Aug. 26, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame assistant athletics director Brian Boulac, with 40 years of experience on the Notre Dame athletic staff behind him as both a full-time coach and administrator, has announced his retirement.
He originally came to Notre Dame in 1959 to play football, earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University — then returned to campus to coach first football, later softball, and also serve 24 years with the Notre Dame athletic administration.
From the time he enrolled as a freshman at Notre Dame in ’59 through the 2008 season, Boulac saw (or played in) every Notre Dame home football game for 50 consecutive seasons (282 games).
“Considering his long and valuable efforts as a player, a coach and as an administrator, I don’t think it’s possible to find anyone on campus who has made more contributions to athletics at Notre Dame than Brian Boulac has made over the past five decades,” said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
“We will miss Brian dearly, as much as anything because of the relationships he has maintained over the years with former football players and others close to our athletics program. He has been a tremendous ambassador for the University, particularly for athletics,” said Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
Boulac matriculated at a time when freshman were not eligible to play on the varsity — and he wore a leather helmet during that first season in ’59. A three-year member of the varsity football team, he earned a monogram as a sophomore player at Notre Dame in 1960. Following his graduation from the University in 1963, he had a tryout with the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals, but elected to stay on campus as a graduate assistant coach under interim head coach Hugh Devore in 1963. Ara Parseghian retained him as a graduate assistant from 1964-67 and Boulac served as assistant freshman football coach in 1966-67 (helping the 1966 varsity team win a national championship).
Boulac played three seasons as a tight end on the Notre Dame varsity football team from 1960-62, earning a monogram in 1960 after making 21 tackles and recovering a fumble in 105 minutes of action.
Boulac participated in ROTC as an undergraduate and fulfilled his active duty commitment by serving 20 months in the Army Medical Service Corps at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, from June 1968 through January 1970.
Parseghian brought him on staff as an offensive line coach on Feb. 1, 1970. Over the next 13 years at various times, Boulac coached the offensive and defensive lines, receivers and special teams under Parseghian, Dan Devine and Gerry Faust. He spent the last seven years of his coaching career as recruiting coordinator for the football program. In its March 3, 1975 issue, Time recognized his recruiting technique in an article entitled “Brian’s Pitch.”
He also served as administrative assistant to Devine for two years and as assistant head coach for two years under Faust. Boulac was a member of the coaching staff for eight seasons that culminated in postseason bowl appearances, including six Irish victories (three Cotton, one Orange, one Sugar, one Gator). In addition, he was the offensive line coach on Notre Dame’s 1973 and 1977 national championship teams. In 1999, the All-American Football Foundation honored him for his years of service as an assistant coach.
Among the Irish All-America standouts he coached were guard Larry DiNardo, tackle John Dampeer, guard Gerry DiNardo, tackle Steve Sylvester, guard Ernie Hughes, center David Huffman, tackle Tim Foley and center John Scully.
Boulac is currently in his 24th year of working in the day-to-day operation of the Notre Dame athletic administration. After 13 years as a member of the Irish football coaching staff, at the invitation of athletic director Gene Corrigan, Boulac moved into the administrative ranks in March 1983 working with all of the Notre Dame athletic teams.
As the administrative staff expanded, Boulac served as an administrator for various Irish teams, including men’s and women’s track and field and cross country, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, softball, hockey, volleyball, baseball, and men’s and women’s fencing — with the fencing program earning national championship honors in 1986 (men), 1987 (women), 1994, 2003 and 2005 (the last three combined). Boulac was an eight-year member of the NCAA Division I Fencing Committee and served as chairman of that committee in 1996-97. He is a member of the United States Fencing Association college and high school advisory committee. He worked the fencing venue at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.
Boulac was the founding father of the Notre Dame softball program, serving as its first head coach from 1989-92, leading the Fighting Irish to four 30-win seasons and Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament titles in 1990 and 1991.
Boulac spent four seasons (1989-92) as the first head coach of the Notre Dame women’s softball team. During his tenure, he guided the Irish to four 30-win seasons, including Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament titles in 1990 and 1991, and the league’s regular-season title in 1992. In 1989, the first varsity season for the program, he was selected as MCC Coach of the Year.
He also served as an athletic department liaison with the admissions and financial aid departments and worked with fellow Notre Dame administrators Charmelle Green and Mike Karwoski in the student development area.
While also serving as the general manager of the Joyce Center in recent years, Boulac has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the building, including personnel management, budget management, crowd control, technical services, custodial services and special events.
He traveled to Hamburg, Germany, in the summer of 2000 to help coach a Notre Dame alumni football team to a victory over the Hamburg Blue Devils — and he has served as an assistant coach at the Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp for all of the six years it has been in existence.
Boulac has been a member of the Edward W. Moose Krause Chapter of the College Football Hall of Fame since 1983, chairing the scholarship committee since 1985. The Chapter honored him for his contributions to football in 1991.
In 2006, Boulac received the James E. Armstrong Award for distinguished service to the University — and on the same weekend he was honored by many of his players and friends when a plaque with his name was placed on a football locker in the new Guglielmino Athletics Complex.
Being at Notre Dame provided Boulac with opportunities to serve in areas not directly related to athletics. He spent two summers in a Notre Dame Peace Corps-type program (CILA) in Lima, Peru, the first between his junior and senior years with teammate and ’63 football captain Bob Lehman and the second in 1965 with ’66 captain Jim Lynch. A longtime member of the St. Joseph’s County DARE board, he also has served on boards at Real Services, Inc., and at Madison Center in South Bend.
