Former head football coach Willingham assisted women’s golf team at Stanford

October 17, 2012

From the gridiron to the golf course.

So went the career trajectory of former Stanford football coach Tyrone Willingham, who went on to lead the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the Washington Huskies.

Word from the Farm is that Willingham, 58, volunteered with the Stanford women's golf team under Coach Caroline O'Connor, who retired in May after 17 seasons, but has not worked with the team since the new coach, Anne Walker, took over.

As careers shifts go, this one was not as wild as it might appear. An avid golfer, Willingham caught occasional flack from fans in South Bend and Seattle, where, the complaint went, he devoted more time to the course than he did to recruiting football stars.

Willingham knows the game, and he's familiar with the fickleness of sporting fate, having shined at Stanford (where, in 1999, he led the football Cardinal to its first outright Pac 10 title since 1971) only to suffer slings and arrows during truncated tenures at Washington and Notre Dame.

Stanford's women's program has produced more than a dozen LPGA stars, including Mickey Wright and Michelle Wie.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Willingham was currently working with the Stanford women's golf team. The university says that he never held an official position with the team and is no longer working with Stanford's golfers.