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School Ties, Continued Next up for Willingham and the Irish: Stanford, the school that gave him his first head coaching job

Sept. 30, 2002
Sept. 30, 2002

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Sept. 30, 2002

School Ties, Continued Next up for Willingham and the Irish: Stanford, the school that gave him his first head coaching job

Don't expect Tyrone Willingham to be any more effusive when
Stanford visits South Bend on Oct. 5 than he was facing his alma
mater last Saturday. "I have a special relationship with all of
the young men in that program," says Willingham, the man who was
dubbed the Palo Alto Paterno while leading the Cardinal to a
Pac-10 title and four bowl appearances in seven years. "Everyone
at Stanford, from [athletic director] Ted Leland down, had real
vision. It was a great place to work."

This is an article from the Sept. 30, 2002 issue Original Layout

And what now in Palo Alto? Any bitterness at his departure last
December was smoothed over when Willingham turned up for the
Cardinal's postseason banquet in January. "There's no animosity,"
senior guard Paul Weinacht told the San Jose Mercury News, "but
I'll tell you this: There are 85 guys here who want to go kick
[Notre Dame's] ass." But the idea that the Cardinal could
backslide did seem to rankle a few players who have made
backhanded reference to the coach's regimented ways as compared
with those of his successor, former Florida assistant Buddy
Teevens. "Coach Willingham was more of a disciplinarian, more
stern," defensive lineman Matt Leonard told the San Francisco
Chronicle. "You wouldn't invite him to dine with you, because he
scared you."

If Stanford plans to put a scare into Notre Dame, it will need to
improve in some key areas. The young Cardinal, which plays
Arizona State this Saturday, had trouble making stops in the red
zone in a 34-27 season-opening loss to Boston College, and while
the team scored the most points in a single game in 21 years
during its 63-26 win over San Jose State on Saturday, it
committed five turnovers and 12 penalties in the process--the kind
of errors Notre Dame has fed off this season. "A lot of our guys
played young and made some mistakes," said Teevens after the
Boston College loss. "But the belief that they would have success
was there, which is very, very important."

Willingham's a believer as well. "They have plenty of talent and
made a smart hire in Teevens," he says. "They ought to do
well."

COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS CARDINAL RULER Willingham took Stanford to four bowls.