Notre Dame’s Greatest Coaches: Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian & Holtz

Published: 01/01/1993

Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, and Lou Holtz. The names of these coachesare synonymous with one of the few teams in college football that can truly be calleda “dynasty” — the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Owners of the two highestwinning percentages in college football history, Rockne and Leahy captured sevennational championships between them. Parseghian was responsible for a pair of nationaltitles, while Holtz won one during his reign in South Bend, Indiana. Now these fourlegendary men are seen through the eyes of the inimitable Edward “Moose”Krause who came to know and admire these football legends during his own 61-year-careeerat Notre Dame.

Completed just before his death in 1992, this fascinating memoir combines Moose’sown words with those of nearly 100 former Fighting Irish players, coaches, and administratorsto paint a touching portrait of these four great gridiron teachers, and of Moosehimself. Notre Dame’s only two-sport Hall of Famer, in football and basketball,he was a three-time All-American player under Rockne, coached under Leahy, hiredParseghian while serving as Notre Dame’s athletic director, and became a closeadviser to Holtz. A poor boy from Chicago’s stockyards, Moose rose to becomea legend on and off the field – “Mr. Notre Dame.” In showing intimatesides of him never written about before, the book is about far more than footballyet the game is the heart of the story.

Moose recalls Rockne’s inspiring locker room orations and courage in the faceof adversity. Rock once coached from a hearse parked on the sidelines, as painfulphlebitis wracked his legs. Moose vividly remembers Leahy, the ultimate perfectionist,stalking the sidelines barking out orders in his famous Irish brogue, while refusingto let the Irish lose a single game between 1946-49. Moose speaks warmly of hisyears with Parseghian, who brought Notre Dame back into the ranks of the collegefootball elite. And finally, he talks revealingly about Holtz, whose ferocity onthe field was matched only by his humor off it. An incredibly driven man, Holtzcoached Notre Dame to an undefeated season and the national title in 1988.

Interwoven through these stories and Moose’s own is a blow-by-blow accountof the Irish’s topsy-turvy 1992 season, when the team bounced back from anearly loss and a tie to win seven straight games and the Cotton Bowl.

Notre Dame’s Greatest Coaches takes you right inside the huddle duringthe four most glorious periods in Irish football history. It tells the saga of asport, a country, and of the enormous changes that the game and our nation experiencedduring Moose Krause’s long and extraordinary lifetime. As Moose himself oncesaid of his youth, “People had a different attitude about sports back then.They were just happy to be at the game.” Moose never lost his love for thegame, and in this deeply felt memoir, even the most jaded sports fan will recognizeand feel that love.