O'Leary resigns as Notre Dame coach

Friday, December 14, 2001

AP Sports WriterSOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- George O'Leary resigned as Notre Dame football coach less than a week after being hired, admitting he lied about playing the game in college in his personal biography.

"Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans," O'Leary said in a statement released Friday by the university.

O'Leary never earned a letter playing football at New Hampshire even though his biography says he earned three. In fact, he never played in a game.

"The integrity and credibility of Notre Dame is impeccable and with that in mind, I will resign my position as head football coach effective December 13, 2001," O'Leary's statement said.

Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White said O'Leary has acknowledged inaccuracies in his biographical materials.

"I understand that these inaccuracies represent a very human failing; nonetheless, they constitute a breach of trust that makes it impossible for us to go forward with our relationship," White said.

The search for a new coach will begin immediately, White said.

O'Leary, who left Georgia Tech on Sunday to become coach of the Irish, is listed in his biography in the Georgia Tech media guide as a three-time letter-winner at New Hampshire at offensive line and fullback. It also was included in a biography handed out by Notre Dame after his hiring to replace Bob Davie was announced.

But O'Leary went to New Hampshire only for two years, and never made it into a game.

O'Leary transferred to New Hampshire after two years at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. He said he was on the New Hampshire team in 1967 and 1968, but was unable to play his first year because of mononucleosis, and did not play his second year because of a knee injury.

"It sounds like at some point somebody in our (sports information) business put that in there and it wasn't right. Who knows why?" John Heisler, Notre Dame's associate athletic director, said Thursday. "There was no intent to deceive anyone here. Somewhere along the line someone made a mistake."

Though O'Leary has said he was not sure how the information got into his biography, a document obtained by The Union Leader of Manchester indicates he listed the information when hired as a coach at Syracuse in 1980.

According to the school's sports information department, coaches and athletes personally filled out the biographical forms. The newspaper reported Friday that O'Leary's documents lists "Univ. of New Hampshire -- 3 yr. lettered" as part of his athletic background.

The sports information department at New Hampshire said it has no record of O'Leary on a football roster, and that it does not keep records of letter winners.

O'Leary is listed as a 1968 graduate of New Hampshire with a degree in physical education.

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