An Interview With Former Notre Dame Football Coach Gerry Faust Touching On Faith, Football & The Church
Dave Hartline Coach, I expected to find you in
and here you are making plans to speak to various Catholic menís groups.
Coach Faust Dave, I am just trying to give a little back. The Lord has blessed me so much; I am just trying to help out. If some man, woman or child can be helped by me sharing any of my life experiences, I have a hard time saying no.
Dave Hartline Ok coach, letís start at the beginning. How did you go about incorporating faith and optimism into your coaching career?
Coach Faust I watched my dad and I was in awe of how he taught those young men at Dayton Chaminade. It was like a family thing with my father and mother taking care of those boys, teaching them the lessons of faith and football. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
Dave Hartline Coach growing up in
in the 1970ís and 1980ís, one couldnít help but be in awe of the
football that you coached. That 1980 team might have been the greatest high school team I have ever seen. Was it hard to keep the team faithful, disciplined and determined on and off the field?
Coach Faust No, it wasnít hard at all. It was a great time in my life. The whole atmosphere was just great, the young men, the faculty and staff. I remember telling Father, as I left Moeller, that going to Notre Dame was the only reason I would ever leave.
Dave Hartline Was your faith life tested when things didnít go the way you wanted them to at Notre Dame?
Coach Faust No, I just accepted it as Godís will. I felt I had let the kids down and for a while I tried to figure the whole thing out. Perhaps Our Lord Jesus or the Blessed Mother wanted me to speak to others about life experiences like I do now. I donít know, but I do know that I have been richly blessed and I love that university. I go to
often and I just loved being able to work with everyone, whether it was at Moeller, Notre Dame or
Dave Hartline Coach, you talked about letting the kids down what do you mean? I coached at the high school level and I canít imagine what it must be like at the college level. It seems to me there would be a variety of non-football related duties required.
Coach Faust The organizational stuff wasnít the problem. However, there are so many requests for your time when you are the Notre Dame Coach. My problem was I should have been a little tougher with the kids. I thought, well, theyíre in college they will be more disciplined than in high school and I wasnít concentrating on discipline as much as I should have. I had a great coaching staff but something was missing with the chemistry at Notre Dame, and chemistry in coaching is very important. I keep in touch with the former players and coaches. They are all good people and many have done great things.
Dave Hartline You are so optimistic, did you ever get down during your last year, 1985? What about after Jimmy Johnsonís Miami Hurricanes ran up the score? I think some coaches would have gone ballistic.
Coach Faust Dave, I never judge a person the Lord does that. I do remember that as I was about to go on to the field after the Miami loss and a priest came up to me and said donít shake hands with that guy. I shook Jimmy Johnsonís hand and left it at that.
Dave Hartline Do you still follow high school and college football?
Coach Faust Oh yes, I still go to games at both the high school and college level. I like to evaluate talent. I am going to
this weekend and I canít wait. Soon I will be going back to Moeller. They are having a night to honor my first team (1963, Faust started the program when the school opened for freshman in 1960) and also several other teams including that 1980 team you mentioned earlier.
Coach Faust They are great and Charlie Weis is a class act on and off the field. I canít wait for this Saturday. I really think the Irish have a chance. There are things that occur in a big football game that are hard to explain, a tipped pass or a wrong bounce can make all the difference. A good team can take advantage of those situations. USC is so talented but donít count out the Irish.
Dave Hartline Coach, in the beginning of this interview you talked about giving something back. I know a lot of former coaches and players that wouldnít be doing what you are doing. Those former players and coaches would be in the warm weather and the thought of talking to Church groups would be the last thing on their minds.
Coach Faust My faith and family are the two most important things to me. I love football but faith and family come first. I am able to spend more time with my family now than I did when I was coaching and I owe that to them. God has blessed me so much. I make a little money doing motivational speaking. However, I feel like I have got to give something back by speaking to Church groups, especially Catholic menís conferences. I speak about 150 times a year. I feel I get more out of those conferences than those in attendance. They always have such great speakers. I learn so much from the speakers and those who came to hear us. I look at all the troubles in the world and it seems, in my life, so many dreams became a possibility. My dreams may not have turned out like I wanted them to, but I have been so blessed. I just want to help others understand that they can have the same blessings if only they knew what to do. You know as Catholics we have so many special gifts. Unfortunately, not everyone takes advantage of all these blessings, like the presence of Our Lord in the daily Mass, the renewal that comes with confession, the intercession of the Blessed Mother and prayers like the rosary. I just want to pay back by telling others about all of these great gifts of our faith.
Dave Hartline You gave everyone a lot to think about and you have been so gracious as well. Thank you for your time.
Coach Faust Thank you and may God Bless your work
Note: This interview was conducted in September of 2005. Coach Faust was and is a huge supporter of the book The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism which was released in December of 2006. In addition to reading the manuscript and endorsing the book, he continues to tell others about it now that it has been released.