John B. “Jack” Swarbrick Jr., a University of Notre Dame graduate now in his seventh year in 2014-15 as vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics at his alma mater, has attached his signature to a variety of new initiatives during his tenure:
- Launching of Fighting Irish Digital Media — a major enterprise that delivers better information about and access to Notre Dame and its athletic programs via expanded production and distribution of programming.
- Developing a plan for expanding Notre Dame Stadium in order to make it a year-round asset for the University while also improving the game day experience for student-athletes and fans. That initiative became reality with the 2014 announcement of the Campus Crossroads Project that will add new structures to three sides of Notre Dame’s home football facility — creating new homes for student activities and recreation, digital media, as well as academic disciplines anthropology, psychology, music and sacred music.
- Creation of new community outreach and youth programming activities.
- Building of student-athlete programs and services that expand recognition of high academic achievement, develop leadership skills — and mentor and facilitate career development.
- Meeting the performance needs of Notre Dame student-athletes through establishment of a sports performance division.
In 2012-13 and 2013-14 combined, Swarbrick played a major role in four significant announcements that positively impacted Notre Dame on the national collegiate scene:
- Membership for Notre Dame’s athletic teams (other than football and hockey) in the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning with the 2013-14 athletic seasons. In football, Notre Dame will play five games per year against ACC opponents beginning in 2014 and also have full access to the league’s list of postseason bowl options. Notre Dame hockey now plays in Hockey East.
- An extension of the University’s relationship with NBC Sports through the 2025 football season.
- The 2014 announcement of an unmatched 10-year relationship with Under Armour to provide performance footwear, apparel and equipment for Irish athletic programs. In addition to being a shareholder in Under Armour, Notre Dame will collaborate with Under Armour in the areas of sport technology, product development, and athlete performance.
- Creation by the Bowl Championship Series of the four-team College Football Playoff to begin with the 2014 season, with Notre Dame maintaining viable access into that system.
Swarbrick’s first six years combined featured a variety of on-and off-the-field Notre Dame athletics successes:
- The best across-the-board athletic season in Notre Dame history in 2013-14 as Irish men’s programs claimed the Capital One Cup and 22 of 26 sports overall advanced to postseason play, enabling Notre Dame to finish a best-ever third in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics all-sports standings.
- Number-one rankings for Notre Dame (among Football Bowl Subdivision schools) in the seven most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) surveys — in 2013 at 99 for all-student-athletes. The Irish football program has ranked number one in those listings four of the last five years.
- An appearance in the Bowl Championship Series football title game following the 2012 season — in an unprecedented year in which the Irish finished the regular season 12-0 to rank number one in the final BCS poll while also ranking number one in the GSR standings.
- NCAA championships in 2013 in men’s soccer, 2011 in fencing (a men’s and women’s combined championship) and 2010 in women’s soccer.
- NCAA runner-up team finishes in 2014, 2012 and 2011 in women’s basketball, 2014 and 2010 in men’s lacrosse, 2013 and 2009 in fencing and 2008 in women’s soccer.
- NCAA semifinal appearances in women’s basketball in 2013, men’s lacrosse in 2012, hockey in 2011, women’s tennis in 2009 and 2010 and women’s soccer in 2009, plus 2010 and 2012 third-place fencing finishes.
- Construction of the 5,022-seat Compton Family Ice Arena that opened for the 2011-12 season and features two sheets of ice (one Olympic sized). The 2009-10 school year also featured dedications of new facilities for soccer and lacrosse — as well as opening of the new Purcell Pavilion within the south dome of the Joyce Center.
- 193 All-America selections and 36 Academic All-America honorees over those six combined years.
Before coming back to Notre Dame, Swarbrick rose to national prominence as a lawyer, consultant and executive in the collegiate and Olympic sports industries.
Born in Yonkers, N.Y., and raised in Yonkers and Bloomington, Ind., he is a 1976 magna cum laude graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Upon graduating from Stanford University Law School in 1980, he returned to Indiana to accept a position as an associate in the Indianapolis law firm Baker & Daniels, one of the largest in the state. He was made partner in 1987 and spent 28 years with the firm.
As a member of the Indiana Sports Corporation, including the chairmanship from 1992 to 2001, Swarbrick led many of Indianapolis’ successful proposals to a wide array of athletics organizations — from the National Football League (NFL) to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to the Big Ten Conference. His leadership efforts resulted in the city:
- Earning the right to play host to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Becoming the home of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national headquarters in 1999.
- Hosting the 1987 Pan American Games, where Swarbrick served as the director of competition.
- Hosting the 1991 World Gymnastics Championships.
- Hosting NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Fours and other college championship competitions and a wide array of national and world championships in the Olympic sports.
In 2000 Swarbrick received one of the NCAA’s highest honors, The Flying Wedge Award, for his work in establishing Indianapolis as the new home of the NCAA. In 2001 he was honored by the State of Indiana with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award. In 2002 he received the Pathfinder Award from Youthlinks Indiana for his service to youth in the state of Indiana.
He received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club in 2013.
Born March 19, 1954, Swarbrick became Notre Dame’s 12th athletics director on July 16, 2008. He and his wife, Kimberly, are the parents of four children: Kate, a 2010 graduate of Saint Louis University; Connor, a 2011 graduate of Wake Forest University; Cal, a 2014 graduate of TCU; and Christopher, a University of Notre Dame senior.