Part of the job of an athletic director is to be prepared in the event that their head coach decides to leave suddenly. A lot of athletic directors go as far as to keep a short list, either in their head, in their desk drawer, or in a safe that only they know the combination to.
Even though Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has Brian Kelly locked into a deal through 2021, with the hope and plan that he retires in South Bend, Swarbrick is one of the few athletic directors that doesn’t believe in keeping a list, he shared with ND Insider during an interview.
He actually thinks a list can do more harm than good.
“No. I’m very conscious about not having a list. And it goes back to what we talked about a minute ago — I think if you have that list and you start from that list, you get a little blinded by it.”
Swarbrick goes on share that he and his administration track coaches all the time and know who is doing what, but in the event that the Irish have to replace Kelly suddenly, his approach will be driven by one initial question.
“What does the program need right now?’
Earlier in the interview, Swarbrick reflected back on the process that led them to hire Brian Kelly, and he shared that the program was broken at the time, coming off five seasons under Charlie Weis, and they needed a proven program builder. If they were to look for a new head coach today, the criteria would be much different than it were back then because the program is in a much better state. Hence, the one questions approach over the short list.
As for if retirement is on the horizon for the 65 year old Swarbrick, he shared, “the day I think I’m firing at 99%, I’m going to call Father John and say, ‘I’m done,’ It’s too important of a job not to do it 100 percent.”