Searching the Wolverine’s official website for a transcript of Rich Rodriguez’s Notre Dame press conference (und.com is way better site by the way), I stumbled on an article that was pretty interesting.
Props to the writer for coming up with a good headline:
“Tommy Hates Michigan Football.”
Michigan long snapper Tom Pomarico’s father, Frank Pomarico, played on the offensive line for Notre Dame from 1970-1973, and was a senior captain of the 1973 National Championship squad. So naturally Tommy grew up loving the Irish.
I’ll let the article take it from there:
Tommy grew up hearing tales of Notre Dame football, learning about his
father’s exploits in a house full of Notre Dame memorabilia. Alongside
his dad, Tommy attended every game he could at Notre Dame Stadium,
tailgating with family friends and alumni accumulated over 25 years of
living in South Bend. His father was a popular man on game day,
introducing Tommy to a slew of well-known Notre Dame names, including
his dad’s old roommate, Gerry DiNardo. Tommy grew up adoring the gold
helmets and following his favorite players, Jarious Jackson, Autry
Denson and Courtney Watson.
— snip —
His tune started to change once Tom began attending Michigan’s football
camps. He met the men who epitomized Michigan football and saw that
they weren’t half bad. He shook Lloyd Carr’s hand and on one occasion
met the legendary Bo Schembechler. He developed a soft spot for the
Wolverines and realized that Notre Dame and Michigan shared a lot in
common. When a phone call came from former Wolverine assistant coach
Mike DeBord, offering him a spot with the Wolverines as a preferred
walk-on, Tom was sold. He would turn in his Gold for Maize and join the
While the rivalry really is contentious, I’m always reminded that the Notre Dame and Michigan fanbases have a lot of similarities. Keeping Northwestern out of the mix strictly from an athletics standpoint, ND and UM are easily the premiere athletic and academic institutions in the Midwest. While the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry game trumps the battle between the Wolverines and the Irish, I’m always kind of shocked at the animosity between Notre Dame and Michigan fans. I suppose it all has something to do with how similar the schools are, and how often both schools fight for the same players.