Sept. 8, 2006
Senior center John Sullivan is in his fourth season at Notre Dame. As a junior, Sullivan played all 12 games, making eight starts at center. A key member of the Irish offensive line, Sullivan has played in all 24 games the last two seasons. He was named the 2005 Connecticut College Football Player of the Year by Lindy’s. Sullivan played a key role in a Notre Dame offense that averaged 477.3 yards per game (330.2 in the air and 147.1 on the ground). Started the final eight games of the 2005 season for the Irish. GameDay’s Michael Scholl gives Irish fans a chance to get to know John Sullivan.
Scholl: What is your major and how did you get interested in that area of study?
Sullivan: I am a marketing major here at Notre Dame. It just made the most sense for what I want to do with a business major. I want to go out and see what people like an be able to work for them.
Scholl: What has been your hardest class and why?
Sullivan: My most difficult class has been Managerial Economics that is required for business majors. I took it this past summer and it was a pretty tough one.
Scholl: What made you pick Notre Dame over the other schools you were interested in? What were the other schools?
Sullivan: I always asked myself the question, “How do you say ‘No’ to Notre Dame?” I could never answer that question, so how could I really say no?
Scholl: To date, what has been the highlight of your Notre Dame career?
Sullivan: I wouldn’t say there has been any particular moment that stands out. I really enjoy the times that you have to work together with your teammates. You work so hard with teammates to reach a goal, upset a team that is supposed to beat you, things like that. So any time the team comes together and you get to celebrate with your teammates and everybody that works so hard, it’s a special moment.
Scholl: Who were your sports idols as a kid and why?
Sullivan: I didn’t have any particular sports idols growing up. I was a big (New York) Yankee fan. All the famous Yankees were pretty cool.
Scholl: As a football player, is there any one player you modeled your game after?
Sullivan: At one point it was Jeff Faine after I knew that I was going to come to Notre Dame. Whenever I see a good center out there, I see good technique. Dermontti Dawson of the Pittsburgh Steelers was always one that I looked at. Last year, playing Ohio State and seeing Nick Mangold, he had good technique. I just try to look at their games, see what they do that’s good and then try to do it myself.
Scholl: Who has been your biggest non-sports role model and why?
Sullivan: I would have to say my brothers, my dad and my mother. My dad in particular has always been a role model for me.
Scholl: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Sullivan: I always have to take a shower before the game. Not right before at the stadium. If we have an afternoon game or a game where you have to get up early to get to the stadium, I have to shower. I’ll get up early, even before the wake-up call just to make sure that I get that shower in.
Scholl: How have you grown as a person since your arrival at Notre Dame?
Sullivan: I think I’ve just become more responsible in my time at Notre Dame. Managing my time was hard to figure out when I first got here as a freshman. You have to be responsible outside the structured life football provides. You’ve got to manage the time for socializing, time for schoolwork and time for football.
Scholl: What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
Sullivan: People on the team can confirm this. I have more useless information and know more useless facts than anyone should. I’m really good at Jeopardy.
Scholl: How and what do you do to balance your schoolwork and football?
Sullivan: You have to realize when you have some free time, you can’t spend it doing nothing. If you have some schoolwork to get done, you have to get it done. If you have a night where you don’t have football until late, get some sleep so you’re ready for the next morning. You can’t waste your time watching TV and doing the little things that don’t matter. You’ve got to get the important things out of the way first and then if there’s time left over, you take it.
Scholl: What is you favorite movie and why?
Sullivan: I have a bunch of favorite movies. I love comedies. I really like Chris Farley, anything with him, especially “Tommy Boy.”
Scholl: Where is the toughest place that you’ve played as a college football player?
Sullivan: I’d have to say Neyland Stadium is the toughest place to play. It gets so loud, there’s nothing like Neyland.
Scholl: What would a movie about your life be titled and who would star as you?
Sullivan: In a movie about my life, Jack Black would play me because I look like Jack Black. I don’t know about the title, someone else would have to make that up.
Scholl: Who is the best athlete that you have ever competed against?
Sullivan: I would say my little brother Bobby.
Scholl: If you had the chance to play golf with anyone in history, besides you, who else would be in your foursome and why would you pick those three people?
Sullivan: I’ve done this before and gave a really bad answer, so I want to think this one through. Jesus, just to see what he was like. Babe Ruth, just because he seems like a fun guy and I grew up a Yankee fan. Maybe someone from the music world. Jesus, Babe Ruth and…..oh I could pick a girl, couldn’t I? Stacey Keebler.
Scholl: When your football career is over, what do you see yourself doing?
Sullivan: I really don’t know what I’ll be doing after football is over. I don’t like to think that far ahead. I hope I play football for a long time and that can take care of me for the rest of my life. I just hope that I’m somewhere and I’m happy.
Scholl: What is your favorite thing about playing for Notre Dame?
Sullivan: I’d have to say my teammates. We have such a tight-knit group of guys. We have great coaches and the school has done everything they can to make us successful.
Scholl: Describe what it feels like on game day and playing Notre Dame stadium?
Sullivan: There are no words to describe it. It’s unbelievable. When the game is close and you’ve got the team on your side and the crowd is rallying behind you, there’s nothing like it. You feed off the energy of the stadium and this entire place. It’s pretty awesome. Just hearing the crowd when you come out of the tunnel, it is so much more than anyone who has ever experienced could have imagined.