Sunday, June 08, 2008

Notre Dame Adding Talent On and Off the Field

While I was away at my first legal conference, there were a couple of commitments on the recruiting front.

Dan Fox, a 4-star outside linebacker from St. Ignatius (Cleveland, OH), was no surprise to me. Ignatius has been a pipeline to Notre Dame, sending Robby Parris and John Ryan to Notre Dame ahead of him. More importantly, Mr. Fox has a history with Notre Dame. His father worked at the University as a new immigrant in the 1930s. He's an athletic kid, with good pass defense skills from the linebacker position. He needs to bulk up a bit, but has a lot of upside.

Alex Bullard is a 4-star offensive guard we plucked out of the Volunteer State, a recruiting ground that is becoming increasingly fertile for the Irish. He had an impressive offer list, including Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida. He could play either tackle or guard in college, a trait that Weis loves in his linemen. Also, he comes from good stock, being the son of former Seahawks O-lineman Louis Bullard.


There is no news on the search for a new athletic director, but there is a new addition to the Irish staff that I wanted to highlight.

Chris Zorich has taken a position at the University as manager of student welfare and development in the athletic department. Chris' return to his alma mater is VERY good news for Irish athletics. Chris Zorich, for me, is a shining example of a true Notre Dame man. From his beginnings on Chicago's south side in a rough neighborhood, through his career as a student athlete at Notre Dame and an all-star lineman for the Chicago Bears, to attending law school at Notre Dame and starting the Christopher Zorich foundation, he represents all that is good at Notre Dame.

I had the distinct privilege of briefly meeting Chris at a recent event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the South Bend YMCA. His speech at that event truly moved me, largely because he not only remembered the impact of the YMCA on him as a young person, but also clearly remembered the name of his swim instructor as a child and credited him with inspiring him to rise above his modest beginnings.

As a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA for the past 12 years, I felt good about my contributions to the lives of young people, but never believed they would remember me down the road, much less credit me with any of their success. Furthermore, when I went to thank Mr. Zorich after his speech, he took several minutes to talk about my time at the YMCA, and then thanked ME for my service.

He is a hard worker and a supremely ethical person who has been a great asset to every organization he has been involved with in his career. I'm sure he will rise quickly in the ranks here at Notre Dame.

He is no shy kitten, either.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Zorich has no small ambition at Notre Dame. He wants to rise to Athletic Director.

While he isn't experienced or polished enough for the position right now, I can certainly see Zorich being in a perfect position to take the reins after the next director concludes his career. And if he does, I am supremely confident that he will do so with distinction.

Welcome back home to Notre Dame, Chris.