Ex-Irish coach heads to Washington; Notre Dame, Stanford also make moves

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2004

SEATTLE -- Tyrone Willingham has agreed to become Washington's third head coach in four seasons, just two weeks after being fired from Notre Dame.

''I am excited about being here,'' Willingham told reporters Sunday evening before meeting with players at the Bank of America Arena on University of Washington campus.

He refrained from answering questions -- including what he would say to the team -- until the announcement scheduled for Monday.

''As you know with me, it always stays within the locker room,'' he said with a grin. ''What you say to the team is really important so I'll make sure it's their ears and my ears.''

The hiring was confirmed Sunday afternoon in an e-mail statement from Washington's athletic department spokesman Jim Daves. The new coach was to be introduced to the public Monday morning at a press conference with UW President Mark Emmert and Athletic Director Todd Turnder.

The decision makes Washington the only Division I-A school with black head coaches in the two major sports. Men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar is in his third season leading the Huskies.

Willingham was 21-15 in three seasons at Notre Dame, but his Nov. 30 firing was controversial. He had the shortest non-interim tenure of any Fighting Irish coach in 70 years, raising questions about whether he was given enough time to succeed.

After an 8-0 start in 2002, his teams went 13-15 over two-plus seasons.

Notre Dame picks Weis

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has told friends he has accepted the Notre Dame coaching job, returning to the school he graduated from in 1978.

He arrived at Notre Dame on Sunday night, just hours after the Patriots beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Weis arrived with a group of several people, including athletic director Kevin White, in a sports utility vehicle.

Weis was dressed in a suit and smiled as he entered the Joyce Athletic Center, where the sports administration offices are located.

He didn't answer questions, but said, ''Thank you folks. We'll see you tomorrow.''

Harris gets Cardinal job

STANFORD, Calif. -- Pittsburgh's Walt Harris was hired as Stanford's new football coach Sunday, giving the Cardinal the offensive-minded leader they sought to replace Buddy Teevens.

Stanford spokesman Gary Migdol said Harris accepted the job Sunday, and the school planned an official announcement for Monday.

''He's accepted and will be here tomorrow,'' Migdol said. ''He's in Pittsburgh today.''

Harris, 58, reportedly was meeting with his team Sunday and is expected to coach the 19th-ranked Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl against Utah on Jan. 1 before assuming his new job.

Harris interviewed on campus Friday, two days after Southern California offensive coordinator Norm Chow visited to interview. Athletic director Ted Leland offered Harris the job Saturday, then met with university president John Hennessey and provost John Etchemendy as a formality in the hiring process.

''He interviewed very well and presented himself very well,'' Stanford linebacker Jon Alston told The Associated Press in a phone interview Sunday. ''In my impression, he's done some really impressive things, and hopefully he can continue them at Stanford. I thought he was a coach's coach. The things he was able to accomplish at Pittsburgh speak for themselves.''



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