Aug. 31, 2014 NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Pat Eilers, a two-year starter and member of the 1988 University of Notre Dame national championship football team, has been named defensive quality control assistant for the Fighting Irish football coaching staff, head coach Brian Kelly announced Sunday.
Eilers bolsters Kyle McCarthy’s spot on the Notre Dame staff. McCarthy, who serves as the defensive graduate assistant, is taking intermittent leaves of absence from the Irish football program this season while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Eilers is on sabbatical from his position as managing director of Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP), LLC, a Chicago-based private equity firm, where he oversees the firm’s energy and power effort. Prior to joining MDP in 1999, he served as a director with Jordan Industries, Inc., a private holding company. He also worked as an associate with venture capital firm, Investment Advisors Venture Capital, Inc.
Eilers serves on Notre Dame’s Energy Alumni Advisory Board (AAB), which is comprised of energy-interested members of the College of Engineering Advisory Council and other University organizations that provide advice and counsel to the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND).
Eilers graduated from Notre Dame with degrees in both biology (1989) and mechanical engineering (1990). He also earned his MBA from Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1999).
Eilers played three different positions (flanker, split end and defensive back) with the Irish, appearing in 34 career games and starting 18 times. As a flanker and split end, he totaled 11 receptions for 123 yards, added 10 rushing carries for 38 yards and one touchdown, and returned four punts for 23 yards. As a defensive back and special teams stalwart in 1987, he made 21 tackles, one for loss, one sack and one pass breakup.
In 1989, Eilers started 13 games at split end, and while the senior did not post gaudy numbers (five catches for 53 yards), his blocking played a critical role in Notre Dame’s dominant rushing attack. Eilers’ best receiving game came in his final collegiate contest, a 21-6 Irish win over Colorado in the Orange Bowl, when he caught two passes for a team-best 47 yards, including a 29-yard grab that moved Notre Dame into field-goal range.
One year earlier, Eilers played in all 12 games at split end, starting seven times including the 34-21 Irish win over West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl that capped off a 12-0 season and the program’s 11th consensus national championship. Eilers also tallied the only touchdown of his Notre Dame career in 1988, scoring on a two-yard run in the legendary 31-30 victory over top-ranked Miami that snapped the Hurricanes’ 36-game regular-season winning streak.
Along with his exploits on the gridiron, Eilers earned a monogram with the Notre Dame baseball team in 1989, when he batted .307 in 53 games, making 16 starts in left field. He also scored the go-ahead run in a 4-2 victory over fifth-ranked Miami on March 8, 1989.
Following his graduation from Notre Dame, Eilers signed a free-agent contract with the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings. He played in 61 career games during a six-year NFL career (1990-95) with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Chicago Bears.
Eilers and his wife, Jana, have four children: Elizabeth, Katherine, Clare and Patrick. Elizabeth is a senior at Notre Dame, while Katherine is a sophomore and member of the Irish women’s lacrosse team.
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