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. The 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. The sculpture has been funded by donations from Devine’s former players, coaches, and staff members, and a longtime University benefactor.
Notre Dame’s head football coach from 1975-80, Devine served as head coach of the 1977 consensus national title team and also won two of the most dramatic postseason bowl games in Irish annals – 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. As head coach at Arizona State from 1955-1957, Devine accumulated a 27-3-1 record. From 1958-1970, he guided Missouri to a 93-37-7 mark. Among his achievements at Missouri were victories in the 1961 Orange Bowl, ’62 Bluebonnet Bowl, ’66 Sugar Bowl and ’68 Gator Bowl. He served as head coach and general manager 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.
Devine resigned prior to his final season in South Bend in 1980 and later became executive director of the Arizona State Sun Angel Foundation in Phoenix. In 1992, Devine returned to Missouri as athletic director and then retired at the end of the 1993-94 academic year. 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.