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Mike Golic, Jr. follows in father’s steps yet blazes own path

Molly Sammon | Thursday, November 17, 2011

By the time Notre Dame senior center Mike Golic, Jr. got his first start for the Irish against Maryland on Saturday, he had the opportunity to make both plays on the field and videos of them.

After the tape of Golic’s personal rendition of Toto’s song “Africa,” complemented by back-up dancing from senior nose guard Brandon Newman, brought in 2,000 hits on YouTube, the pair were a success and the Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) major realized a new dream of his.

“Brandon and I weren’t playing a ton before this year. Football’s a big part of our lives, so you have to have something to blow off a little steam every once in a while,” the West Hartford, Conn., native said. “Being FTT majors, we’ve made it a little goal on the side to become a YouTube sensation.”

Aside from the karaoke, Golic and Newman also paired up for a behind-the-scenes broadcast series called, “Our Team, Our Story,” which features updates about the team from a more personal vantage point.

“People see what we do on Saturdays all the time and the hard work, but we just want them to see the personality of this team because we think it’s a great one,” Golic said. “It’s something fun we’ve been able to do on the side. Me and my partner in crime, Brandon, we’ve been blowing up YouTube since the whole Toto incident.”

Golic’s decision to major in FTT stemmed not only from his love of movies and television, especially ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Glee,’ but also the major’s perfect academic fit for a future in sports broadcasting. Following in the footsteps of his father, ESPN analyst and former Notre Dame defensive lineman Mike Golic, Sr., Golic hopes to join his father on television screens across the nation.

“When it’s all said and done, I’d like to work in the industry like my dad,” Golic Jr. said. “I know that like football, sports broadcasting is a tough road and a tough field, and I think that’s something that I was fortunate to see — all the hard work that my dad put in to get where he is career-wise.”

The father and son share many things in common, like their name, a spot on the Notre Dame football team and an appreciation of the visual arts of television, but they do have their differences.

“I’m much better looking than my dad. I’m the much better looking of the Mike Golics. I’m funnier, I’m smarter, far more humble. I’m a way better dancer. He does have a great head of hair though, very full and rich waves, so I can’t compete with him in that aspect,” Golic said with a laugh. “All kidding aside, at the end of the day, we are each our own person, but seeing the way he’s lived his life, I’ve very fortunate to have a role model like him. As a player, the way he lives his life, the way he’s raised my brother [Notre Dame junior tight end Jake Golic] and sister and me, and as a husband to my mom — he’s been my hero since I was a little kid.”

Golic’s passion for sports broadcasting and his academic calling in FTT are a good fit for the self-proclaimed “visual learner.”

“I think seeing the way things and concepts play out, the way they’re used visually is definitely how I get things,” Golic said. “I always say, ‘You can draw things up Xs and Os all day, but going out there and doing them is always the best way that I learn.’”

Golic got his chance for on-field learning experience during his sophomore year when he played in three games for a combined seven minutes of competitive action, the first in the later minutes of Notre Dame’s 35-0 shutout of Nevada in its 2009 season opener.

“It was definitely a rush … getting to run out of the runnel of the stadium with 82,000 people in the stands,” Golic said. “It was the icing on the cake to be a part of the end of the game.”

This past Saturday, he made his first career start for Notre Dame against Maryland at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

“It was everything I hoped it would be,” Golic said. “It was an exciting moment for me, and I just really was happy to help this team in a bigger role.”

With his first start coming so late in his career, Golic said he had extra nerves to settle before kickoff against the Terrapins.

“It was something I had to wait a long time for,” Golic said. “I tried to calm myself down more than anything, remind myself that it’s a football game. No matter how long you sit, you don’t forget how to be a football player if that’s who you are.”

Golic also met up with his dad at the end of Notre Dame’s 45-21 win over Maryland.

“I saw him right after the game. He was just proud more than anything else,” Golic said. “It probably meant just as much to him as it meant to me. We’re both happy that that time finally came.”