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Monday, February 1, 2010

Like a Father

Frank Leahy is a name forgotten by most today. He coached the Notre Dame Football team during the forties and early fifties. He won four national championships with Notre Dame. Throughout the 50s, 60s, and early 70s, he was generally considered the second greatest coach of all time next to the legendary Knute Rockne. Unfortunately, he was not considered by his family to be a great father.

In his authorized and official biography on Leahy, Wells Trombley tells of a sad moment immediately after Leahy's death. Before I share that moment with you, let me brief you on the context.

Although, Leahy was portrayed by the press as being a model father, the reality was he neglected his wife and children. Leahy, who died in the early 70s, battled various diseases before they took his life. Trombley, who accompanied Leahy much of the time during the final months, observed the battle Leahy's wife and children faced mediating grief and bitterness. It is in this context in the aftermath of Leahy’s death, his biographer observed a sad encounter.

A person who had worked under Frank Leahy, whose life had been directly touched by Leahy, approached famous man’s widow and said, "Mrs. Leahy, I'm going to miss the coach so much. We had a very special relationship. He was just like a father to me."

Leahy's widow wearily replied, "That's very nice. I just wish he had been just like a father to some of his children."

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