So You Want to Write a Column…

I’ve written Observer columns for three years now. Some columns have received a lot of positive feedback, and some have — rightfully — endured considerable criticism. Writing for the Observer, or any paper, can be a great way to engage in the life of your community and to contribute to dialogue on a number of important issues. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have good things to say can be ineffective when it comes to actually communicating their ideas. Here are some things that I’ve learned from writing. Continue reading “So You Want to Write a Column…”


Getting What We Paid For

The following letter to the editor was published in The Observer on Thursday, October 3, 2013. 

Lou Holtz was hired as head coach in 1986 with a supposed salary of about $75,000. Sports Illustrated noted, “The money really may not be that important; the football coaching job at Notre Dame isn’t something to be bargained over — it’s a prize, if tendered, to be accepted.” Continue reading “Getting What We Paid For”

To Win as Notre Dame

Notre Dame has a weird alma mater. You wouldn’t know that from a teleconference with head football coach Brian Kelly today. In it, he said that football players would not be expected to remain on the field and sing the school’s alma mater with the other students after home losses. He said, “I just don’t think it’s appropriate to put your players after a defeat in a situation where they’re exposed… I want to get them in the locker room. It’s important to talk to them, and I just felt like in those situations, after a loss, there’s a lot of emotions. It’s important to get the team back into the locker room and get them under my guidance.”  Continue reading “To Win as Notre Dame”

From the archives: The Christian Menace

In October 1980, Dr. Ralph McInerny, one of my personal heroes, wrote an article for Notre Dame’s Scholastic Magazine. It is well worth reading, and I have copied it below:

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 2.40.20 PMAt the joint press conference held by Ronald Reagan and John Anderson in Baltimore, Soma Golden of the New York Times raised the issue of all these crazy Christians meddling in politics. She was particularly incensed by the letter Cardinal Medeiros of Boston had sent to priests and people reminding them of the Church’s judgment on abortion. The scarcely concealed rage with which Soma put the question indicated the seriousness with which secular humanists regard the Christian menace. It was not only Ms. Golden’s name that put me in mind of Brave New World. Continue reading “From the archives: The Christian Menace”

Kelly Interviews, and it reveals more about us than it does about him

In my column titled, “Something to Yell About,” I pose the question: “Do we need a seven-digit salary to convince coaches to consider our program, or do coaches seek out our institutional integrity and identity?” This question comes after noting that, “In his memoirs, the late Ralph McInerny, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, recalled that under Fr. Hesburgh, no football coach had ever been paid more than the highest paid professor.” McInerny chides the football program that came after this era, stating that “anyone who requires two million dollars to come to Notre Dame should be wished well in his future endeavors and forgotten.”

Continue reading “Kelly Interviews, and it reveals more about us than it does about him”

On Office Hours

The following column was published in The Observer on September 26, 2012.

The role of the professor in student life has changed dramatically over the years. In his autobiography, Fr. Hesburgh recalls attending a “beer keg party” with members of the Notre Dame Veterans Club. He recorded, “Years later, when I implemented my opposition to keg parties by outlawing them on campus, I could tell students that I spoke from experience.” Continue reading “On Office Hours”

Something to Yell About

The following column was published in The Observer on September 11, 2012.

It was a breezy Saturday afternoon as I stood on Bond Quad amidst alumni, students and friends of the University. The band, founded in 1846, played music from 2012, and I reflected on the many gifts its members have given to the University. The students, neither for scholarship nor for pay, spend hour upon hour in practice and performance. They are not unlike most of Notre Dame’s student body. Most students selflessly commit their time and energy to remind the world why Notre Dame is among the greatest of all educational institutions. Continue reading “Something to Yell About”