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Golic continues family legacy at Notre Dame

Joseph Monardo | Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family legacy and University tradition combined to create a special occasion on a Saturday afternoon in 2009. Irish tight end Jake Golic prepared to take the field for the first time in an Irish uniform.

“Man, the first time I ran out of the tunnel [is a clear memory],” Golic said. “I was standing right next to my brother, I could see my folks up in the stands. I was just overtaken by emotion at that point. It was something I had waited for since the beginning of my conscious memory, so it was a huge thing for me.”

Golic’s first time running out of the tunnel in Notre Dame Stadium fulfilled what had been for him a journey begun, at least in part, long before his birth. His father, Mike Golic Sr., and uncles, Bob and Greg Golic, all played football at Notre Dame from 1975 to 1985. Golic’s older brother Mike Golic Jr., is a graduate student right guard while his younger sister Sydney Golic is a freshman swimmer at Notre Dame.

Despite the extensive tradition of the Golic football players at Notre Dame, Jake Golic said he never felt pressure from his father or anyone else to choose Notre Dame.

“My dad told me from day one, ‘it doesn’t matter that I went there and your brother goes there,’” he said. “‘You know it’s your choice. Wherever you are most comfortable, you can go there.’ But I knew in my mind this is the place I wanted to be. It just felt right.”

The attraction he felt to Notre Dame was enough to draw Golic to play football for the Irish, but his family’s connections to the program have helped to make his career especially enjoyable, Golic said.

“It’s incredibly special,” he said. “It’s a huge honor and a blessing. Not a lot of people can say they played on the same field as their dad and with their brother at the same time. So it’s a very cool thing and I’ve never taken a day for granted here and I’ve loved every moment I’ve been here.”

The West Hartford, Conn., native has also helped to establish a new Notre Dame tradition during his time with the Irish. Golic is one of the founders of “Trick Shot Monday,” a locker room game which requires the players to shoot a ping-pong ball into a Gatorade cup.

“I was one of the people that started it,” Golic said. “It was originally me, [graduate-student defensive end] Kapron Lewis-Moore and [junior quarterback] Andrew Hendrix my sophomore year … So at this point we have pretty much passed the torch … down to the younger guys. So it’s in their hands now, wherever it goes it’s up to them.”

Video of the game, which appears on YouTube each week, has worked its way into the national spotlight after appearances on ESPN shows “SportsCenter” and “College GameDay.” Golic said he has been surprised that Trick Shot Monday has received so much attention.

“I got a tweet one morning, it said ‘Check out SportsCenter, you are No. 2 [on the top 10],’ ” he said. “I was like, ‘There’s got to be a mistake there.’ I turn it on, I was blown away. It was pretty cool.”

Golic is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters and is majoring in Design. The self-described “computer geek” said he chose the major because it appealed to his interests and offered the chance to do something different than his dad and brother.

Golic’s choice of major represents the same willingness to forge a path of his own he showed in the program that has featured the names of several of his relatives. His family’s legacy at Notre Dame never acted as a negative force or burden, Golic said.

“As long as you try your best every day, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is,” he said. “If you put in the work you think you need to and you do everything possible … I don’t think there is any kind of burden that comes along with it.”

Golic made three appearances in 2009 on special teams and offense and has seen time on the field in 2012. Although he may have created what will become the next Irish tradition, Golic said his favorite aspect of being a part of the Irish involves one of the program’s more recognizable and storied traditions.

“Just putting that gold helmet on,” he said. “Every time you get to run out of that tunnel. I only have two opportunities to do that left and I am really [going to] soak it up these next two times because that is what I’ll miss the most, is strapping it on and running out of that tunnel and seeing those fans.”

 

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu