Wednesday, December 23, 2009
No Compromise...No Excuses
This one answer from a recent interview with Coach Kelly says it all...
Jack Swarbrick mentioned that he explained to you that there were some non-negotiable things that would never change about Notre Dame. People said that the new coach would need to request some academic concessions. Can you outline some of the specifics that Jack went over?
KELLY: “I can tell you about our conversation in terms of where we connected and I think that’ll help you more than anything else. First of all, Jack and I and Father John [Jenkins] all believe that you can maintain an academic integrity and still win championships in football. I believe that, Father John believes that and Jack Swarbrick believes that. If I didn’t believe that, that would have been on the list, let’s put it that way. That would have been first on the list if I didn’t believe that. Maybe there were some others that he interviewed that he had to spell out. He didn’t have to spell that out to me because I didn’t want to coach at Notre Dame if we were going to change the direction of achievement in excellence academically.
“There are no five exceptions, but there’s an understanding, a clear understanding that if you can handle the academic rigors of Notre Dame and we can predict you to graduate – there are a number of predictors outside of SAT and ACT scores. There are a number of predictors. I think we can all feel every confident that there are predictors out there that we’ll look for. We all know this, it doesn’t do me any good to go get a kid that can’t graduate from Notre Dame, so we start we that premise. But, are there other predictors that we feel comfortable that will allow a young man to graduate from Notre Dame other than strictly falling on the SAT, ACT, GPA. I think that should give you guys enough to know relative to that end of things, which I think has probably been one of the biggest topics out there.
“Other things that won’t change is this is a faith-based education. We’re going to continue to espouse those same values here. We’re still going to be in the Basilica in pregame, we’re still going to have all of those traditions of what Notre Dame is about. They will be alive here and still part of your experience. We’re not building housing for football players. I think one of the great things about being a Notre Dame athlete is that you don’t become marginalized by being with all just athletes. I know in my experience growing up, my roommate was from San Diego. I had never met anybody from California. My first trip home, I didn’t go home, I went to San Diego.
“That was diversity for me and I love that at Notre Dame. That’s not going to change and I’m good with that. We’re still going to get lake effect snow. The big hot topic items that are out there in recruiting, the academic standards are what they are because of who we are and it’s not going to change. Community is still core to Notre Dame. That will not change. Those things will not change. Jack didn’t have to have that conversation with me, maybe he did with some others.”