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RICK MINTER: Former Irish defensive coordinator under Holtz returns to same post

Eric Retter | Friday, April 22, 2005

Like his boss, Rick Minter already knows his way around town.

In a much less publicized homecoming than that of head coach Charlie Weis, Notre Dame’s new defensive coordinator and linebackers’ coach comes to South Bend as a returning member of the Irish community, having served as the defensive coordinator under Lou Holtz in 1992-93, years when the Irish won back-to-back Cotton Bowls and finished ranked No. 4 and No. 2, respectively.

When Weis offered him a job shortly after being hired this winter, Minter took the opportunity to come back to what he saw as a unique environment.

“When I was here 11 years ago, Notre Dame was a special place, and it’s a great place to work,” Minter said. “It’s the quality of life, quality of people, and it’s a fantastic university and an atmosphere I like to be in.”

Without a doubt, Minter’s return is also due in large part to Weis’s influence and the optimism following his hiring.

“It’s fun to be around a guy who’s kind of known as this offensive guy,” he said.

Minter served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers’ coach at South Carolina – again under Holtz – and before that, he was the head coach at Cincinnati from 1994-2003, where he led the Bearcats to four bowl game appearances, including the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl championship.

Certainly, Minter’s decade of head coaching experience has helped him grow as a coach.

“When you’re a head coach for ten years, all the decisions primarily rest on your shoulders, so you know how to make choices, make decisions and have to live by them and stand by them, but you also learn by having been around so many fine assistant coaches through the years as I was around as the head coach,” Minter said. “I’ve learned a lot from a lot of other people since I’ve been here about how to do certain things.”

In the same way, that experience has helped him grow as a mentor and a leader outside of football to the young men with whom he works.

“Relationships in sports are all about trust, showing trust in players and believing in the players, aiding them in any way possible for them to believe in themselves,” Minter said. “I think I have sat in front of so many young men in the last 10 years in the head coach’s chair from a problem solving viewpoint that I’m very sensitive to players’ individual needs.”

Ultimately, Minter’s experience – both as a coach and as a member of the Notre Dame community – should help him maximize his impact on his players, both on and off the field.

“I know what a Notre Dame kid has to go through to be successful and the demands placed on his time here, both in academics and physically on the field,” Minter said.”You really admire the guys who choose to come here and make this a part of their life.”