coach Charlie Weis' first season and use his experience coaching Peyton and Eli Manning to help develop Irish quarterback Brady Quinn.

Cutcliffe, however, said he suffered several setbacks since the surgery. He has lost about 30 pounds and estimates he is about halfway through his rehabilitation program.

"I just want that energy level back," he said. "I want to feel what I felt through most of my life. I'm looking forward to that opportunity. I know the most important thing right now is to try to get fully recovered."

Cutcliffe said he doesn't expect to be back at full strength until the fall.

Weis, who had health problems on his own, said Cutcliffe made the decision to quit on his own. He said he told Cutcliffe he could have as much time as he needed.

"This was his decision. It was not a forced decision on him," Weis said. "He has a 4-year-old daughter, and I don't think he feels it's in his best interest to do this at this time."

Weis said he already has a replacement for Cutcliffe, but declined to identify the person until a contract was signed.

Weis said Cutcliffe told him last week that he didn't think he would be able to coach this year. Weis asked Cutcliffe to think about the decision over the weekend, and Cutcliffe then called Weis back Tuesday to resign.

"I wanted to make sure that he wasn't making a rash decision," Weis said. "It was important to me to let him know I was going to give him all the opportunity I could to make that decision."

Cutcliffe was 44-29 in six seasons at Ole Miss, where he coached Eli Manning. He was fired after his first losing season with the Rebels. Before that he was an assistant at Tennessee for 17 years, including six years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he coached Manning's older brother, Peyton.

Weis received permission from the NCAA to use former Irish quarterback Ron Powlus, the school's director of personnel development, as a coach to fill in for Cutcliffe during spring practice. Weis focused on working with Quinn, while Powlus, a four-year starter for the Irish in the 1990s, worked with the other quarterbacks.

Cutcliffe said he hopes to return to coaching.

"We'll just kind of see what the future holds," he said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press