Terry Brennan, Youthful Notre Dame Football Coach, Dies at 93

Terry Brennan was one among Leahy’s Lads, the elusive runners, strong-armed passers and muscular linemen who propelled Notre Dame to 4 nationwide soccer championships underneath Coach Frank Leahy within the 1940s.

Brennan performed halfback on two of these groups, and he starred within the annual rivalry with Army. But he was remembered most for succeeding Leahy at age 25, a transfer that startled the faculty soccer world.

Notre Dame introduced Wednesday that Brennan, who was residing in Wilmette, Ill., has died at 93. It didn’t present particulars.

Brennan took over a soccer program that had reworked Notre Dame from a small, largely unknown Roman Catholic establishment in South Bend, Ind., to a storied identify in in style tradition. But his teaching résumé was restricted to a few highschool championship groups in Chicago and one yr as Leahy’s freshman coach.

When Leahy retired and Brennan changed him in February 1954, the sports activities columnist Red Smith noticed turbulence looming.

“He’s only 25,” Smith wrote. “By the time he’s 30, he’ll be a good deal more than five years older. Coaching Notre Dame is the most coveted job in football, and probably the most nerve-racking.”

At the age of 30, Brennan was fired.

He had coached 4 profitable groups in 5 seasons. His 1957 group pulled off one among school soccer’s biggest upsets, a 7-Zero highway victory over Oklahoma, snapping its record-setting 47-game profitable streak. But he had been confronted with a discount in athletic scholarships ordered by Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, who was decided to have Notre Dame considered as a famend tutorial establishment and solely secondly as a soccer powerhouse. Father Hesburgh had, in truth, taught Brennan at Notre Dame and had admired his mind.

Brennan was in all probability doomed by his failure to win a nationwide championship, one thing that Notre Dame’s alumni had come to anticipate nearly yearly. And Leahy, in retirement, feuded with him, questioning the group’s combating spirit.

Brennan’s firing, 4 days earlier than Christmas in 1958, was extensively condemned within the soccer world.

“Notre Dame won’t look very good in the eyes of the country,” stated Louisiana State’s Paul Dietzel, the 1958 school coach of the yr.

The Indiana Catholic and Record, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, stated that the true losers in Brennan’s firing have been “the priests and laymen at Notre Dame who were trying, successfully, we believe, to remake the public image of Notre Dame from football factory to first-class university.”

Terence Patrick Brennan was born on June 11, 1928, in Milwaukee. He was a highschool soccer star, then made the Notre Dame lineup as a freshman in 1945, when many of the regulars have been serving in World War II.

In the postwar years, Notre Dame, led by quarterback Johnny Lujack, vied with Army for school soccer supremacy. Brennan, taking part in on each offense and protection, made a key play of their 1946 recreation at Yankee Stadium, a matchup of unbeaten squads, intercepting a halfback possibility go by Army’s Glenn Davis on the Irish Eight-yard line late within the first interval. The groups performed to a Zero-Zero tie, however Notre Dame was voted nationwide champions.

In the 1947 Army recreation Brennan ran the opening kickoff again 97 yards for a landing and scored once more on a Three-yard run within the first interval, sending Notre Dame to a 27-7 victory and one other nationwide title.

He led the Irish in receiving and scoring in 1946 and ’47 and he rushed for 1,269 profession yards, however knee issues saved him from a professional soccer profession.

Brennan coached Mount Carmel High School of Chicago to a few consecutive Catholic league championships whereas acquiring a regulation diploma from DePaul University in Chicago, then grew to become Leahy’s freshman coach in 1953. Leahy developed well being issues that season, resulting in his retirement.

Brennan had hassle moving into Notre Dame’s stadium for his first dwelling recreation as head coach, towards Texas, when he encountered roadblocks funneling site visitors. “The police wouldn’t let me down Notre Dame Avenue, nor would they believe I was the head coach,” he as soon as recalled. “I guess I looked too young.”

Notre Dame went 9-1 and Eight-2 in Brennan’s first two seasons as coach with gamers recruited by Leahy. But with the expertise drying up within the face of scholarship restrictions and enhanced admission necessities for athletes, the Irish may now not dominate. Notre Dame plunged to 2-Eight in 1956, although quarterback Paul Hornung received the Heisman Trophy.

On the eve of the 1956 season finale, at Southern California, Leahy stated: “It’s not the losses that upset me. It’s the attitude. What has happened to the old Notre Dame spirit?”

Brennan’s groups went 7-Three and 6-Four within the following two seasons, however with Notre Dame’s glory days clearly at an finish, he was requested to resign. He was fired after refusing to take action, telling Sports Illustrated quickly afterward that he didn’t wish to be seen as “quitting and running out.”

He was changed by Joe Kuharich, a Notre Dame guard of the 1930s who had been teaching the Washington Redskins. Kuharich by no means had a profitable group in 4 seasons at Notre Dame.

Brennan grew to become an funding banker in Chicago. He by no means coached soccer once more.

Brennan in survived by 4 sons, Terry, Chris, Joe and Matt; two daughters, Denise Dwyer and Jane Lipton; 25 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. His spouse, Mary Louise, died in 2001.

Looking again at his firing, Brennan felt that criticism from Leahy had turned Notre Dame alumni towards him. “Psychologically in his mind, if the person who followed him succeeded, somehow that took away from what he did,” Brennan advised The South Bend Tribune in 1999. “I had absolutely no use for him.”

“It’s a real shame, kind of sad,” Hornung stated of Brennan. “He could have been one of the great coaches in Notre Dame history.”