One on one with Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. became president of the University of Notre Dame in 2005. His role as President Football is a small part of the former student and professor's job, but don't tell that to Irish fans around the country.
Two of the most significant responsibilities he's been tasked with were the hiring of Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and head football Coach Brian Kelly.
"There was the famous chant at football games when it started to rain, "Ara Stop the Rain," He was this super human person. He could do anything, so he certainly had that aura about him," Father Jenkins said.
Father John Jenkins was a student at Notre Dame during the end of legendary Coach Ara Parseghian's tenure leading the Irish.
He left quite the impression on the young philosophy major.
"He was more than a football coach, he was an important figure, an iconic figure," Father Jenkins said.
There have been some incredible football coaches throughout Notre Dame's history.
In 2009, Father Jenkins and Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick hired a young man on the rise out of Cincinnati and the Brian Kelly era officially began.
"You know Brian was very successful when he came here. He's a great coach and he's put together a winning, just a great program. I think he'd say as your viewers know, there's been ups and downs but Brian's kept at it and Brian completely embraces what Notre Dame's about. He's not about getting players who are good but can't graduate. He's not about getting players who don't want to be at Notre Dame. He is about embracing Notre Dame and winning in a way that this university can be proud of. And I think he'd say that's been a learning curve for him, how to do that. But I think he's managed that and he and Jack work together well and I am very optimistic about even greater success in the future," Father Jenkins said.
Father Jenkins has always had faith in his football coach.
Notre Dame went 10-and-3 last season with a Citrus Bowl victory that followed a dismal 4-and-8 record in 2016 when many fans were calling for his head.
"If Jack and I thought he couldn't succeed we would have thought differently but I don't think we ever doubted that Brian had the ability to succeed. We all make mistakes, Brian would probably admit that he made some mistakes, but the key thing is to correct them and to say 'How are we going to move forward?' And I just give him all the credit for admitting 'Look there are some things are broken here and we got to fix them.' He did it and he moved forward in a way that fits Notre Dame in a way that we can be proud of. So much success in life is making mistakes and correcting those mistakes and moving beyond those mistakes. If I'm proud of anything in Brian Kelly's football program, it's that. He's been able to recognize mistakes, correct them and get even better and stronger," Father Jenkins said.