Feb. 25, 2000
NOTRE DAME,Ind. – Notre Dame boasts a unique tradition when it comes to athletics, which is what caught assistant coach Doug Wojcik’s attention. Today, the Insider looks at Wojcik’s decision to become a coach and join Doherty in the final part of this four part series.
Every college kid has a tough choice at the culmination of four years. Wojcik had an inkling in his senior year at the Academy that coaching may be the right career for him. He credits his high school coach, Skip Prosser, current Xavier head coach, with having a major influence on his life.
“I am pleased that I had to do the Navy thing,” Wojcik said. “I had to go. I had no choice. That in itself made me realize that I really wanted to coach, more than anything else.”
The Naval Academy was home to Wojcik for a better part of his 35 years. Something about Notre Dame and this opportunity caught his eye. As a kid, Wojcik attended Notre Dame basketball camp and was a die-hard fan.
“Professionally, I needed a change and Notre Dame was the right change for me,” Wojcik said. “Having gone to the Naval Academy, knowing my personality, I think that Notre Dame is a good fit for me.”
Wojcik sees Notre Dame and the Academy as very similar. He sees that both schools promote academic excellence.
Also, he wants people to understand that even though he attended one of Notre Dame’s rivals, he does have a love of the school.
“I have a passion for Notre Dame,” Wojcik said. “I always wanted to go here and I went to basketball camp here as a kid. The Navy-Notre Dame relationship is a long-standing relationship.”
Notre Dame fans hope that their newfound relationship with the coaching staff will be a long one. Doherty and his staff have brought tremendous success in their first campaign. The head coach is not the only one that recognizes the importance of the crowd. Wojcik is not use to a large fan base, having come from the academy.
“First and foremost, it is neat to be in the Midwest because basketball is important to people,” Wojcik said. “The student body at Notre Dame is very competitive so as we put a better product on the floor, they want to be a part of that and contribute to its success. At the Naval Academy, you never had that kind of support from the student body. For me to see it growing so quickly, I can’t help but get excited about it.”
Wojcik bring his excitement and enthusiasm for the game with him to work everyday. Coaching is something that he dedicates a majority of his time to. He enjoys the dedication but also recognizes that it takes a toll on his family.
“A lot of people say that they have never worked their whole life because they coached,” Wojcik said. “I don’t agree with that because I think that it is a lot of hard work. The worst thing is the hours. It is not the amount of hours but the different hours, especially for your family. My wife is great about the whole thing. I am lucky that she married me.”
In talking to the assistant, a person can not help but notice the excitement he has about basketball and coaching.
“I think that I am doing it for the right reasons,” Wojcik said about coaching. “It made me do it because I wanted to do it and not because my playing days are over. I really had to think about it. There were a lot of long nights at sea so I had a lot of time to think about it. That is probably when it became clear to me was on the ship.”