I have been a Notre Dame football fan for pretty much my whole life, but if I were to go back to when I really started remembering things about ND football, it would have be the fall of 1987. It was that year that I truly fell in love with the Irish as I followed Tim Brown in his Heisman Trophy winning season. Not to mention the fact that my parents bought me a navy blue rugby shirt and ironed on 81 and Brown on the back. I was ten years old at that time and the following year the Irish won the National Championship under Lou Holtz. I was completely hooked. Later that summer (or the summer after that maybe), I had the chance to meet Chris Zorich as he was interning at a neighbor’s law firm and came over to that neighbor’s house for a summer party. To say that I was forever an ND fan was pretty accurate.
I won’t bore you with the intermediate years between 1988 and now, as that could take forever, but I will just say the following and I think older ND fans will all have their own feelings and what these words might conjure up: Rocket clip, Mirer to Reggie Brooks, FSU in 93, BC in 93, Powlus is going to win three Heismans, ND loses to Air Force, the Bob Davie era, the George O’Leary few days, Ty starts out 8-0, Charlie Weis to the rescue, the Bush Push, Clausen time, ND loses to Navy, bring on Brian Kelly, ND vs Bama, did 2016 really happen, the re-imagining of BK and here we come playoffs, and finally - it’s Marcus Freeman’s team now.
So there you have it, and somewhere in between there I was accepted to and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2000.
Now we have arrived at 2023 and over these past 14 months, there are now two dates that stick out to me. The first is the night of November 29th when the texts started flying from my ND friends as the Brian Kelly news was leaking out that he had resigned from ND and was heading to LSU. My wife turned to me as I was glued to my phone and asked me how I felt. And my honest response was "I feel okay, as long as we hire Marcus Freeman as our head coach." Sure enough, things worked out in the best way they could and ND now has the man that I believe is the best person to be leading our program and the best person to bring ND another national championship.
The second date that sticks out to me is today, January 5th, as Sam Hartman has committed to play his final year of college football in South Bend and lead our Fighting Irish. I have that same feeling I had when the news was posted that Marcus Freeman was our new head coach and we all saw the video of him heading into the locker room to greet his new team. Chills, is all that needs to be said. This is one of those days too and one of those days that we will all look back on as the one that re-started it all. I could not be more excited around what Sam Harman means for the Irish, our program and how next season is starting to take shape. We finally have a QB that most of us feel is elite, or about as close to elite as they come. It is now our opportunity to have a dynamic offense that returns a lot of the offensive line, pretty much all the receivers and one of the best backfields in the country. It’s time for the Irish to prove to the rest of the college football world that we can be the best team in the country. Chills, is all that needs to be said.
It’s January 5th, it's Sam Hartman time, let’s go!