Perspective: On the Passing of Mirko

We lost more than a National Championship this week. We lost a champion. On Wednesday night, father, husband, Notre Dame man, All American and member of the 1988 National Championship team Mirko Jurkovic died after a two-year battle with colon cancer. He is to be laid to rest on Saturday and leaves behind a wife and three children.

I wish that I had an “I met Mirko” story. Instead, I have this: in 1990, yours truly was a freshman, living in Morrissey. As that first football season progressed and countless Papa Johns pizzas were consumed during early morning bull sessions, someone made a sign out of an old pizza box. On it, they wrote three simple admonisions: no pepper games, no crabbing, no Mirko Jurkovic-ing. His unique name stood out, sure, but he was a rock and my friends and I identified with the linemen. Mainly because we all weighed about what they did. Damn Papa Johns.

Mirko was accessible. That’s why he was on the wall. Not distant, not aloof. He was one of us, and that’s why this hurts. He was real. He was alive. A defensive lineman who switched to offensive guard and became an All American. And now he’s gone. I can’t tell you that the fact that he was but 42 isn’t weighing on my 41 year old heart. And early though the laurel grows it withers quicker than the rose.

Mirko went on to become a vibrant force in the Notre Dame community and when you watch the tribute below, you can feel the emotion in Jack Nolan’s voice. He will be missed.

About Bayou Irish

Featured Columnist: Notre Dame Football & Other Notre Dame Sports
Hating Hurricanes Since 1990.

Bayou Irish is a Jersey boy and Double Domer who fell under New Orleans' spell in 1995. He's been through Katrina and fourteen years in the Coast Guard, so we cut him some slack, mostly in the form of HLS-subsidized sazeracs. But, when he's not face down on the bar and communing with the ghosts of Faulkner and Capote at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone, he's our man in SEC-land, doing his best to convince everyone around him that Graduation Success Rate is a better indicator of success than the number of MNC's won in the last five years.

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  • Lisa

    Fantastic piece … thank you for sharing. RIP Mirko.

  • tlndma

    “Strong and True”, that describes Mirko to a T.
    R.I.P. Mirko

  • Terry

    What a perfect name for a lineman on a football team in the midwest – Mirko Jurkovic.

    RIP – I have had a Mass offered for him – why don’t you other mackerel-snappers out there do the same?