Sunday, February 8, 2015

Former Domer Billy Casper Passes at Age 83

World Golf Hall of Famer Billy Casper died yesterday at the age of 83.  He won 51 golf tournaments -- seventh most in history -- including the 1959 US Open and the 1970 Masters.

What many don't know is Billy Casper enrolled as a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame back in the fall of 1950.  He never finished his first semester at ND -- see story linked below. 

You'll enjoy browsing the photo album from his return to campus back in 2012:



"Next Coach In" -- Thanks Coach Tony Alford!

Word broke yesterday morning that Notre Dame's Tony Alford had accepted an Assistant Head Coach / Running Backs Coach position at "that school in Columbus."  It became official when he spoke with Pete Sampson at Irish Illustrated yesterday afternoon confirming his move to Ohio State.  ALFORD INTERVIEW

This makes "three" -- the total number of Notre Dame Football coaching assistants who've left for new jobs in the last five days; Matt LaFleur (Atlanta Falcons), Kerry Cooks (Oklahoma) and now Coach Alford.

It should be noted the only time Brian Kelly lost three assistant coaches after a season at Notre Dame (including two to Ohio State) --- the Fighting Irish went 12 - 0 the next season and played in the National Championship game!

Over the past three years I've had the privilege of crossing paths on numerous occasions with Tony Alford.  All I can say is this -- CLASS ACT.  He was a wonderful representative of the University of Notre Dame.  I will always wish him well.  Thanks Tony!

So, where do we go from here?  The top rumored candidates (in the media) are these -- listed below -- zero confirmation yet from the University of Notre Dame on any of these individuals.

If these three are the "NEXT COACHES IN" at Notre Dame -- we'll be just fine...


TODD LYGHT -- link from the Tennessean.
  • Notre Dame fans will remember this name!  Lyght (Flint, MI) was a two-time All-American defensive back for the Fighting Irish during the Lou Holtz era.  He was a starter on the 1988 National Championship team.  LYGHT ND HIGHLIGHTS
  • A First Round Pick (#5 overall) in the 1991 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.  Lyght had a 12 year career in the NFL -- he's a Super Bowl Champion (XXXIV), NFL All Pro (1999) and NFL Pro Bowl (2000).  Todd had 37 interceptions in his NFL career -- taking 4 to the "house" for TD's.
  • Lyght began his coaching career at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas in 2009 and 2010 -- ND has recruited three players from Gorman in the last few years; Ronnie Stanley, Nicco Fertitta and Alize Jones
  • In 2011 Todd joined Chip Kelly's staff at the University of Oregon (defensive backs)
  • In 2013 Todd joined Chip Kelly's staff at the Philadelphia Eagles (defensive backs)  LYGHT TALKS EAGLES DB'S
  • And, just a little more than three weeks ago -- LYGHT HIRED BY VANDY

JEFF QUINN -- link from Bull Run.
  • If you've followed Brian Kelly's coaching career a name you'll find at a majority of his stops is Jeff Quinn.  Quinn was an assistant for Brian Kelly for 21 years at Grand Valley, Central Michigan and Cincinnati -- before he left to be the head coach at the University at Buffalo.
  • Coach Quinn's wiki page:  JEFF QUINN WIKI
  • Video of Coach Kelly & Coach Quinn:  GRIDIRON CONVERSATION

  • Fighting Irish fans will recognize this name as well.  Autry Denson is the all-time leading rusher in Notre Dame football history with 4,448 yards. He played five years in the NFL for the Buccaneers, Dolphins, Bears and Colts
  • Autry talking Notre Dame experience:  DENSON ON NOTRE DAME
  • In 2010, Autry was named the head football coach at Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, FL -- HEAD COACH
  • In 2011, Denson was named Running Backs Coach at Bethune-Cookman where he coaches for three seasons.
  • In 2014, Autry took a job at Miami of Ohio on Chuck Martin's staff (former ND assistant) as Running Backs Coach -- DENSON MIAMI OF OHIO BIO
  • Interview of Autry at Miami of Ohio:  DENSON TALKS RUNNING BACKS
  • And just a little more than three weeks ago -- DENSON HIRED BY USF

Again, no confirmation on any of these individuals -- just plenty of media speculation at this point. 

Another name to keep an eye on is -- JEFF BURRIS:
  • Burris played running back (goal line situations) and defensive back for the Fighting Irish -- he was named an All-American as a defensive back in 1993.  JEFF BURRIS ND HIGHLIGHTS
  • He was a First Round NFL Draft Pick of the Buffalo Bills
  • Played ten years in the NFL for the Bills, Colts and Bengals  BURRIS TALKING COLTS
  • Burris is currently the Cornerbacks Coach and Quality Control Coach for the Miami Dolphins.  He's been with the Dolphins since 2013.
  • Prior to that he spent a year coaching defensive backs at UMass (2012) and a year in the UFL coaching defensive backs for the Sacramento franchise.

Here's some additional names being discussed in the media as possible replacements for Coach Alford:
  • Chad Scott, Kentucky running backs coach - A Florida native, Scott played at Kentucky and in the NFL. He coached running backs at Troy (2007-09) and Texas Tech (2010-12) before joining the staff at Kentucky.
  • Derek Lewis - Lewis was the tight end coach at Florida under Will Muschamp. He's a New Orleans native was an assistant at North Texas (2007) and Minnesota (2008-10) prior to coaching at Florida. He was named by as one of the Top 25 recruiters in the nation for the 2012 cycle. 
  • Charles Huff, Penn State running backs coach. Huff was at Western Michigan in 2013 and was hired away by James Franklin. He coached with the Buffalo Bills in 2012 and was also at Vanderbilt for a season.