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December 18, 2001
Resume Inflation Costs N.D. Coach His Job
Just five days after being hired, O'Leary quit, amid news reports that he had lied about his academic and athletic background.
O'Leary claimed to have a master's degree in education and to have played college football for three years, but checks into his background showed it wasn't true, according to the Associated Press.
"Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans," O'Leary said in a statement released Friday by the university.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, the day it hired O'Leary, the university released a biography that said O'Leary received a master's degree from New York University in 1972.
O'Leary was a student there but did not receive a degree, said John Beckman, assistant vice president for public affairs at NYU.
O'Leary, 55, also never earned a letter playing football at New Hampshire; his biography says he earned three. In fact, the school said he never played in a game.
O'Leary said he regretted not telling Notre Dame officials about the inaccuracies before he was hired.
"Many years ago, as a young married father, I sought to pursue my dream as a football coach," he said. "In seeking employment I prepared a resume that contained inaccuracies regarding my completion of course work for a master's degree and also my level of participation in football at my alma mater. These misstatements were never stricken from my resume or biographical sketch in later years."
Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White said O'Leary acknowledged problems in his biographical materials, "including his academic background."
"I understand that these inaccuracies represent a very human failing; nonetheless, they constitute a breach of trust that makes it impossible for us to go forward with our relationship," White said.
O'Leary, who left Georgia Tech on Sunday to become coach of the Irish, is listed in his biography in the Georgia Tech media guide as a three-time letter-winner at New Hampshire at offensive line and fullback. It also was included in a biography handed out by Notre Dame after his hiring to replace Bob Davie was announced.
But O'Leary went to New Hampshire only for two years, and never made it into a game.
O'Leary transferred to New Hampshire after two years at the University of Dubuque in Iowa. He said he was on the New Hampshire team in 1967 and 1968, but was unable to play his first year because of mononucleosis, and did not play his second year because of a knee injury.
Though O'Leary has said he was not sure how the information got into his biography, a document obtained by The Union Leader newspaper of Manchester (N.H) indicates he listed the information when hired as a coach at Syracuse in 1980.
According to the school's sports information department, coaches and athletes personally filled out the biographical forms. The newspaper reported Friday that O'Leary's documents list "Univ. of New Hampshire - 3 yr. lettered" as part of his athletic background.
The sports information department at New Hampshire said it has no record of O'Leary on a football roster, and that it does not keep records of letter winners.
ng on his resume has cost George O'Leary one of the most prestigious jobs in sports: head coach of the Notre Dame football team.