Athletics News


Sept. 12, 2012

An Interview with Jack Swarbrick | ND to join ACC

Mik Aoki - Baseball Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"From a baseball perspective, this is obviously a very positive thing for our program. This is the second time that I've gone through this process, the first time when I was at Boston College. I'm excited about going to the ACC. The BIG EAST was moving in the right direction with the recent additions of UCF, Houston and Memphis and there is a bit of nostalgia leaving the league considering my career in the conference. I know the league will move on and be successful, but I'm excited about where we are going."

On baseball in the ACC ...
"Baseball is a really big deal to the ACC. Our conference tournament is exciting, the venues from Miami to Florida State to Clemson to Georgia Tech to North Carolina to NC State to Virginia. It is simply a who's who of college baseball. The game operation, fan base and facilities, I just think it's really a big move for our baseball program to compete in that conference. If you look at the ACC over the last 10 years or so, the ACC has either been #1, #2 or #3 in conference RPI. This is a major upgrade for our program."

On any changes in recruiting philosophy ...
"I don't know that it necessarily changes our recruiting philosophy at Notre Dame, which is such a national brand with such a national recruiting base, but I do think that this move definitely helps us. I've put a real premium on trying to clean up our 'backyard.' I consider our 'backyard' to include Indiana, the Chicagoland area and Ohio. We can now make the case to those kids that you don't have to go anywhere but here, the University of Notre Dame, to compete in arguably the top conference in the country. You can get an education second-to-none and play college baseball at the very highest level it is offered. It is a message that will resonate extremely well here at Notre Dame."

Muffet McGraw - Women's Basketball Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"This is an exciting day for Notre Dame women's basketball. The ACC is one of the nation's strongest women's basketball conferences and we're thrilled to be able to add our program to that mix. There are so many talented players, coaches and programs in the ACC and we will be challenged each and every night. I also think our fans, who are the best in college basketball, will be excited to see so many new faces coming in to Purcell Pavilion in the next few years. My hat is off to Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins for the hard work they put in to make this move a reality."

On leaving the BIG EAST ...
"We are certainly sad to be leaving behind the many friends and colleagues, as well as the numerous rivalries we have developed in the BIG EAST. Our program has grown exponentially in the past 17 years and the BIG EAST is a major reason for that development."

Joe Piane - Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach
On ACC cross country and track and field ...
"It's a great conference for both sports. I would say it's one of the best conferences in the country. Florida State and Clemson are perennial powerhouses in track and field. Cross Country also has elite teams as well. The league also has some great schools academically, which Notre Dame will fit right in with."

On the BIG EAST ...
"We have tons of great memories with the BIG EAST. We have won 24 titles between cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the conference and I will enjoy the remaining time with them."

Jim Kubinski - Men's Golf Head Coach
On the excitement of joining the ACC ...
"It's great news for Notre Dame, and all programs here. In golf, there is just such a tradition of top programs. I spent some time at Duke as an assistant coach and we broke through and won an ACC Championship my last year there; and how special that was because the competition was so strong and has been so strong over the years. It's the dawning of a new era here, and we're excited for the challenge."

On ACC men's golf ...
"ACC golf, they've had some of the top players. You look at the PGA TOUR, whether it's David Duval from several years ago, or Matt Kuchar, some of the great players out on the tour now. There's really a high commitment level to golf in the conference, and I think they expect to have success as a group of teams. They compete at the highest level of our sport year-in and year-out. It's really a tremendous conference in all sports, but golf has some significant accomplishments over the years."

On leaving the BIG EAST ...
"As exciting as the new challenge will be in the ACC, it's bittersweet in some ways. All the relationships we've developed over the years with the coaches, the schools, and a lot of great kids in golf. It's a new horizon, new challenges. I think the one thing we remember, going back to my first year here we hosted the BIG EAST Championship at the Warren Golf Course. That will always stick with me over the years."

Susan Holt - Women's Golf Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"I think it's great. I was surprised, we had a head coaches meeting this morning and that was the first thing that was announced. I think it's great for our university, great for our whole department, great for our sport. ACC women's golf, it doesn't get much better than that. Last year at the NCAA Finals, four of their teams finished in the top 15. Duke is one of the storied women's golf programs in the country. It's certainly going to give us a chance to compete against the best, and it's only going to make our program better."

On any changes in recruiting ...
"I don't know if it's going to change. I really feel like Notre Dame is such an attraction, and with the way our sport is structured, we don't ever have a conference schedule. We don't do conference matches during the year; we have our conference championship and try to get to the NCAA Finals. I'm sure it's going to help, that's going to be a big plus. Out student-athletes will now really have the opportunity to get into some tournaments throughout the year that we haven't gotten into before. I'd like to think that we could reciprocate and build an even better schedule. We have a great schedule right now, it's just going to increase the opportunity to have a better one."

>On the lasting memories from the BIG EAST ...
"The BIG EAST has been a great conference for us. I know when I was at South Florida, and made the transition to Notre Dame, just a lot of great schools, great people, great coaches. Certainly our time there will be cherished and remembered in a positive way, and I'll miss dealing with the coaches. It's a really good group of people."

