Irish name Swarbrick AD

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Jack Swarbrick graduated from Notre Dame the same year as the university president, yet the Rev. John Jenkins never heard of him until a few weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Jenkins stood in a room atop the Hesburgh Library with a view over Notre Dame Stadium and introduced his fellow 1976 classmate as the university’s new athletic director.

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“I am confident that in Jack Swarbrick we have found a superb athletic director for the University of Notre Dame,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said because Notre Dame is a Catholic university with high academic standards and a storied football program, “Notre Dame athletics is unconventional, and its leader must bring an unconventional set of skills and experiences to the job.”

Jenkins said Swarbrick has shown he has the necessary skills through his work bringing numerous sporting events to the city of Indianapolis, including attracting the Super Bowl in 2012, NCAA Final Fours and Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and his work as an adviser to the NCAA on various issues.

“He has a breadth of vision of the landscape of college athletics that in my experience is unsurpassed. Jack is widely respected for his insight and integrity,” Jenkins said.

Swarbrick predicted massive changes in college athletics in the next 10 years.

“We must participate in leading that change. Notre Dame cannot have that dictated to it,” he said.

There had been much speculation about exactly how much power the athletic director at Notre Dame has, especially after his predecessor, Kevin White, implied at a news conference following the firing of football coach Tyrone Willingham in 2004 that he was against the move.

Swarbrick said that issue was one of the first things he asked Jenkins and Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the university’s board of trustees, about.

“I came away absolutely convinced I have all the authority I need and have to have to do this job right. I look forward to consulting with Father on the decisions a university president ought to be consulted on and to keep the trustees fully informed,” Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick said he understands that he will have to consult with Jenkins on major decisions, including the hiring and firing of coaches in “key” sports.

On other issues, Swarbrick believes Notre Dame should remain independent in football, saying “it’s a critical part of who we are as a school.” But he also said the upcoming changes in college athletics, particularly in the Bowl Championship Series, need to be monitored.