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Former Notre Dame football star, coach dies at 93

Terry Brennan was a halfback on three unbeaten teams for Notre Dame in the late 1940s and helped lead the Irish to a pair of national championships.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this September 1958 file photo, Notre Dame football coach Terry Brennan, left, talks with tackle Bronko Nagurski Jr. during practice in South Bend, Ind. Brennan, a star halfback on three unbeaten Notre Dame teams who was hailed as a wunderkind when he succeeded Irish coaching great Frank Leahy at just 25 years old, has died. He was 93. The school announced his death Wednesday, Sept 8, 2021. (AP Photo, File)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Former Notre Dame star football player and coach Terry Brennan has died. 

The school made the announcement on Wednesday. Brennan died on Tuesday at age 93. 

Brennan was a halfback on three unbeaten teams for Notre Dame in the late 1940s and helped lead the Irish to a pair of national championships. 

Brennan was drafted in the fifth round of the 1949 NFL Draft but chose to enter the coaching ranks at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago.

He was just 25 years old when he succeeded Irish coaching great Frank Leahy for the 1954 season. He became the youngest head coach in Notre Dame history.

In his first game as the Irish's head coach, Brennan’s team handed Texas its first shutout in 77 games and assumed the nation’s number-one ranking.

Brennan's teams went 32-18 in five seasons, including a 7-0 upset of Oklahoma in 1957 that ended the Sooners' record winning streak at 47 games.

He won 65 games as a student-athlete and head coach with the Irish and played in the legendary "Game of the Century" scoreless tie with Army in 1946.

"Terry Brennan played a unique role in the history and tradition of Notre Dame football," said Brian Kelly, the team's head coach. "He spanned two great generations of the program, from playing under Frank Leahy in the 'Game of the Century' to being the head coach at Notre Dame and coaching Irish legend Paul Hornung, who was the winner of the 1956 Heisman Trophy. We send our condolences to his loved ones."

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 file photo, Former Notre Dame football running back Terry Brennan poses at his home in Glenview, Ill. Terry Brennan, a star halfback on three unbeaten Notre Dame teams who was hailed as a wunderkind when he succeeded Irish coaching great Frank Leahy at just 25 years old, has died, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. He was 93. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Brennan was preceded in death by his wife Kel (Mary Louise Kelley) and is survived by Terry Brennan (Gilmore), Denise “Dinny” Dwyer (John),  Jane Lipton (Richard), Chris Brennan (Dianne), Joe Brennan, Matt Brennan (Marilyn) along with 25 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. 

A Celebration of Life mass service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, at Saints Faith, Hope & Charity Catholic Church in Winnetka, Illinois.