Boulac earned 10 letters in high school while playing football, baseball, basketball and track — his freshman and sophomore years at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Wash., and junior and senior years at Olympia High School in Olympia, Wash., garnering all-state honors in football and basketball and captaining both those squads, all the while keeping the dream of playing at Notre Dame alive. It was a dream that began in 1949 when his father took him to his first Notre Dame football game – Notre Dame versus Washington in Seattle (Notre Dame won 27-7).
Born May 8, 1941, in Walla Walla, Wash., Boulac and his wife Micki (a 1983 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School) have four daughters, all of whom are Notre Dame graduates: Dawn, Denise, Debbie and Dyan, three of whom (Dawn softball, Debbie softball and Dyan volleyball) earned varsity monograms.
Here’s a year-by-year summary of Boulac’s tenure at Notre Dame:
1959 - Freshman tight end (listed at 6-4, 195)1960 - Sophomore tight end (earned a monogram, played 105 minutes, made 21 tackles, recovered one fumble)1961 - Junior tight end (played only 15 minutes due to injury)1962 - Senior tight end (played only 5:15 minutes due to injury; graduated in 1963)
1963 - Graduate assistant coach1964 - Graduate assistant coach (earned master's degree in 1965)1965 - Graduate assistant coach1966 - Assistant freshman coach1967 - Assistant freshman coach
13 years as a full-time assistant coach under Ara Parseghian (1970-74), Dan Devine (1975-80) and Gerry Faust (1981-82)1970 - Offensive line coach (Cotton Bowl champion vs. Texas)1971 - Offensive line coach1972 - Offensive line coach (Orange Bowl vs. Nebraska)1973 - Offensive line coach (Sugar Bowl champion vs. Alabama)1974 - Offensive line coach (Orange Bowl champion vs. Alabama)1975 - Offensive line coach1976 - Offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator (Gator Bowl champion vs. Penn State)1977 - Offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator (Cotton Bowl champion vs. Texas)1978 - Offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator (Cotton Bowl champion vs. Houston)1979 - Offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator1980 - Offensive line coach, recruiting coordinator (Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia)1981 - Assistant head coach, defensive line coach, recruiting coordinator1982 - Assistant head coach, receivers coach, special teams coach, recruiting coordinator
24 years as an assistant athletics director in the Notre Dame athletic administration1983 - Assistant athletics director1984 - Assistant athletics director1985 - Assistant athletics director1986 - Assistant athletics director1987 - Assistant athletics director1988 - Assistant athletics director, women's softball coach1989 - Assistant athletics director, women's softball coach1990 - Assistant athletics director, women's softball coach1991 - Assistant athletics director, women's softball coach1992 - Assistant athletics director1993 - Assistant athletics director1994 - Assistant athletics director1995 - Assistant athletics director1996 - Assistant athletics director1997 - Assistant athletics director1998 - Assistant athletics director1999 - Assistant athletics director2000 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2001 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2002 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2003 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2004 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2005 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2006 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2007 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2008 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager2009 - Assistant athletics director, Joyce Center general manager
What Brian Boulac says about Notre Dame –
“Many men have a dream come true, but I have been fortunate to live my dream for more than 50 years. Notre Dame has given me so much more than I could ever give back. I learned to be a coach under Ara Parseghian and moved into administration under the wing of Gene Corrigan — the most talented and respected mentors one could ask for in athletics. From my perspective, being a Notre Dame employee is not a job. It is a vocation. To be a part of the Notre Dame family and tradition is a God-given opportunity that I have been blessed to share with so many tremendous athletes and co-workers over the years. I plan to continue that vocation for many years to come.”
What Notre Dame staff members say about Brian Boulac –
Notre Dame president emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C:
“When you consider all that he has contributed for so many years, Brian is one of the reasons Notre Dame is the kind of place that it is. He stands for what Notre Dame is all about. We thank him for so many wonderful years of service to Our Lady’s University. God bless you, Brian, as well as Micki and the girls.”
Former Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian:
“Beyond Brian’s dedication and loyalty and longevity, I will always remember the race we had between two of our assistant coaches, Brian and Mike Stock, as to who yelled louder. Off the field they were two very docile guys, but I’d be up in the tower on the practice field and I’d be laughing at the how intense they were. I will miss Brian’s hollering out there on the field.”
Notre Dame softball coach Deanna Gumpf:
“We are forever indebted to Brian for taking the softball program to the varsity level at Notre Dame. Brian serves as a coach, mentor and father figure to many of our alumni, family and friends. Our softball family continues to speak of their fond memories of Brian. His presence at softball games is always known when we hear him roaring down the left-field line. We wish him the best in his retirement and look forward to seeing him at many future Irish softball games!”
Notre Dame men’s tennis coach Bob Bayliss:
“Brian is a big part of why my family and I ended up here. After Gene Corrigan invited me to visit the campus to look at the Notre Dame men’s tennis opportunity, Brian made all the arrangements. He spoke so glowingly and with such pride about Notre Dame that it was difficult not to accept the position. He was so sincere that I was quick to make a decision and I have appreciated all he did for me every day since I arrived in 1987. He is a Notre Dame original.”
— ND —