The University of Notre Dame’s firing of football coach Charlie Weis dominated national headlines earlier this month, with speculation on who the next coach would be and whether or not the storied program could ever be a national title contender.

We, along with Catholics throughout the country, are eager to see the Fighting Irish return to their winning ways, but we hope Notre Dame keeps in mind its Catholic character when choosing the next coach to lead the team.

Whatever we may think of Weis’ 35-27 record, prayer was a prominent part of the Irish’s game-day ritual, with players kneeling down in the end zone after running out of the tunnel. The next coach should keep up that tradition.

And yes, we know that college sports is big business, but that doesn’t mean that earning a spot at the top of the Bowl Championship Series standings should be the school’s only aim. First and foremost, a university exists to enlighten minds of its young students. And a Catholic school exists, as Pope Benedict XVI reminded Catholic educators during his U.S. visit in April 2008, to be a place “in which God’s active presence in human affairs is recognized and in which every young person discovers the joy of entering into Christ’s ‘being for others.’”

That applies to all students, whether they are hotshot quarterbacks, a budding young scientist or social worker.