Notre Dame and football coach Bob Davie have reached agreement on a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the Irish program through the 2003 season.
The South Bend Tribune reported Saturday that executive vice president E. William Beauchamp and athletic director Mike Wadsworth worked out the agreement with Davie, whose contract was to expire after the 2001 season.
The new deal begins this season. Davie signed the original deal when he took over for Lou Holtz before the 1997 season.
No terms of the contract were discussed by Notre Dame officials, and Davie wasn't available for comment.
But he had said in January that he was comfortable with the base salary he was paid. "To automatically presume I am underpaid may be inaccurate," he said at the time.
Such extensions are becoming more common in college football, including recent five-year extensions granted to Purdue coach Joe Tiller and Alabama's Mike DuBose.
"A big part of this has to do with recruiting," Wadsworth said. "Coaches are sometimes at a disadvantage in recruiting an athlete when he's not able to quell rumors."
"It works both ways. If a program is struggling, speculation is raised. If a program is having success, there are also rumors. We had to face reality that these rumors are used against us in recruiting."
Davie's newfound job security comes after two tumultuous seasons.
|Bob Davie will be at the helm of the Fighting Irish through the 2003 season.(AP)|
On the field, his teams have gone 7-5 and 9-3 and earned berths in the Independence and Gator bowls. Off the field, Davie endured a courtroom loss in the Joe Moore age-discrimination trial. And he recently represented his program before an NCAA Infraction Committee hearing on whether a former Notre Dame booster gave illegal financial help to as many as a dozen football players.
"With all the turmoil he inherited, Bob came through it with a lot of maturity," Wadsworth said. "He has been able to focus on the job at hand and still have success."
Wadsworth said the university is judging the progress of the football program on more than wins and losses, also looking at whether the program, its recruiting and long-range planning are improving under Davie.
The answer to all of those questions is yes, he said.
"There were other factors at play," Wadsworth said. "This was a clear statement of where the university stands. Any confusion can be eradicated. This will distance him from situaions not of his making."
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