Sept. 16, 2005
By Craig Chval
Bob Gladieux was one of Notre Dame’s biggest heroes in one of the biggest games in Notre Dame football history. Although he led Notre Dame’s 1968 team in rushing and scoring, Gladieux probably is best remembered for scoring the only Irish touchdown in the legendary 10-10 tie against Michigan State in 1966.
Notre Dame rallied from a 10-0 deficit against the Spartans largely due to its ability to make adjustments – especially injuries. Several Irish stars missed all or much of the game. Others played with serious injuries.
It’s a good thing for Gladieux that he absorbed that lesson about making adjustments. More than 20 years later, Gladieux was back at Notre Dame, obtaining his master’s degree and serving as a graduate assistant under Irish head coach Lou Holtz.
When it came time to leave Notre Dame for a second time, Gladieux had more than a degree and two years at the knee of one of the all-time coaching greats – he also had a new partner.
While Gladieux was completing his master’s degree, a friend attempted to arrange a blind date for the former Irish star. According to Gladieux, while he was all for the idea, his perspective date, a native of Germany who was working for a South Bend travel company, wasn’t interested.
“She said, `Football player? Fat neck. No brains. No thanks.,” Gladieux relates, before adding with a laugh, “But then she met me.”
Gladieux married Inge, who has traveled to over 180 countries and speaks five languages. As Gladieux puts it, “She’s the franchise.”
Gladieux recognized that the situation called for an adjustment. Instead of moving on to the next destination in his coaching career, Bob and Inge started Gladieux Travel, Inc., in South Bend, serving individuals and businesses since 1988. More recently, Bob has also become associated with Za-Meks, a provider of clocks, mirrors and other promotional items. Za-Meks is licensed with Notre Dame and over 40 other universities.
Raising daughters Annette, Anja and Molly, Gladieux has made yet another adjustment.
“I didn’t have any sisters – this has been different. We had a blast until they became teenagers,” he laughs.
Gladieux stays close to the Notre Dame program, attending away games along with tours offered by Gladieux Travel.
“These players are great kids, and I always congratulate them on the commitment they’ve made by coming to Notre Dame.”