Notre Dame’s Big Off-Season Changes Bring Results

Jack Swarbrick

The University of Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick hosted head football coach Brian Kelly at his home for an eight-and-a-half hour off-season meeting that already is paying off.

Swarbrick invested in bringing in 17 new football staff members to help Kelly pursue a turnaround rather than succumb to the predictable calls from certain fans who want a new head coach after a storied program has a rare losing season. The big changes may explain how the Fighting Irish have started the season with a 4-1 record to improve upon last year’s 4-8 team.

Notre Dame’s most impressive win so far in 2017 occurred during a nationally televised game on Fox Saturday night, Sept. 23, when it used a ball-hawking defense and a productive offense to avenge last year’s home loss to Michigan State University with a convincing 38-18 victory on the road against the Spartans. The win carried heightened significance for Notre Dame as it marked the first football game between the two Midwestern rivals since the Aug. 2 death of legendary Fighting Irish football coach Ara Parseghian, who led the team in 1966 to a 10-10 in East Lansing with the Spartans that the media at the time called the “Game of the Century.”

The tie 51 years ago let Notre Dame stay No. 1 and kept Michigan State No. 2 to propel Parseghian to his first of two national championships. This year’s game came after Notre Dame, which played in the 2013 national championship game in Kelly’s third season at the helm, and Michigan State, which reached the national semifinals two seasons ago led by its head coach Mark Dantonio, both finished with uncharacteristic losing records last year amid injuries and many frustratingly close defeats.

Swarbrick showed the value of a good adviser, whether in athletics or investments, by offering input to turn around subpar performance. Notre Dame lost its traditional winning edge last season when seven of its eight defeats came by one score.

The perennially high expectations of Notre Dame’s fan base caused grumbling about whether Kelly could steer the team back to its winning tradition but the early results show he is succeeding, with a well-played one-point loss against the No. 5-ranked University of Georgia as the only blemish on the won-loss record of the Fighting Irish so far this year. Rather than succumb to the pressure, Swarbrick chose to support his coach with a goal of restoring its winning tradition quickly.

To read the rest of this article on Notre Dame’s quick return on investment, please click here.

Paul Dykewicz is the editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications, editor of and DividendInvestor, a columnist for Townhall and Townhall Finance, a commentator and the author of an inspirational book,Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a Foreword by legendary football coach Lou Holtz. Visit Paul’s website at and follow him on Twitter @PaulDykewicz.

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