Sept. 20, 2006
By Craig Chval
Listening to Ned Bolcar, it would be easy to get the impression that he thinks he was born about 20 years too early. A native of Phillipsburg, N.J., where he was named USA Today’s national high school player of the year as a senior, Bolcar is the quintessential “Jersey Guy” that Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis so often exalts. The only trouble is, Bolcar clearly lives his life without regrets – although a few doubts may have crept in during his freshman season at Notre Dame.
A life-long Irish fan, Bolcar recalls being in Michigan’s visiting locker room as a freshman and having a veteran Irish player admonish him to quiet down and “act like [I’d] been there.”
Ned Bolcar `89
Moments later, Bolcar was stretching while the Michigan squad thundered onto the field, “with blood in their eyes and snot bubbles coming out of their noses.” Bolcar turned to a fellow freshman and accurately predicted, “We’re going to get the tar beat out of us today.”
All that changed a few months later when Lou Holtz took over as Notre Dame’s head coach.
“The very first meeting he came into the room and asked one of the seniors how long he had been playing football. The player said something like 10 years, and Coach Holtz responded that if the player didn’t sit up straight, his career would be over in three seconds. All of a sudden, you heard the sound of a hundred butts hitting the backs of seats.”
It was unlikely that Bolcar’s was one of those butts requiring a sudden shift. Bolcar’s work ethic may have exceeded his considerable talent. He was a second-team All-American linebacker in 1989, but considers twice being voted Notre Dame tri-captain by his teammates to be an even greater honor.
Bolcar and his teammates produced a national championship in 1988 and 23 straight victories – the greatest stretch in Notre Dame football since the Leahy Era.
“I had such great classmates – a bunch of guys who chose Notre Dame not only because they wanted to excel on the football team, but because they wanted to excel at life. And the Notre Dame students are very similar to the football players; they’re all very driven.”
Ned Bolcar was a second team All-American in 1987 and 1989 when he led the Irish in tackles with 106 and 109 respectively.
Bolcar, who played four years in the NFL, is a very enthusiastic supporter of Weis. He relates his first meeting with Weis, “He didn’t talk to me about Xs and Os, he talked to me about needing to get players who get it.”
Bolcar, who obviously “got it,” is finding an outlet for his competitive fires in institutional equities sales for the Wall Street firm of Jefferies and Company. “There are lots of Type-A personalities here,” he laughs.
Bolcar’s future plans still include raising a family.
“When they bury you, they’re not going to say he was an NFL player or a great Notre Dame football player; I want them to say he was a great husband, a great father, a great man.”