In one of his most memorable games in Notre Dame history — the famous comeback win against USC in 1977 — the Irish emerged from the locker room after halftime clad in their green jerseys, accentuating the drama and mystique of the Notre Dame lore in a crucial win in that national championship season. And although it took Gerry Faust to make Irish fans truly appreciate Devine's contributions to the team, college football as a whole recognized his greatness in 1985, electing him to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Number 4: Lou Holtz
As the span of time between the last Irish national championships in 1988 and the present grows greater, Notre Dame fans pine for Coach Holtz all that much more. The last truly great Irish coach, in his 11 seasons at the helm of Notre Dame Mr. Holtz compiled a 100-32-2 record and was responsible for almost immediately reviving a program in taters from the incompetence of Gerry Faust.
He led his teams to nine major bowl games in those 11 years and should have won a second national championship with his 11-1 squad in 1993. While his Irish beat the top ranked Florida State Seminoles, a season finale upset to Boston College on a last-second field goal caused voters to ignore the head to head advantage and give Florida State the championship.
His first and last seasons with Irish were the only time Holtz didn't take the team to a bowl game and he had one undefeated season and three seasons in which his teams lost only one game during his time in South Bend.
Number 3 (also in Rudy): Ara Parseghian
Ara Parseghian — like Holtz — took over an Irish squad that was coming out of a highly unsuccessful period in the school's history. And also like Holtz, Ara worked quickly to get his team back to elite status. While Parseghian only took the Irish to five bowl games (compared to Holtz's nine) this number is misleading as until 1969 (Ara's sixth season) the Notre Dame administration did not allow the team to travel to bowl games. After the rule was repealed Ara's teams only missed a bowl game once, in the 8-2 season of 1971. His all time record of 95-17-4 (.836) is testament enough to his greatness. Include his two national championships (1966 and 1973) and two one-loss seasons including his first season there in 1964 (following a 2-7 season for the Irish under Hugh Devore the season previous) and it is easy to understand the reverence for Parseghian still present today.