Editor's note: This is the second in a series examining Notre Dame's bowl history.
After Dan Devine stepped down as Notre Dame coach following a 9-2-1 record in 1980, the university gambled on a prep coach who had sent plenty of talent out of Cincinnati's Moeller High School straight to South Bend.
Gerry Faust also was hired because of an impressive 178-23-2 record while at Moeller, as well as his ties to former Fighting Irish coach Hugh Devore. Devore coached Faust, a quarterback, at Dayton in the late 1950s. It was a crapshoot bringing the amiable Faust aboard. Notre Dame went 30-26-1 in his five-year tenure, qualifying for the postseason just twice before Lou Holtz's services were acquired in 1986.
A 5-6 start wasn't what ND fans hoped for in Holtz's first season. The next fall, however, the Irish landed in the first of nine bowl games in his 11-year stop in South Bend.
As the Irish and first-year coach Brian Kelly prepare to take on Miami in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 31, here's a look at how Notre Dame performed in both bowl games under Faust and the first two under Holtz.
1983 Liberty Bowl
Faust inherited nine of his former Moeller stars but couldn't duplicate the same success, combining for an 11-10-1 record through his first two seasons. Still, the Irish entered the season opener against Purdue ranked No. 5 in 1983 and they shellacked the Boilermakers by 46 points before unranked Michigan State and Miami. Notre Dame dropped its final three to land in Memphis on Dec. 29 against default rival Boston College. Sophomore Allen Pinkett rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, with junior Chris Smith adding 104 yards on the ground, as ND upended the 13th-ranked Golden Eagles, 19-18.
1984 Aloha Bowl
The year started with a resounding thud inside the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis as No. 8 Notre Dame lost a 23-21 heartbreaker against Purdue. It was a season of streaks after that, with three straight wins, three losses and then four victories to close out the schedule. The strong finish boosted the Irish to No. 17 and Hawaii, where they lost to 10th-ranked SMU by a score. Notre Dame tied the game on Mark Brooks' 11-yard TD run in the third quarter, but Brandy Brownlee rumbled in from two yards out on SMU's next possession -- his second score of the game -- to regain the lead for good en route to a 27-20 win.
1988 Cotton Bowl
For the first time since 1980, the Irish qualified for a New Year's Day game, as the '87 season produced an 8-3 record in Holtz's second go-round. The Irish, however, staggered into the Cotton Bowl against No. 13 Texas A&M having dropped their final two games, including a 24-0 drubbing by Miami. Heisman winner Tim Brown, a Dallas native, returned home and caught a 17-yard pass touchdown pass from Terry Andrysiak just three minutes in for the early lead. But the Jackie Sherrill-coached Aggies showed no mercy in a 35-10 victory.
1989 Fiesta Bowl
Payback. Holtz led the Irish to a perfect season in '88, which included wins over No. 9 Michigan, No. 4 Miami and No. 2 USC. All that was standing in Notre Dame's way was a 3rd-ranked West Virginia outfit at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Quarterback Tony Rice threw for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a backbreaking 29-yard strike to Raghib "Rocket" Ismail, as linebacker Frank Stams cleaned up defensively to polish off a 34-21 victory for a national championship.