Notre Dame coaches react to move to ACC

Brian Kelly --Football Head Coach
“Today is a great day for the University of Notre Dame and our athletics department, including the football program. Speaking strictly from a football standpoint, we have further solidified our future as an independent in college football, maintained our unique ability to schedule nationally and greatly improved our postseason bowl game options. I applaud Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for this move. They have set our entire athletics department up for great success in the future.”

Mike Brey – Men's Basketball Head Coach
On joining the ACC
"The opportunity to go the ACC, is a great exciting new challenge and I think at a real key time for our program and for me in my career. I'm an ACC guy at heart where I grew up. I grew up not far from Maryland, 8 years at Duke so being down there with Jack and Father John on Tobacco Road brough back a lot of memories. I'm excited about taking our program forward. The bar has been raised but I think that's a good thing."

Going from the best conference in America to... "The best conference in America. Everybody said, 'man, that league, that depth.' I said, 'wait a minute--have you seen what I've been dealing with the last four or five years?' I think that for that, I'm mentally prepared for that."
Muffet McGraw – Women’s Basketball Head Coach
On joining the ACC
"This is an exciting day for Notre Dame women's basketball. The ACC is one of the nation's strongestwomen's basketball conferences and we're thrilled to be able to add our program to that mix. There are so many talented players, coaches and programs in the ACC and we will be challenged each and every night. I also think our fans, who are the best in college basketball, will be excited to see so many new faces coming in to Purcell Pavilion in the next few years. My hat is off to Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins for the hard work they put in to make this move a reality.”

On leaving the BIG EAST
"We are certainly sad to be leaving behind the many friends and colleagues, as well as the numerous rivalries we have developed in the BIG EAST. Our program has grown exponentially in the past 17 years and the BIG EAST is a major reason for that development."

Mik Aoki – Baseball Head Coach
On joining the ACC
“From a baseball perspective, this is obviously a very positive thing for our program. This is the second time that I’ve gone through this process, the first time when I was at Boston College. I’m excited about going to the ACC. The BIG EAST was moving in the right direction with the recent additions of UCF, Houston and Memphis and there is a bit of nostalgia leaving the league considering my career in the conference. I know the league will move on and be successful, but I’m excited about where we are going.”

On baseball in the ACC
“Baseball is a really big deal to the ACC. Our conference tournament is exciting, the venues from Miami to Florida State to Clemson to Georgia Tech to North Carolina to NC State to Virginia. It is simply a who’s who of college baseball. The game operation, fan base and facilities, I just think it’s really a big move for our baseball program to compete in that conference. If you look at the ACC over the last 10 years or so, the ACC has either been #1, #2 or #3 in conference RPI. This is a major upgrade for our program.”

On any changes in recruiting philosophy
“I don’t know that it necessarily changes our recruiting philosophy at Notre Dame, which is such a national brand with such a national recruiting base, but I do think that this move definitely helps us. I’ve put a real premium on trying to clean up our ‘backyard.’ I consider our ‘backyard’ to include Indiana, the Chicagoland area and Ohio. We can now make the case to those kids that you don’t have to go anywhere but here, the University of Notre Dame, to compete in arguably the top conference in the country. You can get an education second-to-none and play college baseball at the very highest level it is offered. It is a message that will resonate extremely well here at Notre Dame.”

Kevin Corrigan – Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach
On what joining the ACC means to his program
“It means we’re going to be in the single-best conference in college lacrosse. It’s huge from a scheduling standpoint, from a competitive standpoint and from a recruiting standpoint. It’s a tremendously competitive league and a very exciting league to be a part of.”

On any change in a recruiting philosophy
“Our goal in recruiting, scheduling and everything else has been towards trying to win a national championship and that’s not going to change. Is it going to be a great challenge year in and year out to play the schedule of the ACC? Of course it is. But it’s the challenge we relish and are looking forward to. I couldn’t be more excited about all the possibilities of this move.”

On his connections to the ACC
“I had uncles that went to Maryland. My father went to Duke, coached at Virginia, worked at Virginia and Notre Dame and ultimately at the ACC office. We are filthy in the ACC. It's been part of my life growing up. Along with Notre Dame, I can't think of a group of schools that I'd rather be associated with. It's just a thrill for us.”

Bobby Clark – Men’s Soccer Head Coach
On joining the ACC
“It’s kind of a bittersweet moment because I enjoyed being in the BIG EAST. It was a great conference for us and for soccer and I have a lot of friends in the BIG EAST. Having said that, I must say I’m very, very excited to join the ACC. It is one of the top soccer conferences in the country. It’ll be sad to leave old friends, but I am also happy to meet new friends. I know we’re going into a fantastic athletic conference and a very good academic conference. It’s a very good fit for Notre Dame.”

On ACC soccer
“ACC soccer has always been strong. When Bruce Arena was the coach at Virginia they were the benchmark. I remember going there for the NCAA quarterfinals when I was the coach at Dartmouth. It was the soccer conference to begin with. Hopefully we can go there and add to that.”

On any change in a recruiting philosophy
“The ACC is the ‘Cadillac’ soccer conference in the U.S. I think we can recruit in any conference because Notre Dame has the brand and the reputation so we could recruit against anyone. I don’t think it’ll hurt our recruiting at all.”