Kevin Corrigan - Men's Lacrosse Head Coach
On what joining the ACC means to his program ...
"It means we're going to be in the single-best conference in college lacrosse. It's huge from a scheduling standpoint, from a competitive standpoint and from a recruiting standpoint. It's a tremendously competitive league and a very exciting league to be a part of."

On any change in a recruiting philosophy ...
"Our goal in recruiting, scheduling and everything else has been towards trying to win a national championship and that's not going to change. Is it going to be a great challenge year in and year out to play the schedule of the ACC? Of course it is. But it's the challenge we relish and are looking forward to. I couldn't be more excited about all the possibilities of this move."

On his connections to the ACC ...
"I had uncles that went to Maryland. My father went to Duke, coached at Virginia, worked at Virginia and Notre Dame and ultimately at the ACC office. We are filthy in the ACC. It's been part of my life growing up. Along with Notre Dame, I can't think of a group of schools that I'd rather be associated with. It's just a thrill for us."

Christine Halfpenny - Women's Lacrosse Head Coach
On ACC women's lacrosse ...
"We are thrilled to be joining the ACC for women's lacrosse. It allows us to be in one of the most competitive leagues in the country with schools that align with our institution's main components such as academic success and integrity. The matches will be a dogfight every week. There is parody every year in the ACC. Usually five of the six teams every year have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament from the ACC."

On the impact it will have on recruiting ...
"I think it enhances our ability to continue to recruit the top student-athletes in the country. We take pride in the fact that we recruit nationally already. Our location helps us do that. But if you ask high school players where they want to play, they want to play in the ACC. They want to play against the best and beat the best. While we have always attracted those student-athletes, I think the move to the ACC enhances our opportunity to continue to attract the best recruits in the country."

On the BIG EAST ...
"The BIG EAST has been great for us. Historically it has been an incredibly strong league. We have had nothing but great things happen to the program since joining the league in 2001. They have really put the teams in the league in a great situation nationally as evidenced by three teams making the tournament last year."

Martin Stone - Rowing Head Coach
On the move to the ACC ...
"It's going to be a new challenge. It's going to be fun and interesting. We move into a conference that has the defending national champion in Virginia, who has won two national titles now. It's strong, with Syracuse who will go in 2014, Clemson, Duke, all the other members are pretty good. It will be a new challenge, but we're up for it, and we'll see what happens."

On the depth of the competition in ACC rowing ...
"There will be eight schools now, and it will be pretty strong throughout. There will be different levels of speed, and it's going to be interesting. It's going to be fun."

On the memories of the extraordinary success his program had in the BIG EAST ...
"It started out as a challenge, with some of the schools getting together and having an affiliation with the conference. It developed into a full-blown BIG EAST Championship, so it's been neat to see the growth. It goes back-and-forth, evolves back-and-forth. We've raced at four or five different venues over that time for the championship, and it's been fun. I think it's in position to continue to grow. We've put some things in place that will make it a fine conference moving forward."

Bobby Clark - Men's Soccer Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"It's kind of a bittersweet moment because I enjoyed being in the BIG EAST. It was a great conference for us and for soccer and I have a lot of friends in the BIG EAST. Having said that, I must say I'm very, very excited to join the ACC. It is one of the top soccer conferences in the country. It'll be sad to leave old friends, but I am also happy to meet new friends. I know we're going into a fantastic athletic conference and a very good academic conference. It's a very good fit for Notre Dame."

On ACC soccer ...
"ACC soccer has always been strong. When Bruce Arena was the coach at Virginia they were the benchmark. I remember going there for the NCAA quarterfinals when I was the coach at Dartmouth. It was the soccer conference to begin with. Hopefully we can go there and add to that."

On any change in a recruiting philosophy ...
"The ACC is the 'Cadillac' soccer conference in the U.S. I think we can recruit in any conference because Notre Dame has the brand and the reputation so we could recruit against anyone. I don't think it'll hurt our recruiting at all."

Randy Waldrum - Women's Soccer Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"I'm extremely excited about the move to the ACC. It's obviously the most powerful conference in women's soccer, and now it only becomes that much more attractive. On top of that, you now have two of the most storied women's soccer powers in the country (Notre Dame and North Carolina) getting to play each other every year, which only adds to my excitement. I have to give (Notre Dame vice president/director of athletics) Jack Swarbrick and (University President) Father Jenkins huge kudos for pulling this off for Notre Dame and the ACC. I think it's a great marriage for all involved and I can't wait to get started."

Deanna Gumpf - Softball Head Coach
On joining the ACC ...
"I am extremely excited about the ACC; it changes the whole dynamic for our team. If you look at the RPI, in the ACC, you're looking at top 50, top 60 teams. I like that competition. It takes us to different weather, down south where we like to play, and it takes us to schools that are a lot like we are. I'm very excited about the competition, I'm excited about the opportunity, and I think a lot of great things are going to happen."

On if recruiting philosophy will change ...
"I don't think it changes our recruiting philosophy, but it definitely opens some doors for kids down south who might have been afraid to leave the south. They don't have to be anymore, because we are going to be down there so frequently that it's not going to seem like such a long way to go. I am excited about that aspect."

