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Nolan Henry exemplifies a team player

| Friday, November 22, 2019

For graduate student Nolan Henry, legacy, tradition and teamwork is essential. Four years ago, the quarterback hailing from Vancouver, Washington, had an important decision to make. The Union High School senior decided he would be attending Notre Dame. 

“The big thing for me was, the tradition here is certainly great and the legacy here is cool and all [and] the ability to be a part of that and something greater than yourself in all aspects,” he said. “The education, as well. I think those were the two big points for me coming out of high school. I had gotten in here as just a student. I applied early. I had offers from other schools, so I was weighing between the two, and then once I got accepted here, I actually got contacted by the team and figured this would be the right decision for my future.”

Allison Thornton | The Observer
Irish graduate student Nolan Henry jogs on the field during Notre Dame’s annual Blue and Gold game.

After Ian Book earned the starting quarterback position, Henry was assigned to hold kicks for Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer, Justin Yoon. For a position where all the blame would fall on the holder for a botched kick, Henry played off the nerve-racking job calmly, mostly crediting Yoon himself. 

“Last year was really cool, especially with Justin becoming the all-time leading scorer in Notre Dame history. That was certainly special,” Henry said. “And then being in the playoff game, the field goal I held for Yoon [was] certainly awesome, as well. He was a particular kicker, so it took a little effort both out of me and Ian last year to get him what wanted, but he did a great job and it was a really cool experience with that.”

When asked what the biggest lesson he learned during his time at Notre Dame, Henry said it was learning to being a team player.

“Like what I said earlier, giving everything you have to something that is bigger than yourself,” he said. “That’s been a big turning point in the program, I was here for the 4-8 year, and it seemed like the next years after that, it was all about accountability to your teammates. I think growing in that brotherhood was a big part of that year and these consequent years afterwards. That’s the biggest thing that all of us learned: perseverance, just the mentality to never give up and push through any mental or physical pain that we have. I know that will serve all of us for the rest of our lives.”

Finally, when asked what he wants to remember about this season, Henry said the most important thing was the development of younger quarterbacks.

“I think this season, just in general for me coming back as a fifth-year and as more of a — not necessarily a player-coach, but just more on that side of the ball — remembering the relationships I continue to make this year and some of the impacts I may have had helping the development of the younger quarterbacks, helping Ian [Book] as much as I can, I think that will be the thing I hang my hat on moving forward,” he said. “Just making great memories everywhere we go, whether it’s a home game or an away game, it’s just been really cool.”

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About Jimmy Ward

Jimmy is a senior at Holy Cross College, where he studies English and sports management. He is originally from Westfield, Indiana. Currently, Jimmy serves as an associate sports editor at The Observer. You can find him at @jimmyyward on Twitter.

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