Notre Dame, IN (UHND.com) – Ever since he took over as head coach at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis has had past players serve as honorary coaches for the annual Blue-Gold game, but this year Weis dialed up two legendary former coaches – Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz. The two national championship winning coaches will also be joined by some former assistants as well as Ross Browner and Tony Rice who will serve as honorary captains.
This year’s Blue-Gold game was already shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated spring games in some time because of all of the subplots this spring practice season will bring us – the quarterback race, developing a new starting running back, new receivers, three new offensive and defensive linemen, two new defensive backfield starters, and oh yeah… an entirely new defensive scheme with rookie defensive coordinator Corwin Brown. Adding Parseghian and Holtz into the mix only adds to the already building anticipation.
Parseghian will be joined by Joe Yonto and Brian Boulac on one staff with Browner serving as the honorary captain. Both Yonto and Boulac have served many roles within the University over the years and Boulac is still currently an Assistant Athletic director with Notre Dame to this day. Boulac is also a former player and coach under Parseghian, Dan Devine, and Gerry Faust. Yonto also served as an assistant coach for multiple coaching regimes at Notre Dame. He was a defensive coordinator for Parseghian and Devine and was also apart of Holtz’s staff at times. Yonto also played for the Irish under Frank Leahy.
Browner, the honorary captain for Ara’s team, played on two national championship teams at Notre Dame – 1973 and 1977 – and is one a few Notre Dame alums to be members of both the College Football and NFL Hall’s of Fame.
Holtz’s staff will also be made up of former assistants with Foge Fazio and Tony Yelovich. Fazio served as Holtz’s defensive coordinator in 1986-1987 and was most recently the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2001-2003. Like Boulac, Yelovich still serves as an Assistant Athletic Director for Notre Dame after being on the Notre Dame coaching staff for 8 years from 1986-1994. As a coach he spent time coaching the offensive line, wide receivers, and tight ends before ending his coaching career as the recruiting coordinator for Holtz from 1991-94.
Holtz’s honorary captain, Tony Rice, needs very little introduction as the last quarterback to lead the Irish to a national championship in 1988.
This year’s cast of honorary coaches and captains might just be the best group Weis has collected in the eyes of Notre Dame fans. Both Holtz and Parseghian are held in the highest regard by most Notre Dame fans – as are Browner and Rice.
What effect this will have on recruiting for that weekend is hard to gauge since the recruits coming in are too young to remember Parseghian and probably know Holtz mainly from his job on ESPN, but from a fan standpoint, it’ll be like being a kid in a candy store seeing both Holtz and Parseghian roaming the sidelines of Notre Dame Stadium one more time.
For many fans, this will be the first time they’ve seen Parseghian coaching an Irish team beings as he retired from Notre Dame over 30 years ago.
All in all, Weis did a great job of picking a heck of a group of coaches and honorary captains this year which will make this year’s Blue-Gold a real treat for Notre Dame fans.