Wonder, Think & Know — Eyewear Fashion Edition

By now, we’ve all figured out Mike Royko never said, “Some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know.”  He did, however, say, “Show me somebody who is always smiling, always cheerful, always optimistic, and I will show you somebody who hasn’t the faintest idea what the heck is really going on”**.  So this edition is dedicated to our Fearless Athletic Leader and the current kerfluffles.

I think the folks putting the current media campaign together are great.  I marvel at their energy, knowing I have a difficult time matching it these days when it comes to ND.  I know ND may not like the message, but they’re lucky there are people who still give enough of a damn, because it’s become a dwindling breed.  I’ve known smcchick for years, and while I’ve never met GoIrish89 and MrWendal, they seem as high-quality as a lot of the other NDN folks I’ve met.  At the very least, I know they’ve each provided me a non-anonymous email address, so I’m comfortable they’re not bots.

I think if recruits aren’t well aware that a 4-8 season and the last nine years of ND football haven’t been satisfactory to Irish alumni and fans, they’re not paying attention.  According to some people, record-setting poor performance on defense, on- and off-field meltdowns, and a coach with a nasty habit of throwing his players under the bus while absolving himself from blame doesn’t affect recruiting at all.  But an ad?  A billboard?  Heavens to betsy, they’ll get the vapors.  Won’t someone think of the children?

I wonder if all the people trying to draw a parallel between the money being raised for this effort and the money being donated to various charities understand how budgets work, and how it’s possible to take money you might have used for one purpose (e.g. ND football) and use it for another (e.g. a media campaign) without it affecting the money you use for other purposes (e.g. charity).  On the other hand, I know that folks who use a public funding site that takes 5 percent off the top to raise money for charities that already have mechanisms for users to donate directly to them don’t have a good grasp of finance.  But I also know any contributions to worthwhile charities are good things, and encourage all our users to participate, particularly in this one.

I know the best way for Jack to make this all go away is to do what probably is the absolute last thing he wants — have an honest-to-God press conference with non-captive media who can ask whatever rolls into their heads.  I think it would be great for statements such as “being around elite coaches for 35 years” and 2015 being “the best coaching job [he’s] ever seen” to be subject to, for lack of a better phrase, more detailed scrutiny.

I’ve reconciled myself to the thought that, barring his running off with a Peruvian pan flute combo in the next few months, Brian Kelly will be Notre Dame’s coach next season.  But I also know, based on what he’s said the past few months, Jack Swarbrick isn’t anywhere close to being ready for a coaching search, so I’m not hell-bent on a change in Kelly’s status.  Based on his horrific track record with personnel decisions in his ND career, I don’t think I want Swarbrick running that search anyway.  His best on-paper coaching hire — Jim McLaughlin for the women’s volleyball team — was initiated by McLaughlin and still almost screwed up.

But having said that, I wonder why we’re not hearing potential DC names, even if Kelly allegedly waits until the recruiting dead period to interview people.  I wonder why Paul Longo still has his job when you consider how bad ND has looked in the 4th quarter of games and how many players on this team hired their own S&C consultants.  And I think anyone who expects the level of wholesale change on the staff needed to right this sinking ship has misplaced their faith.

I think Swarbrick has had some successes at Notre Dame, but his gaffes are eclipsing them right now.  The long-promised hoops practice facility remains out of reach in the proverbial ether.  ND tickets are now contractually sold by a secondary market company with a horrible customer service problem.  The baseball program languishes in mediocrity, and hockey will be on its third conference in four seasons next year.

I know Fridays are considered “take out the trash day” for PR people, so that’s where the lead balloon efforts usually are slipped out.  It certainly was the timing for the in-house video interview that started all this … or, rather, brought it all to a head.  I can’t help but notice December 23rd not only is another trash day, but it leads into a week book-ended by holidays where people probably won’t be paying too much real-time attention.  I wonder if any more info will be slumping out of South Bend that day?

I know I’ll be watching.


** Of course, it was also a policy of his to view the Internet as “an electronic asylum filled with babbling loonies,” so, good with the bad and all that.

15 thoughts on “Wonder, Think & Know — Eyewear Fashion Edition

  1. Anyone who quotes Mike Royko can’t be all bad.
    Despite our many disagreements over the years we never seem to differ on our core beliefs that Notre Dame should always strive for excellence and I have always supported this board in that position.
    Once again we find ourselves at a fork in the road. Do we continue along the path of hypocrisy and appeasement or do we stand our ground and make our voices heard.
    It is time for a change in our direction, time for a new AD to lead us and time for all enlightened
    ND men and women to rise as one to hear our voices heard.

