NOVEMBER 5, 1984
Of coaching football at Notre Dame, Knute Rockne once offered this maxim: "One loss is good for the soul. Too many losses are not good for the coach." No man understands this better than Gerry Faust, who lost too many games while entrusted with college football's version of the Heavenly Host. After winning his Fighting Irish debut, a 27-9 victory over LSU in 1981 that vaulted Notre Dame to No. 1 in the polls, Faust lost the next week at Michigan and never again woke up the echoes. In amassing a five-season record of 30-26-1, he lost more games than any of the 23 coaches who had preceded him in South Bend. With the Irish's famed subway alumni leading an Oust Faust campaign, the embattled coach resigned on Nov. 26, 1985. "If I had a chance to do it over again and knew the results were going to be the same," Faust says today, "I'd still do it."
In 1977 Faust, a Dayton alumnus who had built a dynasty at Cincinnati's Moeller High (174-17-2 over 18 years), wrote a letter to Father Edmund Joyce, the university's executive vice president, professing his lifelong love of Notre Dame and his interest in the Fighting Irish coaching job, should it ever become available. When Dan Devine announced he was stepping down in '80, Faust got the promotion of a lifetime from Joyce, "with the blessing of Father Theodore Hesburgh (the university's president)," says Faust, "and the board of trustees."
Following his resignation from Notre Dame, Faust coached at Akron, in nine seasons guiding the Zips from Division I-AA to Division I-A and to a 43-53-3 record. In 1994 he was reassigned to work as an assistant vice president of public affairs and development, preaching Akron's and worldly virtues to high school students across the Midwest before retiring last June. Today, Faust, 65, lives in Akron with his wife of 36 years, Marlene—they have three children and two granddaughters—and travels the U.S. as a motivational speaker. "People listen to me because I'm not all about success," he says. "They'll listen to someone who failed because most people fail at something in life."
Faust says Notre Dame is still his "first love." He attended the first four Irish home games last fall, and two years ago coach Bob Davie asked him to address the team at spring practice. "I didn't get the job done here," a teary-eyed Faust told the players. "Don't say that to yourself when you leave here. You have four or five years at Notre Dame. Don't ever say that you didn't get the job done."