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Memo to Swarbrick

Barrick Bollman | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

As of 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, Jack Swarbrick became the most important and most scrutinized member of the Notre Dame family. His task is daunting and his goals are lofty.  After more than a decade of mediocrity, he is the man tasked with finding the savior. Jack Swarbrick can either be Kevin White or Moose Krause.  For the sake of the Notre Dame Nation, I hope it’s the latter.

So Mr. Swarbrick, I hope you are up to the task. As you conduct your search, I offer a few recommendations.

Your first task is gauging interest. This year, Notre Dame is the job. There is no Florida or LSU to compete with like last time. I would suggest you contact anyone and everyone who could remotely fill the post to gauge interest, starting from Bill Belichick down to Skip Holtz.  Even if a coach has publicly denied interest, they are candidates until they say no to you. Be like David Abernathy asking out the much-older Kerry Piqua. Maybe they will say yes.

Once you have a list of interested coaches, your task gets far more difficult.  History has shown that coaches with success as a college head coach have a better chance of succeeding at Notre Dame. So scratch Jon Gruden, Steve Marucci, Will Muschamp and others.  We need a strong defensive foundation.  It is no coincidence that the top four BCS teams also field the top four defenses. So extra emphasis needs to be placed on coach like TCU’s Gary Patterson and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops. Lastly, whoever you select needs to have at least an understanding what it is to be a Notre Dame man. This was the area where Charlie succeeded, and our new coach needs to continue that.  That means running a clean program, making athletes be student-athletes and giving back to the community. This is why I am afraid of Urban Meyer, with his 25-plus player arrests and lax discipline.

Whoever you choose Jack, now comes the hardest part of all. Getting the savior to South Bend, Ind. There are a couple recommendations I would make to do this. First, don’t be cheap.  If you believe the man you picked is the one, then offer him top dollar.  And make sure it is clear that the school would also make sure he has the support to hire the best staff possible.  Guarantee that he will have an unmatched recruiting budget to assist in the difficult national recruiting that Notre Dame is involved in. Second, remind him who we are. Remind him that we build statues for national championship winning coaches around here. Remind him of the unmatched tradition. Remind him that all but one game since 1992 has been nationally televised. Remind him that there is plenty of talent that can meet admissions requirements — this was one thing that Charlie proved. So Jack, the spotlight is on you. How will you be remembered? If you take away only one thing, remember to reach for the stars, aim high, and expect the best.  Take nothing for granted and take all steps necessary. I believe you will be successful. Good luck.