Randy Waldrum – Women’s Soccer Head Coach
On joining the ACC
"I'm extremely excited about the move to the ACC. It's obviously the most powerful conference in women's soccer, and now it only becomes that much more attractive. On top of that, you now have two of the most storied women's soccer powers in the country (Notre Dame and North Carolina) getting to play each other every year, which only adds to my excitement. I have to give (Notre Dame vice president/director of athletics) Jack Swarbrick and (University President) Father Jenkins hugekudos for pulling this off for Notre Dame and the ACC. I think it's agreat marriage for all involved and I can't wait to get started."

Deanna Gumpf – Softball Head Coach
On joining the ACC
“I am extremely excited about the ACC; it changes the whole dynamic for our team. If you look at the RPI, in the ACC, you’re looking at top 50, top 60 teams. I like that competition. It takes us to different weather, down southwhere we like to play, and it takes us to schools that are a lot like we are. I’m very excited about the competition, I’m excited about the opportunity, and I think a lot of great things are going to happen.”

On if recruiting philosophy will change
“I don’t think it changes our recruiting philosophy, but it definitely opens some doors for kids down south who might have been afraid to leave the south. They don’t have to be anymore, because we are going to be down there so frequently that it’s not going to seem like such a long way to go. I am excited about that aspect.”

On the quality of competition in ACC softball
“ACC softball is a great conference, really well known. We actually try to book ACC teams early in the year before we hit conference because we realize it helps us in the long run with our RPI. Now, we get to join the party, and it’s pretty exciting.”

On her team’s successful tenure in the BIG EAST and her memories of the conference
“The BIG EAST has always been so good to us, being a coach and player in the BIG EAST. We definitely have good connections there, great relationships and lots of great coaches in the BIG EAST. I feel like the BIG EAST is really going somewhere in softball. Last year, I believe they had the most teams to qualify for the NCAAs, so they are really starting to make some noise.”

Joe Piane – Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach
“It’s a great conference for both sports. I would say it’s one of the best conferences in the country. Florida State and Clemson are perennial powerhouses in track and field. Cross country also has elite teams as well. The league also has some great schools academically, which Notre Damewill fit right in with.”

Jim Kubinski – Men’s Golf Head Coach
"It’s great news for Notre Dame, and all programs here. In golf, there is just such a tradition of top programs. I spent sometime at Duke as an assistant coach and we broke through and won an ACC Championship my last year there; and how special that was because the competition was so strong and has been so strong over the years. It’s the dawning of a new era here, and we’re excited for the challenge.”

Susan Holt – Women’s Golf Head Coach
“I think it’s great. I was surprised, we had a head coaches meeting this morning and that was the first thing that was announced. I think it’s great for our university, great for our whole department, great for our sport. ACC women’s golf, it doesn’t get much better than that. Last year at the NCAA Finals, four of their teams finished in the top 15. Duke is one of the storied women’s golf programs in the country. It’s certainly going to give us a chance to compete against the best, and it’s only going to make our program better.”

Christine Halfpenny – Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach
“We are thrilled to be joining the ACC for women’s lacrosse. It allows us to be in one of the most competitive leagues in the country with schools that align with our institution’s main components such as academic success and integrity. The matches will be a dogfight every week. There is parody every year in the ACC. Usually five of the six teams every year have a shot to make the NCAA Tournament from the ACC.”

Martin Stone – Rowing Head Coach
“It’s going to be a new challenge. It’s going to be fun and interesting. We move into a conference that has the defending national champion in Virginia, who has won two national titles now. It’s strong, with Syracuse who will go in 2014, Clemson, Duke, all the other members are pretty good. It will be a new challenge, but we’re up for it, and we’ll see what happens.”

Brian Barnes – Women’s Swimming Head Coach
“It’s a strong conference for us particularly at the top, which is where we need to be looking. Many of the programs in the ACC are coached extremely well. We are excited to join a bigger conference and a deeper conference meet.”

Bobby Bayliss – Men’s Tennis Head Coach
“I could not be more excited about being a part of the ACC. We already play a lot of the better teams in the ACC on a yearly basis. It is a very strong conference in men’s tennis. For us it will be more of the same during the regular season, but going to the conference tournament will be very exciting. It will be great for the program.”

Jay Louderback – Women’s Tennis Head Coach
On what the move to the ACC means to the women’s tennis team …
“It’s exciting, but it’s going to be challenging. For women’s tennis, two years ago, it was without question the best conference in the country. The PAC-12 and SEC are up there as well, but the ACC could be the best conference again this year. It will be challenging for us, but it really is exciting for us that we will be playing some of the top teams home and away. We’ve already got some great rivalries with ACC teams; we play quite a few of them already. For us, it’s a great step and will help with our recruiting. Our scheduling has gotten tougher the last few years. With the bigger conferences, there are more weekends and more dates teams are playing, so it’s been tougher for us. It’s going to be great, very exciting.”

Debbie Brown – Volleyball Head Coach
“There are five or six schools that we used to compete against in the BIG EAST that are now in the ACC, so it will be nice to pick up those rivalries again. It will also give us a chance to compete against some of the other powerhouses in the league. I think it is a really good fit for us and I’m really excited for this new adventure.”

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