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Swarbrick gives us a progress report

Jan 15, 2010, 7:30 AM EDT

Jack Swarbrick chatted it up with the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen about the progress Brian Kelly is making and the state of Irish athletics in general. It was a pretty expansive read and you should check out the whole thing, but if you’re short on time, here are the highlights:

On the timing of Brian Kelly’s hiring, in light of the USC / Tennessee situation:

This is fundamentally why you can’t wait. You have to – if you find the
right person, and I’m confident we did – have to close that out.

the same with NASCAR drivers at the end of their season. In every
sport, there’s this fluidness, this change. If you don’t control your
own fate, someone else is going to control it for you.”

On how the transition to Brian Kelly has gone:

“Oh, spectacularly. I’m really pleased. What I like, first and
foremost, is Brian’s sort of systematic approach to each of the
elements and getting them done in a very orderly, effective fashion –
building a staff, contacting recruits, getting integrated into the

“The other thing I love about it is how much he
embraces being here, whether it’s having lunch at the South Dining Hall
or taking the time to walk through this building (Joyce Center) and
meet people. He has just been so good at reaching out to the rest of
the Notre Dame family, and that’s been great.”

On flexibility in the 7-4-1 scheduling model:

“We have the goal of the 7-4-1 model, but there may be some years where
an opportunity presents itself that we may go to 6-5-1 or 7-5. We’re
open to those sorts of modifications.”

On the time table for training table:

“Sooner rather than later. As we’ve come back into the new year, we’re
focused on trying to work through the details, but I don’t know exactly
when it’ll firm up yet.”

On the impact the Comcast-NBC merger will have on the television contract:

“It certainly impacts us, but it’s too early for any of us to
understand exactly how, and that will play out over time. I think it’s
very significant in terms of the landscape of major media.

think its significance will be great overall. But I can give you a
scenario where it’s great. I can give you a scenario where it’s not so
great. We just to have to stay engaged and let it play out over time.”

On staying in touch with Charlie Weis:

“No, but a lot of texting back and forth. I sent him a note when he
landed Kansas City. He sent me one on New Year’s Eve, so we have not
had a phone conversation but do text each other.”

On the contingency plan of bringing back Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator:

“I wouldn’t describe it as ‘contingency plans.’ That wouldn’t
be fair at all. I think if an incoming coach didn’t have a plan for an
offensive coordinator, it would have been an interesting conversation,
one I would have been happy to facilitate, but there were no plans. We
weren’t out there in our search for a coach having that be a
contingency, for example.”

Another great job by Eric Hansen. While people complained about Kelly’s timing and the decision making process, Swarbrick was absolutely correct on the necessity to make a quick decision. Notre Dame had their first offer accepted. Tennessee got turned down by the Air Force coach.  What a difference 45 days makes…

  1. Jake - Jan 15, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    Regarding the hiring discussion about ND and Tennessee, I’m not sure it’s a valid comparison. I understand the point about timing, but ND fired Weis and probably knew they were going to for some time. Tennessee, on the other hand was blindsided when Kiffin bolted town so fast orange paint dust is still falling on the streets. Obviously they hadn’t anticipated this and really had no fall back plan.
    Additionally this is a terrible time to find a top tier coach so I’m not surprised they struck out on the first offer.

  2. sharkey - Jan 15, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Duke and Wake Forest because of academic similarities?!?!?
    C’mon, Jack! You have to do better than that!!!

  3. JRC - Jan 15, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Remember USC can recruit good to very good players who can’t compose a sentence. They walk them through the courses and as long as they show up for practice and games it’s all good.
    ND and schools of a higher academic standard (includes Duke & Wake Forest) don’t operate like that. This is not pro football and these are suppose to be student athletes. I think it complements ND’s purpose as an academic institution to include schools like these in their schedule.
    Notre Dame graduates 94% of it’s football players compared to USC’s 54%(2008 Statistics).

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