On the quality of competition in ACC softball ...
"ACC softball is a great conference, really well known. We actually try to book ACC teams early in the year before we hit conference because we realize it helps us in the long run with our RPI. Now, we get to join the party, and it's pretty exciting."

On her team's successful tenure in the BIG EAST and her memories of the conference ...
"The BIG EAST has always been so good to us, being a coach and player in the BIG EAST. We definitely have good connections there, great relationships and lots of great coaches in the BIG EAST. I feel like the BIG EAST is really going somewhere in softball. Last year, I believe they had the most teams to qualify for the NCAAs, so they are really starting to make some noise."

Tim Welsh - Men's Swimming Head Coach
On moving to the ACC ...
"It's very exciting. This is another challenge. We will not come in at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference, that's good for us. We'll look forward to the challenge and to the opportunities. There are great schools, great swimmers, great coaches, and good facilities. It's just a great move for us."

On the caliber of competition in the ACC ...
"The teams you would expect, North Carolina has been an ACC Champion many times and Virginia has been an ACC Champion many times. The Virginia head coach (Mark Bernardino) just finished a term as the president of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Once upon a time, we were able to train in North Carolina during the breaks, so we've been to their facility. Georgia Tech has been a rising power, and they have one of the most elite facilities in the United States. We look forward to a chance to be there. Florida State, they are good in everything. It's just a really solid conference. It will be familiar to be back racing against Pittsburgh, Boston College, and others."

On the BIG EAST ...
"The BIG EAST, when we joined, was a huge challenge for us, especially in swimming. We were excited to go, the conference has always taken great care of us, and the challenges were huge. We've managed to move up in the BIG EAST and won it a few times. We have very fond memories of watching our program grow as members of the BIG EAST Conference. It's been very good for us."

Brian Barnes - Women's Swimming Head Coach
On ACC swimming ...
"It's a strong conference for us particularly at the top, which is where we need to be looking. Many of the programs in the ACC are coached extremely well. We are excited to join a bigger conference and a deeper conference meet."

On the BIG EAST ...
"The BIG EAST Conference is a tremendous league and they have been really good to us during the time I have been here. It is a competitive conference for women's swimming. It is a bittersweet day for us because we are excited to join the ACC but at the same time we have established some good relationships with teams in the BIG EAST."

Bobby Bayliss - Men's Tennis Head Coach
On ACC men's tennis ...
"I could not be more excited about being a part of the ACC. We already play a lot of the better teams in the ACC on a yearly basis. It is a very strong conference in men's tennis. For us it will be more of the same during the regular season, but going to the conference tournament will be very exciting. It will be great for the program."

On the BIG EAST ...
"I have a lot of fond memories of the BIG EAST. We have a ton of great rivalries. It has been a great experience for us."

Jay Louderback - Women's Tennis Head Coach
On what the move to the ACC means to the women's tennis team ...
"It's exciting, but it's going to be challenging. For women's tennis, two years ago, it was without question the best conference in the country. The PAC-12 and SEC are up there as well, but the ACC could be the best conference again this year. It will be challenging for us, but it really is exciting for us that we will be playing some of the top teams home and away. We've already got some great rivalries with ACC teams; we play quite a few of them already. For us, it's a great step and will help with our recruiting. Our scheduling has gotten tougher the last few years. With the bigger conferences, there are more weekends and more dates teams are playing, so it's been tougher for us. It's going to be great, very exciting."

On direct impact of recruiting ...
"It gives us a chance to talk with kids about playing a number of good schools and knowing we are going to be able to play them. It's gotten tougher with scheduling the last few years because all of the conferences have gotten so big they've started playing conference matches in the middle of March. The BIG EAST didn't have mandatory scheduling, so from the middle of March on it has been hard to schedule and we've had to play middle of the week matches. I think that has hurt with recruiting, so that will help. The southeast has been a place we have had a few recruits from, not a lot, and this could really help us in the southeast."

On memories of the BIG EAST ...
"The BIG EAST has been great. We've established good rivalries with some of the BIG EAST teams. We've had great matches with South Florida, played them in the finals quite a few times. DePaul, we've had great relationships. I think some of those will continue. We have regional teams, Marquette, DePaul, Louisville, we've had great matches and relationships with them, and I think those will continue. We'll miss the BIG EAST, but the ACC will be very exciting."

Debbie Brown - Volleyball Head Coach
On ACC volleyball ...
"There are five or six schools that we used to compete against in the BIG EAST that are now in the ACC, so it will be nice to pick those rivalries again. It will also give us a chance to compete against some of the other powerhouses in the league. I think it is a really good fit for us and I'm really excited for this new adventure."

On the impact the move will have on recruiting ...
"I don't think it changes our recruiting philosophy at all. I think Notre Dame is such a special place in that the student-athletes we attract come here for all the things the school has to offer."

On the BIG EAST ...
"I think the BIG EAST has been a great experience for us. We have been able to come in and compete well in the league. We have some great rivalries here. I'm really appreciative for the coaches and the programs in the BIG EAST that have helped us along the way. If we didn't have that affiliation with the BIG EAST then we wouldn't be where we are today as a program."

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