Jan. 5, 2010

Thoughts about returning to Notre Dame:
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for an opportunity to come back and be part of this University. My wife Dianne and I feel very blessed to have this opportunity. We loved our time when we were here before and to get a second opportunity to come back to such a great place is a dream come true. I just feel very fortunate that Brian Kelly has called upon me to come back and play a small part in what will be a very successful run.”

Memories from his previous stint at Notre Dame:
“The fan base and the people that follow Notre Dame are second to none. Their love for the University and the football program are different than anywhere I have been and different than anything I have experienced. I just appreciate them so much and am happy to be part of it again. Secondly, the people within the University itself, from Father (John) Jenkins right on down the line to the people who work in the football office, are fantastic. They help make Notre Dame a truly special place. Finally, there is a unique relationship that exists between the student body and the people in the community around Notre Dame. It is something you don’t find anywhere else in college football.”

On his connection to Brian Kelly:
“Brian and I first met each other in 1987 as graduate assistants at Grand Valley State University. We developed a good relationship and even lived together for a little bit during our early years. As you might expect when you are not making a lot of money, you have to have close friendships to lean on and we grew close at that time and have stayed close over the years. I was very fortunate when he got the head coaching job at Grand Valley that he invited me to come back there and be part of his first coaching staff. He and I helped build that program and we enjoyed a lot of success together and our relationship continues to this day. Now I have the unique opportunity to help Coach Kelly put Notre Dame back on top of the college football world and I look forward to that challenge.”

On what factors he weighed when deciding to return to Notre Dame:
“There are so many things. Number one, an opportunity to work at the University of Notre Dame is something I have never taken lightly and a responsibility that I’ve always looked at as a challenge that I looked forward to taking on. From a coaching standpoint, being at Notre Dame and being associated with such a great place is something that every coach in college football at least thinks about, if not dreams about. Finally, the opportunity to come back with a football coach like Brian Kelly is one I couldn’t pass on. I worked with him before and have such great respect for how he runs his program, the things he teaches his young men that go well beyond football and the success he has had at every level he has coached. Those are things we look forward to continuing at Notre Dame.”

On his history of working with tight ends:
“I was very fortunate my last time around here to work with guys like Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Marcus Freeman and many others. I had an opportunity to help those guys develop their games as tight ends and as great young men. That was something I really enjoyed. Within the framework of the offense that we are going to present, the tight end is going to be a big part of what we do and the Notre Dame fans are going to enjoy the things the tight ends bring to the table within the framework of this offense. Having watched from afar the last few years and noticing the quality of tight ends that are currently in the program is exciting for me. I look forward to working with the great talent that is already assembled here.”

On his immediate plans:
“I’m already out on the road recruiting. I’m looking to make sure that some of the commitments Notre Dame has received remain committed while also working to get as many of the young men as we have targeted. I’m looking forward to sitting down with them and their families and present the mission of the University of Notre Dame. I want to make sure those young men know there is a quality education and a tremendous football program waiting for them to be a part of.”

On his experience recruiting the West Coast and how that will help Notre Dame:
“Having spent the time I spent at Washington and Stanford, I think it helped me develop a lot of great relationships on the West Coast with high school football coaches, with different recruiting organizations and people that can help get the word out about the University of Notre Dame to prospects. It’s then our job to take it over and talk them in to coming to Notre Dame.