Athletic director Jack Swarbrick is ready for the bright lights. In anticipation of that, he spent some time talking with Pete Thamel of the New York Times, who posted an interesting Q&A with the man in charge of the fate of Charlie Weis.
Here are some good snippets:
Q: Your senior year as a student at Notre Dame, 1975, was
Rudy’s senior year. Were you at that game, and how did you recall it,
how it was romanticized?
A: I was at that game. I was conscious of it, but it didn’t strike me as a
big moment. It didn’t play out in my memory exactly how it did in the
movie. I’m a huge fan of the guys who made that movie. Angleo Pizzo
grew up in Bloomington, Ind.
Q: Personally, from what people have said, you’ve given up a
lot family wise to come up here. You’re commuting, what, about two and
a half hours?
A: Door to door for me it’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Q: How comfortable do you feel you were given the complete autonomy to make decisions here?
A: Completely. It was an important part of our discussion in the front end. I work for
the most honorable man in the world. He explained exactly how it would
work, and it has worked precisely that way. I frequently read stories
about us that reference the power brokers and trustees. Every
meaningful decision that involves athletics involves two people, it’s
Father John and I. And I have been absolutely insulated from any form
of external pressures. That’s what I asked for when I was hired, and
that’s exactly the way that it’s been.
Q: Since we’re on the big picture here, what’s your view of Notre Dame and its football independence going forward?
A: Our independence, our football independence, is very important to us.
It’s a priority to maintain it. It’s so wrapped up in the history of
who we are and the story of Notre Dame football. For me, that’s the
roots of its importance. I’d have you here for hours. It goes back to
Notre Dame football becoming Notre Dame football in 1913. Under the
leadership of an extraordinary guy named Jesse Harper. And that was
also a time in the history of the school when we were boycotted by what
was then the Western Conference, which is now the Big Ten. And so in
the face of that, Jesse made a remarkable decision to become the first
school to schedule nationally.
Q: Obviously there has been no per-se time table set. But do
you think something will be soon after Saturday night? Within the week?
A: Yes. There isn’t some sort of detailed plan. I think that last year is
representative. If I’m not mistaken, Charlie and I met on Tuesday. It
will definitely be during that week.
Q: He called your relationship yesterday “fair and cordial.” Would you say that is accurate?
A; From my perspective, I haven’t worked with a lot of people in my career
who I like more than Charlie Weis. My predecessor said something like,
‘On a scale of 1 to 10 Charlie is 100.’ I’ve never worked with anyone
where the gap between perception and reality was larger. It’s
fascinating to me. Someone smarter than me should take a look at that,
it’s a fascinating study. I have found him to be a guy who is
unfailingly generous and cares desperately about his family and this
institution. He has a great sense of humor and always has time when you
need him. He’s very honest. I don’t have much patience for people who
want to take indirect routes. I have very much enjoyed my opportunity
to work with him.
There’s plenty more from Thamel and Swarbrick and it’s a ton of good stuff. Check out the complete article here.