Gene Corrigan won't have to worry, to hear him tell it, about helping Notre Dame pick a football coach to succeed Dan Devine after New Year's -- "the good fathers" of South Bend will have taken care of it.

Corrigan, who leaves as athletic director at Virginia to succeed Moose Krause as Irish a.d. in January, doubtless has or will have input on the selection but sidestepped the subject as the two starred at the Quarterback Club of Washington's Notre Dame luncheon yesterday. But all concerned made clear, if not loud, that Devine's impending departure is irrevocable.

No matter that they were awaiting the school's elevation to its old eminence in the polls, making all right with the millions who regard college football and Notre Dame as synonomous -- including 2,000 NDU alumni in the nation's capital area, of whom several score gathered to hear an eloquent goodbye from Krause, retiring after 31 years as athletic director.

Krause congratulated Corrigan on Virginia's triumph Saturday over Tennessee while the beaten Irish were beating Navy in East Rutherford, N.J. -- "I think 70,000 of that crowd rooted for us; subway alumni, you know" -- noting that "we couldn't beat Tennessee ourselves last year." And Krause told the audience, "Gene will probably do a better job than I did. I'll be rooting for him, and if things aren't going just right, I'll be writing to him."