Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Meet the Press | by Pat

Up on the 14th floor of the Hesburgh Library, Fr. Jenkins formally introduced Notre Dame's 12th Athletic Director earlier today.

After a brief introduction by Fr. Jenkins, Swarbrick took to the podium and gave an impressive opening speech. The transcript of the presser is also located on and well worth your time if you are at all interested in the larger issues surrounding Notre Dame athletics. The video of the presser is also available. His bio can also be found along with a "What They're Saying About Jack Swarbrick" list of positive testimonials.

Pulling out a few favorite quotes, here are some of the more interesting things that Swarbrick mentioned with his first meeting with the press as ND's AD.

On his connection to Notre Dame:

This is home because this place defines who I am. ....

My grandparents could only aspire for me to attend Notre Dame, a dream my parents also shared, parents who didn't have the privilege to go to college. And so when I got to come here, it was an important moment for a long line of people in our family. And the great reward of that for me was that this university met every one of their expectations. It was what they thought it would be.
On ND's role in college athletics:
I believe that I accept this job on the threshold of extraordinary change in intercollegiate athletics in America. I have my theories, as Father suggested, about what that change may entail and where the industry is headed. But I think it will be enormous. I think there's much about this industry you won't recognize in 10 years.

We must be at the forefront of that. We must participate in leading that change. Notre Dame cannot have that dictated to it. And I love the challenge of accepting the responsibility for trying, with the other members of the athletic team, staff, coaches, student athletes, to be part of shaping that future.
On the importance of sports within the University:
I'm not here to just do sports right. I love the competitive environment of sports. Don't step on the field if you don't want to win. We want to win. We want to be a great academic institution that furthers research in this country. We want to be a place of faith. And we want to be a place that wins on the athletic field and turns out extraordinary student athletes. In the three legs of that stool I think there might be a tendency to treat sports as the stepchild. I think that nothing could be further from the truth. Sport is an integral, not a secondary, part of that success.
On seeking input from those outside of athletic department conference rooms:
Then I want to reach out to our fan base. I want to travel, spend time with them. I want to greet them when they're here. I want to hear what they have to say. That passion is what fuels the success of Notre Dame. And I know some people get nervous about how passionate it can be sometimes, how it plays itself out. I welcome that. I embrace that.

The inconvenience of some posting on a blog you might not prefer to have is a much better situation than being at a school where nobody cares and nobody talks about you and nobody writes about you. I see the passion here as only a plus and I'm fully prepared to engage it.
If Swarbrick is correct about the swirling changes coming to the world of collegiate athletics, this press conference gives me confidence that ND will have someone heading the department that not only will aggressively work for Notre Dame's best interests in the coming years, but also has a solid understanding of what exactly those best interests are.