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19TH HOLE: The readers take over
February 02, 1959
L'AFFAIRE BRENNAN (CONT.) Sirs:After reading Father Hesburgh's article about the firing of Terry Brennan I gathered that Terry did not measure up to the standard of excellence of performance set by Noire Dame, bin in just what respects Terry was deficient remains a mystery.
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February 02, 1959

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

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L'AFFAIRE BRENNAN (CONT.)
Sirs:
After reading Father Hesburgh's article about the firing of Terry Brennan I gathered that Terry did not measure up to the standard of excellence of performance set by Noire Dame, bin in just what respects Terry was deficient remains a mystery.

Father Hesburgh is right that a university must be dedicated to a program of academic excellence. The principal justification for college athletics can be found in the inaugural address of Charles W. Eliot in 1869 upon, assuming the presidency of Harvard when he said:

" Harvard College is sometimes reproached with being aristocratic. If by aristocracy be meant a stupid and pretentious caste, founded on wealth, and birth, and an affectation of European manners, no charge could be more preposterous: the College is intensely American in affection, and intensely democratic in temper. But there is an aristocracy to which the sons of Harvard have belonged, and, let us hope, will ever aspire to belong—the aristocracy which excels in manly sports, carries off the honors and prizes of the learned professions, and bears itself with distinction in all fields of intellectual labor and combat.

What Father Hesburgh neglected to say is that in the term excellence must be included the prime objective of all education—character building. It is of little avail to have intellectual scientists, doctors, lawyers and professional men if they lack character. Likewise, the only excuse for collegiate athletics is that they assist in the program of character building.

The question most of us would like answered is not whether Terry Brennan achieved excellence on the gridiron but whether he was deficient in the building of character among the players and student body. Does the will to win overshadow the moral code which a university such as Notre Dame should at all times foster? It seems to me that Father Hesburgh has just added further confusion in a field already replete with complexities by his failure to be specific on a matter which disturbs those interested primarily in education—in which a program of collegiate athletics should form a minor and not major integral part.
ROBERT N. GORMAN
Cincinnati

Sirs:
Please reconcile the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh's statement, "...commitment to excellence, and the judgment that the performance would be bettered by the change," with his other statement, "A team can perform miserably and win, and a team can look magnificent in defeat. The won-and-lost record is no ultimate criterion for a reasonable and thinking man. Excellence of performance, spirit and the will to win are really central to any good sport activity...."

Didn't Terry encourage "excellence of performance, spirit," etc. or was his won-and-lost record the ultimate criterion?

I am still confused. Was Brennan "removed" because he didn't produce "excellence of performance" or was it that he didn't win often enough?
PHILLIP H. SAVAGE
Baltimore

Sirs:
Father Hesburgh's pure logic, unemotional objectivity, precise argumentation, unassailable facts, right perspective, cool directness, unaffected honesty will put to flight those detractors of Notre Dame's academic integrity.
E. M. SKAZINSKI
G. R. MICH
Grand Rapids

Sirs:
I am one of those who had been under the impression that Mr. Brennan was a fine, clean-cut young man with the know-how to manage a first-rate college ball club. The newspapers, in this part of the country at least, certainly have not hinted at any bad coach-player relations; nor have they suggested that morally or ethically Mr. Brennan falls short of the requirements of a good coach of young men.

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