“Parseghian had taught them how to win. All Notre Dame needed was someone to remind them of just how great they could be.”
Resurrection covers the 1964 “miracle season” for Notre Dame football, during which the new non-Catholic coach Ara Parseghian steered them to a share of the national championship. This was also the year that the so-called “Touchdown Jesus” mural appeared on a building adjoining the football stadium. It was the beginning of the Era of Ara.
Jim Dent provides us with what initially appears to be a fine overview of a team’s season in college football. It’s more interesting than most such accounts, as he focuses on a handful of players who were unable to play for the Fighting Irish prior to ’64 due to suspensions, injuries or personality conflicts with the former head coach. It gives the feeling of a real-life Bad News Bears aspect that’s entertaining.
This was a season in which the Irish lost only their final game, played at USC. Dent seems to obsess about this “heartbreaking loss…” during which “Notre Dame was defeated by a far inferior team.” He spends far too many pages claiming that the game was stolen by the referees, although Parseghian himself said: “I am not going to blame the officials.”
The ND-USC game in question occurred over 45 years ago. Let it be.
Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 306 pages
Reprinted courtesy of San Francisco Book Review