Off the Sidelines
Two of the more intriguing men in coaching left the ranks last weekend, one by his own hand with much fanfare and the other at his school's request with virtually no fanfare. Bill McCartney of Colorado shocked everyone, including his athletic director and his players, when he resigned after a 41-20 victory over Iowa State in Boulder. Very few people were surprised when Akron "reassigned" Gerry Faust to a job within its athletic department after the Zips beat Ohio University 24-10 to finish with a 1-10 record.
McCartney is at times obstinate and at other times refreshingly candid. He challenged and sometimes angered outsiders with his staunch Christian beliefs while steering his team through a number of brushes with the law and other controversies to win the national title in 1990. Under McCartney, who arrived in Boulder in '82, the Buffaloes are 92-55-5—and 57-11-4 from 1989 to '94, including this season's 10-1 record. He will coach Colorado in its bowl game.
McCartney offered little explanation for his departure. "The reason I'm doing it is that it's the right time as a family," he said. McCartney is co-founder of Promise Keepers, a Christian men's organization that preaches faith in family values, and there is speculation that he will devote himself to such a cause. Long after the remarkable Kordell Stewart-to- Michael Westbrook Hail Mary touchdown pass at Michigan on Sept. 24, McCartney recalled the play this way: "That was the Lord. What else could it be?"
Faust will be forever dogged by his failure at Notre Dame, where he coached from 1981 to '85. The Irish were 30-26-1 during that span. Akron went 43-53-3 in nine seasons under Faust, but he remained buoyant this year, convinced that success was on the horizon. Faust loved the players he coached but never coached them well enough.
Ultimately Faust will be remembered as the former high school coach who washed out at Notre Dame, and McCartney will be remembered for winning a national title at Colorado. In both cases the epitaph seems inadequate.
"Columbia-Brown," said first-year Brown coach Mark Whipple last Thursday. "Hey, we're the big Ivy League game this week!"
When had the Lions versus the Bears ever been a big game? Columbia's last winning season was 1971, when Brown was 0-9, and Brown's last winning season was 1987, when Columbia was 0-10.
Yet on a day when Pennsylvania defeated Cornell 18—14 for its 21st consecutive win—a Division I-AA record—and second Ivy title in a row, the Ancient Eight's most interesting matchup took place at Columbia's Wien Stadium. Under Whipple, who a year ago was the coach at Division II New Haven, Brown came into the game 6-3. Lion coach Ray Tellier, in his sixth year at Columbia, had guided his team to a 5-3-1 mark.