By Marais Jacon-Duffy, WCPO.com
CINCINNATI -- In 1960, Gerry Faust pulled a football team out of thin air.
With donated equipment, Archbishop Moeller High School's first football team -- a reserve squad -- went 4-4.
By 1962, Moeller had varsity teams. The varsity Crusaders went 4-6 that year.
But Faust's teams were a force to be reckoned with over the next two decades; from 1962 to 1980, the Crusaders had a record of 178-23-2. They went unbeaten for seven years, won nine state championships and four national championships.
Faust's last win with the team was a big one. The state championship game versus Massillon Washington High was played at Nippert Stadium. Moeller, which won 30-7, brought out reserve players in the last quarter.
The players also knew it could be their beloved coach's last time with Moeller, as rumors circulated that Faust was a likely candidate for the University of Notre Dame head coach job after Dan Devine stepped down.
"We dedicated the game to him because we thought it might be Coach's last game, so we wanted to take him out in style," said Mike Larkin. "I think we did that."
Faust's next move would be called "The Bold Experiment" -- he was hired as head football coach for Notre Dame, an unprecedented leap. The hire was made the morning after the 1980 state championship game.
WCPO Sports Director John Popovich made the drive to South Bend as soon as the 1980 state game ended.
Larkin, Tony Hunter, Bob Crable and many of Faust's Moeller stars went on to play for him at Notre Dame. Hunter and Crable became All-Americans and starred in the NFL.
Faust's personal connections to the school dated back to his adolescence. He was offered a partial scholarship to Notre Dame, but instead took a full scholarship to play quarterback at the University of Dayton. Faust played for Hugh Devore, a former Notre Dame coach.
Faust also had a background rooted in Catholicism, both at the University of Dayton and Moeller. Gerry's father, Gerard "Fuzzy" Faust, was a longtime head coach at Chaminade Julienne, a Catholic high school in Dayton.
Critics said the difference between high school and college football was too steep of a change to make so drastically. Proponents said Faust already -- essentially -- ran a college program at Moeller.
"I'm willing to change some things, but I won't change myself," Faust said at the Notre Dame press conference announcing his hire.
Popovich told me that Faust was the same nice guy, even in the circus of college football.
The hire resulted in a national phenomenon in college sports called "Gerry Faust Syndrome," according to a report from the Los Angeles Times in 1986. High school coaches increasingly applied and inquired about college coaching positions after seeing Faust's speedy upward climb.
But the end of his tenure at Notre Dame sent a very different message to high school coaches across the country.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE. [Read More]