I think I can say with confidence that NOBODY won the "Pick the New AD" office pool. Defying convention as well as all the prognosticators, the University today announced that it has hired Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick (ND '76) as its new Director of Athletics.
The full University press release can be found here.
I don't have a lot to add to what is swirling around the blogosphere about Mr. Swarbrick. After Kevin White departed for Duke and Missy Conboy was named interim AD, I wrote the following about her:
It's clear that she's a Domer through-and-through. A true Domer with a law degree, hustle, drive, and plenty of experience. That sounds like a pretty good fit to me.That description pretty well sums up what I was hoping Notre Dame would get out of its search for a new athletic director, and I think my hopes have been realized. Swarbrick is a Notre Dame alumnus, and former student athlete, who went to school during one of the high-water marks of Notre Dame's football fortunes. He is a Domer through and through. He too has a law degree (from a very highly regarded law school). His resume' clearly marks him as a man with hustle, drive and experience, although his experience is not the most conventional for a high-profile AD job.
But that's okay. Our last AD was a re-tread hire from another college program. While hiring a "proven" AD has some advantages, it also carries some downside. An experienced AD walks in the door with a definite notion of how things should be done, for better or for worse. With KW, it was often worse as the Notre Dame Nation had to maintain eternal vigilance to ensure that they didn't wake up in the morning to learn that Notre Dame Stadium had been re-named the "Adidas Athletics Notre Dame Stadium Presented by Halls Fruit Breezers." The thing that is clear in looking at Swarbrick's record is that he is a Big Picture guy. He does not appear to be constrained by conventional thinking or the notion that "we've always done it this way." As long as such innovative thinking doesn't manifest itself in a disregard for the traditions that make Notre Dame great, I think we'll be in very good shape.
Congratulations to Fr. Jenkins and the rest of the University family on a great hire.
And a hearty welcome to new Irish AD Jack Swarbrick from the OC Domer!