Cast out from UW, longtime assistant Hart finds home at Notre Dame
Randy Hart was defensive line coach for the Huskies from 1988-2008, one of the longest coaching stints in UW history, earning a lasting reputation both for his energetic personality and for molding the likes of Steve Emtman, D'Marco Farr and Larry Tripplett.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., Ch. 5
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Though he says he doesn't know much about the tradition of Notre Dame football, there is one legendary football face Huskies defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is looking forward to seeing there this weekend — that of Randy Hart.
Hart was defensive-line coach for the Huskies from 1988 to 2008, one of the longest coaching stints in UW history, earning a lasting reputation both for his energetic personality and for molding the likes of Steve Emtman, D'Marco Farr and Larry Tripplett.
He wasn't retained in the turnover in head coaches last season, after surviving four previous transitions, but more than landed on his feet at Notre Dame.
"It's going to be weird seeing him in blue," Te'o-Nesheim said. "But that's almost purple."
Hart didn't care what color he would be wearing after being let go at UW, saying last spring he was happy to work anywhere.
That it's Notre Dame is all the better, for all the obvious reasons as well as the fact that it took Hart close to his native Ohio.
"I'm the luckiest man you know," Hart cackled through the phone last April.
He was not allowed to do interviews with Seattle-area media this week, but told Notre Dame beat writers Wednesday that it would be just another game. "You have to keep the perspective of what goes on and get our guys ready to win," he said.
Te'o-Nesheim was almost as happy as Hart that his former coach found a job, saying "he's a great coach and a greater person."
Hart and every other assistant of Tyrone Willingham's was not retained after the 0-12 2008 season. UW is one of just two schools with a completely new coaching staff — Utah State is the other, according to research done by Utah State.
Sarkisian said he felt it necessary to make a clean break with the past for the program to begin rebuilding.
"I thought for the future of our team and our football program we needed to come in with a fresh start," Sarkisian said at the time. "We needed to bring in nine new coaches that could just instill the energy that I wanted to instill."
The 61-year-old Hart bore no grudges, saying he was fortunate to stay in one place as long as he did.
He was hired at Notre Dame shortly after signing day to replace Jappy Oliver, and partly to help groom former Notre Dame star and longtime NFL standout Bryant Young, who is in his first season as a graduate assistant with the Irish.
"I wanted to find a veteran defensive coach who was a fundamental, technique guy who had a lot of energy," Weis said this week. "If you look [for that] in the dictionary it would come back 'Randy Hart.' He's exactly what I was looking for."
True to that sentiment, Hart told reporters Wednesday he couldn't be more excited for his current position.
"[Washington] was a great experience," he said. "But I enjoy where I am. Where I am is where I want to be — I'm a guy, wherever I am, I'm enjoying the heck out of it. In this business, that's kind of the way you've just got to be."
• About 15-20 minutes into Wednesday's practice, Sarkisian walked over to the music station, which usually blares out a variety of tunes, and instructed that the Notre Dame fight song be played "over and over and over." And thus it was for the next hour and 40 minutes or so. Reporters estimated it played at least 100 times.
"You've got to get used to the element you're going to be in," Sarkisian said.
He noted that it rained on Tuesday, which would help Saturday: Forecasts call for showers with a high of 53.
"Yesterday, we brought in the rain because it's supposed to rain Saturday," Sarkisian said. "And then today, we brought in the fight song because they play it a lot when you're there."
Not everyone approved. "I just wanted to go over to the CD player and break the CD," said defensive tackle Cameron Elisara. "It was brutal."
• Linebacker E.J. Savannah again sat out practice, increasing the odds that sophomore Cort Dennison will start in his place against the Irish. Savannah is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
• WR Devin Aguilar, who missed the Stanford game with a knee injury, sat out practice again Wednesday. He took a few passes on the side and did some jogging and cutting but no work in team drills.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
Washington State's Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Huskies