Willingham always struck me as a class act, especially when the Irish sharks started circling (roughly around the time he lost his first game). Willingham might have been aloof, but there was something admirable about his take-it-or-leave-it attitude at a school where you can probably minor in second-guessing the head coach. So, after he was so shamefully axed by the ND brain trust, my respect for Willingham only grew.
I guess if you can fault Willingham for anything, it would have to be poor career choices. A job offer from Notre Dame rightfully should tempt the head coach at Stanford, but getting passed up the first time around for a white, Irish Catholic fabulist from New York should have been a sign that Willingham would be doomed to fail. Then, his decision to take over a Washington program in turmoil following the Rick Neuheisel-Keith Gilbertson era now appears either desperate or short-sighted.
Today, Willingham sits on arguably the hottest coaching seat in the country. So news like this makes me want to send him a copy of When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
The Sooners' trip to Seattle in September looks like a classic danger game. Ask Bob Stoops how his last trip to a hostile Pac-10 environment turned out.
Still, the Sooners should enter the game as heavy favorites, and the Huskies will be finishing up a brutal season-opening stretch that also includes Oregon and BYU. Losing leading tackler Savannah certainly won't help Willingham's crew slow down the talented OU offense.
I wish the Sooners weren't one of the teams that could potentially twist the knife on Willingham. If it does come to that, Bob, do it quickly.