Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Indianapolis lawyer Swarbrick named AD at Notre Dame
By Graham Watson
Indianapolis lawyer Jack Swarbrick was named the 12th athletic director of Notre Dame on Wednesday afternoon.
Swarbrick replaces Kevin White, who took the athletic director position at Duke on June 1.
"I believe that I accept this job on the threshold of extraordinary change in intercollegiate athletics in America," Swarbrick said. "I have my theories on what that change may entail and where the industry is headed, but I think they'll be enormous. There's much about this industry that you won't recognize in 10 years. We must be at the forefront in that. We must participate in dictating that change. Notre Dame cannot have that dictated to it. And I love the challenge of accepting that responsibility."
Swarbrick, a former lawyer with Indianapolis law firm Baker & Daniels LLP, is no stranger to prompting change. While the chairman of the Indiana Sports Corporation from 1992 to 2001, Swarbrick was instrumental in bringing the NCAA offices from Kansas City to Indianapolis in 1997.
Currently, he is working with Mark Miles, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, to bring the Super Bowl to Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012.
"Jack is a Notre Dame person," said Miles, who has known Swarbrick since 1985. "He kind of walks the walk and talks the talk. He believes in the university.
"He's very bright and competent. He does not care about having the limelight. He's not the kind of person who comes into the room and expects everyone to take notice and yet he is a great leader. People respect not just his integrity but his confidence and his intellect right away."
Swarbrick, a 1976 graduate of Notre Dame, never has been an athletic administrator at the collegiate level, but he was considered for athletic director positions at Indiana and Stanford, and last year's commissioner opening with the Big 12 Conference. In 2002, he was a finalist for the NCAA president's position that went to Myles Brand.
Although Swarbrick wasn't a name that immediately came to mind when the search began five weeks ago -- several other candidates were identified, including SMU's Steve Orsini, who withdrew his name last week -- sources claim that Swarbrick was Notre Dame's target all along.
Swarbrick said when he pulled up to Notre Dame prior to the news conference the security guard at the gate said, "Welcome home Jack."
"You have to approach a job like this knowing that you have to want this more than anything else. And I do that. I do that because I love challenges," Swarbrick said. "The challenges here are significant and I would argue they are even bigger than those. The challenges are not of problems, not of shortcoming but of great strides and high goals.
"Notre Dame has given me so much in my life, I can't wait to give more back to it."
Graham Watson covers college football for ESPN.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org