A former Notre Dame Fighting Irish coordinator is reportedly returning to the state of Indiana to oversee the defense of the Purdue Boilermakers.
Sources: Purdue is hiring La Tech DC Bob Diaco. He led a high-end unit this season in Ruston, which included No. 2 red zone defense nationally and No. 31 scoring defense.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 30, 2019
Bob Diaco appears to have successfully rebooted his career after he left Notre Dame in December 2013 to assume head coaching duties with the UConn Huskies. The former Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker compiled a 11-26 record in three seasons in Storrs before being booted. He’s spent the last three seasons with the Nebraska Cornhuskers (defensive coordinator), Oklahoma Sooners (outside linebackers) and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (defensive coordinator).
Now...close it up. Close it up. Close it up. This is something the other tour guides won’t tell you.
In a October 2018 interview on Jared Shanker’s “Moral Victories” podcast, Athletic writer Matt Fortuna shared Diaco’s strong opinions on breastfeeding.
Fortuna: “How do you top the Civil ConFLiCT? Like, where do you even begin? He’s an Iowa guy, so maybe he starts one against Iowa State so they [Oklahoma] played two close games the last two years. I don’t know.”
Shanker: “Well, that will have to be the first question once somebody talks to him. That’s going to be the first question. I kind of feel bad for him at this point, because everybody wants to talk about the Civil ConFLiCT trophy. But, uh — “
Fortuna: “I mean, we can do a whole podcast on other Bob Diaco stories if you really want to open this up to the floor here. Um, but, uh, Civil ConFLiCT doesn’t even scratch the surface of some of the funny stories we have from the Notre Dame beat covering that guy.”
Shanker: “What’s the — all right. Give me the best one. Because now you can’t just tease it and then now give us a little taste —”
Fortuna: “OK, I’ll give you a great one! And the best part about this one was it happened twice. So, Pete Sampson, who is now a colleague of mine at The Athletic, used to be at Irish Illustrated along with Tim O’Malley.
“We’ll start with Tim O’Malley. Keep in mind I was not here to see these happen, but they’ve both repeated these stories so many times that they’ve become kind of like lore in the Notre Dame beat.
“So, the national title game that never happened against Alabama, they had their media day at I believe it was called Sun Life Stadium at the time. That was one of the few times we are able to talk to assistants and Tim O’Malley had relayed this story to us afterward how Bob is sitting in the stands and Tim goes up to him and they’re chit-chatting for a little bit. ‘How are you doing? How’s life?’ Blah blah blah. And Tim, I believe, his wife just had a kid. So, he said, ‘You know, we just had a kid’ and Bob is congratulating him.
“And the way Tim describes it is clearly it’s a filibuster. Bob Diaco does not care for the media. He’s a nice guy. But he’s never going to divulge anything. He doesn’t want to talk to us. That’s fine. I get it.
“But Bob apparently then starts telling Tim about the importance of breastfeeding to keep the kid from crying at night. And so Tim relays this story to a bunch of us later that night at the hotel over a couple of beers and we’re just dying. We can’t believe it. We can because it’s Diaco. But we’re laughing so hard. ‘You’ve got to be making this up!’
“And fast-forward to the following season’s preseason media day in the Notre Dame Stadium press box. A couple of us are walking out and Pete Sampson, who also just had a kid that summer, shares an elevator with Bob Diaco and Pete relays the exact same conversation.
“‘How you doing?’
“‘Just had a kid’
“Oh, I gotta tell you man. Your wife has got to breastfeed. That’s going to keep the kid from crying all night.’
“And Bob ended up leaving after that season to become the head coach at UConn and so Sampson to this day says, ‘You know, I hope I never talk to him again just so I can say my last conversation with him was about breastfeeding.’ Which, again, was not unique to anyone on that Notre Dame beat because he had that conversation with another writer before. So that’s just a little taste of Bob Diaco. He’s a different cat. He’s —”
Shanker: “—a big breastfeeding guy. Very natural.”
Fortuna: “Look. He was a phenomenal coordinator at Notre Dame and even at UConn, I think, some of the stuff he said publicly took away from the fact that he made that a bowl team in two years and really turned that defense around. I know a lot of people who have worked with him in the past and they speak very highly of the work he did behind the scenes to get that program kind of on stable ground and we’ve seen it all crumble since he left with Randy Edsall taking over. But, yeah, he is a different dude to put it lightly.”