The Notre Dame football team kicked off the 2008 season with its annual Media Day activities on Friday, Aug. 8.
Over the past two seasons Ron Powlus has helped develop Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen into one of the most prolific passers in school history. Clausen's improvement from his freshman year to sophomore season can be traced to the attention Powlus gave him during his first two seasons at Notre Dame's quarterbacks coach.
Guiding Clausen through his 22 starts for the Irish, he helped Clausen climb the career passing charts with two seasons left to play. Clausen ranks fourth at Notre Dame in career passes completed (406), fifth in passes attempted (685) and sixth in all-time passing yards (4,426). Clausen also ranks second in career completion percentage (59.3) and passing yards per game (192.4), fifth in all-time passing touchdowns (32) and owns the sixth lowest interception percentage for a career (3.35).
In 2008, he coached Clausen to the third-best passing season in school history. The sophomore completed 60.9 percent of his passes (268 of 440) for 3,172 yards with 25 TDs and 17 interceptions while posting an efficiency rating of 132.49. Only Brady Quinn's junior and senior seasons (when he finished fourth and third, respectively, in Heisman Trophy balloting) are better than Clausen's '08 season.
The highlight of the '08 season occurred in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl as Clausen was sensational in completing 22 of 26 passes for career highs of 401 yards and five TDs. He set Notre Dame bowl records and career highs for completion percentage, passing yards and passing TDs and his completion percentage was second-best all-time by any quarterback in a bowl game.
As a true freshman in 2007, Clausen played in the season opener and started the following week at Penn State, the earliest any Notre Dame freshman quarterback had made his first start under center. Playing in front of over 100,000 fans, Clausen completed 17 of 32 passes for 144 yards.
The growth Clausen made during the '07 season was readily apparent in the final three contests of the '07 slate as he completed 57 of 104 passes (.548) for 636 yards with six TDs and one interception in those contests combined.
During the course of the `07 season, Clausen etched his name into the Notre Dame record books for most starts by a freshman quarterback and ranked on the freshman quarterback single-season lists for passing yards (1,254), completions (138), attempts (245) and completion percentage (.563).
Powlus also did a great job of having Evan Sharpley prepared and ready to enter the game at a moment's notice. A great illustration of that came against Purdue in '07 as Sharpley replaced an injured Clausen and completed 16 of 26 passes for 208 yards with two TDs and one interception. Sharpley started against USC and Navy and wound up completing 55 percent of his passes on the season (77 of 140) for 736 yards with five TDs and three interceptions.
After working for two years (2005-06) as the director of personnel development for the Notre Dame football team, Powlus was named quarterbacks coach on Jan. 19, 2007.
He played an integral role in helping the 2006 and 2007 recruiting classes rank in the top 10 in the nation as he helped direct the administrative aspects of Irish recruiting.
A four-year starter at quarterback for the Irish from 1994-97, Powlus was a two-time captain who set 20 school records at Notre Dame. He started all 44 regular-season games (plus two bowl games) in which he played and completed 558 of 969 passes for 7,602 yards and 52 TDs.
Among records he set included the Irish single-game mark for TD passes in a game with four (three times) and at one point he completed 14 straight passes. He set single-season records in '97 with 182 completions and 298 pass attempts.
He originally signed as a free agent in 1998 with the Tennessee Oilers and then was on the Detroit Lions' preseason roster in 1999 and the Philadelphia Eagles' roster in 2000.
Powlus played with the NFL Europe Amsterdam Admirals in the spring of 2000.
In 1992, he was hailed by Parade as the prep player of the year and by USA Today as the offensive player of the year.
Born July 16, 1974, he received his bachelor's degree in marketing from Notre Dame's College of Business Administration in 1997.
A native of Berwick, Pa., he and his wife, the former Sara Ivanina, are parents of two sons, Ronnie and Tommy. The couple was married prior to his final season at Notre Dame in 1997.