The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



BRIAN POLIAN:Staff’s youngest member brings

Matt Puglisi | Friday, April 22, 2005

Contrary to popular belief, ESPN isn’t the only employer offering a “dream job.”

Just ask Notre Dame assistant defensive backs and special teams coach Brian Polian.

“I’m an Irish Catholic from New York, so this is pretty much the dream job,” Polian said. “The chance to work with Coach Weis and this staff was really exciting to me, and I knew I was going to come here and learn from some of the best in the business.”

And, believe it or not, location was actually a positive in Polian’s decision to leave his position as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for Central Florida to try his hand at rebuilding a much-maligned Irish special teams unit.

“My family’s in Indianapolis,” Polian said. “It was a chance to move back to where my family is – a place I’m comfortable with. I was living in Florida when I took this job, and I’m too chubby and too pasty to be living where it’s sunny and hot.”

For Polian, the rush associated with rebuilding a program as part of a new coaching staff is old hat.

“This is the second year that I’ve been on the front end of a new staff where it’s not a normal off-season,” Polian said. “You’re at a dead sprint in recruiting, and the minute recruiting ends, everybody’s focus is ‘What are we going to be on offense? What are we going to be on defense?’ Specifically for me, ‘What are we going to be in the kicking game?'”

Prior to working at Central Florida, Polian spent three years as running backs coach and special teams coordinator with Buffalo (2001-03).

The 1997 John Carroll University graduate is certainly no stranger to the gridiron, racking up a trio of letters with the Division III Blue Streaks and earning a spot on the all-Ohio Athletic Conference squad in 1996. Graduating with a history degree, Polian wasted little time starting his coaching career, joining Michigan State as an offensive graduate assistant in 1997.

Polian switched to the defensive side of the ball and gained his first taste of special teams coaching two years later with Baylor, where he worked as a defensive graduate assistant and special teams assistant from 1999-2000. While Polian and his fellow coaching staff members are only finishing up their first spring with the Irish, Polian couldn’t be happier with his choice to don blue and gold on fall Saturdays.

“I have absolutely no complaints,” Polian said. “For the most part, this is a self-motivated, low maintenance group. It’s great, because I’ve been in places where they’re not self-motivated and they’re not low-maintenance.

“I like the mentality we’ve seen so far in the off-season. I think we’ve been working hard and want to get after it.”

They’ll soon have their chance.