The Notre Dame head coaches who additionally performed school soccer

It’s amazing that, despite its rich history, Notre Dame only had six former college football players as head coaches. To make it even more amazing, you have to go back to the very beginning of the program’s coaching history to find half of them. In addition, it has been 36 years since the Irish had a former college player as their head coach. With Brian Kelly only four wins away from overtaking Knute Rockne on the program’s all-time list, it doesn’t look like the Irish will be adding to that shortlist anytime soon.

Whichever ex-college football player ends up as Notre Dame’s head coach will join a rare company. We’re talking about three pieces in the 19th and 20th centuries, and none is coming in the 21st century. Until then, Irish fans will have to settle for these men who have a rare honor in South Bend:

Gerry Faust

Sep 1981, unknown location, USA; FILE PHOTO; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Gerry Faust (center) yells from the sidelines. Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Gerry Faust was a quarterback for Dayton in 1956 and 1957. In 20 games, he threw 756 yards and four touchdowns while running for two more touchdowns, but he also threw 13 interceptions. From 1981 to 1985 he coached the Irish to a 30-26-1 record and split two bowl games.

Terry Brennan

Notre Dame Head Football Coach Terry Brennan, left, talks with Tackle Bronko Nagurski Jr., during soccer training session in South Bend, Indiana on September 1, 1958. Nagurski, a senior, is from International Falls, Minnesota, and is the son of Minnesota’s 1929 All-American Tackle. (AP photo)

Terry Brennan was an Irishman who ran back from 1945 to 1948. In 266 attempts, he ran 1,269 yards. He led the Irish off the sidelines to a 32-18 record between 1954 and 1958. During his tenure, Notre Dame had three All-Americans: Al Ecuyer, Ralph Guglielmi and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung.

Elmer Layden

The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, (LR) quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, full-back Elmer Leyden, left halfback Jim Crowley and right halfback Don Miller. George Strickler, Knute Rockne’s student advertising assistant, posed the four players in their uniforms on the backs of four horses from a horse stable in town. (Photo by Notre Dame University / Getty Images)

As one of the four horsemen, Elmer Leyden is a legendary figure in the history of Notre Dame. During the Irish first national championship season in 1924, he ran 445 yards and six touchdowns in 120 tries. He took over both the coaching and athletic office in 1934 and held these positions until 1940, during which time he set a 47-13-3 record. He became the NFL commissioner after leaving Notre Dame and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.

Frank Hering

Frank Herring was quarterback at the University of Chicago in 1893 and 1894. When he came to Notre Dame in 1896, people certainly didn’t think his intention was to make university football an official college sport. That’s exactly what happened, and Notre Dame Football’s father had a 12-6-1 record from 1896 to 1898. He was also the athletic director and coached the basketball and baseball teams.

HG Hadden

HG Hadden began his college career as a tackle for Michigan in 1894. The next year he came to Notre Dame for his only season as a coach and a 3-1 record. In the loss to Indianapolis Artillery, he served as player-coach.

James Morrison

Before arriving in South Bend in 1894, Morrison was a tackle in Michigan. Notre Dame, which had only established its program seven years earlier, was looking for its first coach with an eye on Michigan manager Charles Baird. Instead, Baird sent Morrison, who paid Notre Dame $ 40 (about $ 1,200 today) for two weeks of work. His intense focus on conditioning earned him a 3-1-1 record.

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