This week, we have a very special edition of “Where Are They Now” featuring our favorite loyal daughter, Lisa Kelly.
Lisa has brought her great “Where Are They Now” features to HLS since January and has turned these great stories into a book, Echoes from the Endzone – The Men We Became. Seeing as it is quite a milestone that HLS now has a legit published author, I decided the only appropriate thing to do was to sit Lisa down and give her a taste of her own Q&A medicine!
A: As the daughter of a Notre Dame alum, I have been exposed to Notre Dame football pretty much since birth. From learning my first colorful word (shit!) at three years of age while watching the ND/USC game with my father and grandfather Thanksgiving weekend, to annual pilgrimages to campus to visit my father’s ND roommate and attend a football game, I really had no choice but to love Notre Dame.
When it came time to apply to colleges, I didn’t want to go to Notre Dame. When you are exposed to something as much as I was to Notre Dame, you tend to want to go in the opposite direction. But, to make my father happy, I went ahead and applied to Notre Dame … along with nine other excellent engineering schools.
One by one the acceptance letters came rolling in. I was accepted to every school with the exception of two before hearing from Notre Dame. In fact, I didn’t get my Notre Dame acceptance letter until April Fool’s Day, and I was so angry with my mother because I thought she was playing a joke on me by telling me that my letter from ND had arrived that day. So angry in fact that she had to open the letter in front of me to prove that it wasn’t a joke.
After all of that, once I got accepted to Notre Dame, I knew that was where I belonged. The look on my father’s face, I just can’t put it into words. My friends at ND used to always comment that every time my parents would come to campus to visit me that my dad would have a “perma-grin” on his face the entire time they were there. I loved that.”
Q: What was your favorite football memory as a student?
A: “That’s easy, the Notre Dame – Penn State game in 1992, my senior year. Everything about that game was magical. It was snowing like crazy and I can remember the officials kept having to go out there with brooms to ‘sweep’ the snow off the field because they couldn’t even see the yard line markers! The pass to Jerome Bettis at the end of the fourth quarter was amazing, but that pass that Rick (Mirer) dropped in the corner of the end zone to Reggie (Brooks) , that was breathtaking. The entire student body was leaning over so far to see whether or not he made the catch that as soon as he caught it we all fell forward like dominoes. Amazing. We all rushed the field and all I remember was seeing Irv Smith and getting the biggest, muddiest bear hug I’ve ever gotten. That has to be the best game I’ve ever seen in person.”
A: “I am definitely not a sit still kind of person. By day, I do marketing research for a local company in St. Louis. We do readership studies for magazines and newspapers and teach the publishers how to sell advertising in their publication.”
“I sit on the board of directors of the local Notre Dame Alumni Club of St. Louis, the St. Louis Downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Social Media Club of St. Louis. I also do social media freelance work for several clients, and oh yea … raise a family! Busy is good though, I can’t imagine it being any other way!”
Q: What made you want to start the “Where Are They Now?” series?
A: “After the ‘Biggest Fan of the Big East’ contest, I found myself more times than not defending Notre Dame. It seemed to me that the majority of stories that the media pushed out on Notre Dame were negative and that I was constantly spinning my wheels to defend this University that I so dearly love. I made a phone call to Oscar McBride and as he and I were catching up I ran my idea past him of interviewing former Notre Dame football players and highlighting what they did after football. I wanted to push out positive stories about Notre Dame and to show the world the greatness that comes out of Our Lady’s University. Oscar liked the idea as much I did and he was my first interview. It was more like two friends catching up, but it was a wonderful walk down memory lane with Oscar and a discovery of how Notre Dame helped shape him into the man he is today.”
“Almost immediately I realized I had something special, but I never thought it would turn into a book. One interview lead into another and as I completed each interview it became clear to me that a theme was emerging. Even though each man’s journey to Notre Dame and from Notre Dame was very different, each one of them credited their experiences at Notre Dame with playing a huge role in molding them into the men they became.”
Q: So you never expected this to all become a book–just how did that happen?
A: “Several people had mentioned to me that what I had was book material, but I didn’t really believe it. I was flattered, but thought there was no way I was publishing a book. As the interviews started to stack up, though, I started to think otherwise. I shopped it around to a few publishing houses and got a bite! From there it was a whirl wind of writing, transforming the Q & A interviews that I had into a book. It was an amazing experience and I could not have done it without the support of so many, especially my writing coach, Marv Russell. He really pushed me to make this happen. Thanks Marv!”
Q: What can Irish fans expect from the book?
A: “The book features the journeys of 25 former Notre Dame football players, from the class of 1958 through the class of 2003. I will walk you through their days at Notre Dame, experiences of professional football (some of them), and life after football. Some of these you have seen in my “Where are they now?” series … but many you have not! And while every story is very different, they all come back to the common thread that our beloved University molded and shaped them into the men they became through what they learned from the Notre Dame Value Stream.”
Q: So please tell me you will still continue to profile more Notre Dame players now that the book is out…
A: “Of course I will still continue to profile more Notre Dame football players now that the book is out! Right now I am working on a piece about Kory Minor … you guys are gonna love this story! And there will be many more after Kory including a few new angles (a walk-on football player) and maybe some other sports besides football! I’m open to any suggestions!”
Q: Will there enough for a second book?
A: “Yes, there will absolutely be enough for a second book! The list is long of people I hope to track down!”
Q: If you could have a dream interview with any ND player, who would it be…or have you already had it?
A: “That’s a great question. They have all been great in their own way. I was very, very nervous about interviewing Tim Brown, but he ended up being one of the most heartfelt interviews that I did. Some of the guys were very chatty, and some of the guys I really had to pull the answers out of them. Of the interviews that I have in the works, I am really excited about interviewing Rocket. I saw him twice in Miami the weekend of the national title game, and he was exactly the same as I remember him from college. Still full of energy and childhood wonder. I can’t wait to tell his story!”
Everyone here at HLS would like to congratulate Lisa on this incredible accomplishment. We are thrilled to have such a talent on our staff and we can’t encourage you enough to go buy her book for yourself and everyone you know. Personally, I can’t wait for my copy to arrive.