ND Optimistic

South Bend, IN - Jack Swarbrick's first year as Notre Dame athletic director has been a strange dichotomy.

``In once sense it's a blur, in another it feels like I've been doing it for five years,'' Swarbrick said from his office Friday, one day past the one-year anniversary of being named to the job at his alma mater.
The former Indianapolis attorney's most high-profile move so far was bringing back football coach Charlie Weis for a fifth season after the Irish finished the regular-season with a 6-6 record.

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Weis has a 29-21 record with Notre Dame, a .580 winning percentage that puts him just behind the .583 winning percentage of his two predecessors, Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham.
other year of strong recruiting.
``It helps provide the depth and, importantly, improves the competitive environment at practice,'' he said.
Swarbrick also believes there will be a better team dynamic this season. He says Notre Dame's 49-21 over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl has led to improved team spirit and camaraderie.
``I feel very good about our preparations,'' he said.
Swarbrick also had positive words about Weis, saying he hadn't been given enough credit for coaching through all the pain he was in last season.
The 53-year-old Weis injured his left knee on Sept. 13 when defensive end John Ryan, who is 6-foot-5 and 264 pounds, was blocked into the coach during the Michigan game. Doctors told Weis the damage was so severe it appeared that he had been in a car crash. In December, he had his right knee replaced because of severe deterioration of the bone.
Swarbrick praised Weis for coaching without taking pain medication, so he could remain clear-headed.
He said there is a long list of factors by which Weis will be measured this season, beyond wins, losses and graduation success rates. Swarbrick said there are certain statistics he pays attention to more than others, such as third-down conversion rates on both offense and defense.
s in February had approved construction of a 5,000-seat ice hockey arena that will open for the 2011-12 season. The school also consolidated its medical services, strength and conditioning, and nutrition departments into a sports performance division.
``I think it will give our students a competitive edge,'' he said.
Notre Dame also is preparing to open new facilities for soccer, lacrosse and track and field.
He heads into the start of his second year focusing on developing a strategic plan while also reorganizing the athletic department. He's also trying to cut costs and increase revenue during these tough economic times. He said the school is trying to come up with ways to do more events on football game days that could bring in more money and to explore more ways to bring in more advertising through new media.
He also expects the year to fly by again.
``When I was a student here it didn't feel like the academic year went by this fast,'' he said.

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Posted: 7/18/09 8:30PM ET


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