To the Editor:
In his recent letter to the editor, “Notre Dame: a lesson for Yale football,” (12/3), Gary P. Fernando ’03 was wrong to assert that Yale should follow Notre Dame’s lead and fire head football coach Jack Siedlecki. Indeed, the only lesson for the Yale community to learn from Notre Dame’s reactionary firing of their head football coach, Tyrone Willingham, is that realism must temper passion when evaluating the relative success of a college football team.
Despite what PlayStation 2’s John Madden football game would lead Mr. Fernando and others to believe, winning is difficult. As any intercollegiate athlete or coach could attest, nothing guarantees victories and no one man controls a team’s fate. Mr. Fernando calls on Athletic Director Tom Beckett to “right the ship.” Well, that is precisely what Mr. Beckett did in 1996 when he hired Coach Siedlecki. In just three short years, Coach Siedlecki guided Yale’s ship from choppy waters to an Ivy league championship. His offensive scheme, which was often criticized this fall, has shattered nearly every offensive record established during the preceding 120 years of Yale football. During his tenure, his overall record stands at 44-35, which is particularly commendable considering a 1-9 campaign his first year.
Could the team have preformed better this year? Sure. The players and coaches readily admitted that throughout the season. Is there anyone better to lead Yale football this coming year and beyond than Coach Siedlecki? Absolutely not. The recent firing of Tyrone Willingham at Notre Dame was wrong. By firing Willingham, Notre Dame’s administration demonstrated only their ignorance about the competitive realities of contemporary college football. Today, I am relieved to know that it is only Mr. Fernando — and not Mr. Beckett — who has subscribed to the short-sighted lessons echoing from the hallowed halls of Notre Dame.
Peter Mazza ’01
Dec. 3, 2004
The writer is a former captain of the Yale football team.