Former Notre Dame, Green Bay Packers Coach Dan Devine to Get Statue

A sculpture of former University of Notre Dame football coach Dan Devine, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and coach of the 1977 Irish national championship team, will be dedicated Friday, Oct. 7 (the day before Notre Dame’s home football game against Air Force), at Notre Dame Stadium.

You might know Devine as the "villain" from the classic football film Rudy. Remember when Ara Parseghian was moving on, and Rudy learns that Devine is coming from the Packers to take his place? And the rest of the movie (the greatest ND recruiting film you can ever find) is drama to see whether Devine (played by Chelcie Ross) will honor Parseghian's promise to let Rudy dress for a game.

Reality was competely different from the film. In Devine's autobiography, Simply Devine, he writes that it was his idea to dress Rudy for the final game of his college career and also to play him. Devine says that the screenwriter, Angelo Pizzo, told him that the plot would only work if Devine became the heavy. He agreed in order to help out Rudy, someone whom he calls a friend. "I didn't realize I would be such a heavy," he writes.

The statue dedication will take place at Notre Dame Stadium’s Gate A, which in 2010 was designated the Devine gate when the sculptures of Knute Rockne (north tunnel), Ara Parseghian (Gate B), Frank Leahy (Gate C) and Lou Holtz (Gate D) were re-located outside the stadium walls. Rockne, Parseghian, Leahy, Holtz and Devine are the five former Irish football coaches – all of them Hall of Fame inductees – who have won one or more national titles at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna created the sculpture. He also created the Rockne, Leahy, Holtz and Parseghian sculptures at Note Dame Stadium, the Moose Krause sculpture east of Notre Dame Stadium and the Knute Rockne sculpture at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend, Ind.

ND’s head football coach from 1975-80, Devine won the 1977 consensus national title and two of the most dramatic postseason bowl games in Irish history – the 1978 Cotton Bowl victory over top-rated Texas and the ’79 Cotton Bowl triumph over Houston that featured a stirring second-half comeback from a 34-12 deficit.

He served as head coach/GM of the NFL Green Bay Packers from 1971-1974 before his arrival at Notre Dame in 1975. His Irish teams won the 1976 Gator Bowl, ’78 Cotton Bowl and ’79 Cotton Bowl – and his six seasons in South Bend produced a combined 53-16-1 mark (.764). His ’77 team achieved notoriety when it switched from blue jerseys to green just prior to a noteworthy home win over fifth-ranked USC – and his ’80 team sealed a Sugar Bowl invitation with a late-season road triumph over Bear Bryant-coached Alabama.

He was elected into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 with an overall collegiate mark of 173-57-9. Born in Augusta, Wis., Devine (a Minnesota-Duluth graduate) died in 2002 at age 77.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

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