  2. Stand our ground and make our voices heard. ND Men and Women to rise as one.
    Check out the front page of the Observer…

    Our Lady of Victory..Pray for us.

  3. John DiSteano '79 says:

    Great job Mike!
    Especially glad you referenced that Jack didn’t hire Muffet and Brey.
    This isn’t “my Notre Dame”. Frankly I’m embarrassed , and all in with the “campaigns”.
    Tremendous job, and let’s keep raising awareness!!

  4. The most troubling aspects of the football program for me are the continued incidents of academic cheating and our student-athletes having fun with illegal drugs with complete impunity. Between those issues and the sloppy play in all three phases on the field, I have to wonder if there’s any discipline at all in this program. It astounds me that Mr. Swarbrick and other campus leaders are not screaming from the mountaintops about these things happening constantly. I’ve loved Notre Dame for more than five decades for many reasons, but mostly because the University has always strived for excellence in every area, so I cannot begin to understand why our once proud standards — with the football program, and hopefully nowhere else — are no more. I would love to hear Fr. Jenkins, Mr. Swarbrick and other campus leaders besides our football coach respond to these serious concerns. What I’d love to hear from them is if you cheat academically, you’re permanently expelled from the University. Also, if you dabble in illegal drugs, you’re permanently expelled from the University. The chant “WE ARE ND” used to really mean something to me because I knew exactly what it meant. These days, I have no idea what that means.

  5. Listen to the voices. Please fire Swarbuck and Kelly. ND has become an embarrassment and does not stand for what it used to. We need new leadership NOW. Please Santa bring us a present of a coach and AD.

  6. Someone should come up with a list of coaches who would be a good fit that would actually be interested in taking this job. I’m not at all pleased with the job Kelly has done, but who in God’s name wants this job and would do an excellent job? And please, be realistic. Nick Saban and Urban Meyer would never come to ND. I’m tired of hearing about all the all-star coaches out there that have been floated in past coaching searches who have zero interest. Let’s hear some names. Solutions instead of complaints. Thanks.

    • And you know they have zero interest because you’ve talked to them?

      Brian Kelly has been given just about everything Urban Meyer asked for when he interviewed way back when.

      • I was hoping we would have made a move this year but I really didn’t think it would happen. I am pulling for Urban Meyer to win another championship at Ohio State this year, then hopefully next year, after we go another 4 and 8, go hire him. I believe he might come to ND if given the opportunity. He has won championships at two different universities and I believe it would appeal to him to do it at another school before he retires. I don’t believe any other coach has accomplished this. There is an ego factor here I am thinking too. Plus…if Urban Meyer comes, you can expect a winning program. He knows what has to be done and knows how to do it. (offense, defense, fundaments, special teams, conditioning, etc) Meyer would not be an experiment.

        As I have stated earlier, I don’t have alot of time left to watch a bunch of “trees grow” (you know..you bring some unknown in and everybody starts saying…well he is going to need 3 to 4 years to get his own players in…and rebuild…I’m not interested in that) and finally, I just don’t like the thought of having to have help to get up out of a chair every time you need to yell and cheer for a Notre Dame championship run. So…when that day does come and there is a coaching change…hopefully the administration will grab the checkbook and head due east to Columbus!

    • PJ Fleck, Les Miles, Jim Tressel, Pat Narduzzi, Mark Dantonio, Paul Cryst, James Franklin, Matt Rhule, Bob Stoops……. do you need more?

  7. I’ve sent my letter. I will continue to support the University funds for academics but after 40 + years of buying football tickets I am done paying $150 for Kelly football.

  8. I’m not a fan of the ad campaign (in the Observer or the SBT) because I don’t view it as useful. Your article is very good to explain that it probably doesn’t do any actual harm (at least, no more harm than a bad football season already did). But I don’t think it did any actual good. And, speaking personally, I have a tough time slamming another human being publicly for not doing their job well — I prefer to direct criticism (assuming it’s called for, and assuming my criticism is viewed as valuable and truthful) to the actual “powers that be” (which are empowered to make change). Nevertheless, people can spend money on whatever they want, and it’s their money, and it’s a free country. Perhaps venting made them feel better, and due to the lack of real harm in the ad campaign I just can’t get worked up about it.