Tough Irish leaders
I was raised a Catholic and was an avid Notre Dame fan, at least until I earned two degrees from Ohio State. I was neither offended nor embarrassed by Ohio State President Gordon Gee’s ill-advised and much maligned attempt at humor in explaining why Notre Dame is not part of the Big Ten.
The “good fathers” and “damn Catholics” references were Gee’s way of saying that Notre Dame’s leaders are tough negotiators.
I take exception to Jim Jenkins’ attempts to canonize Father Hesburgh for his pious efforts to reform college sports while characterizing Gordon Gee’s success merely as crass abilities to raise private funds for OSU (“Gordon Gee, relatively speaking,” June 6 column). In fact, Hesburgh managed to build 40 buildings and increase the ND endowment from $9 million to $350 million during his 35-year tenure. Hesburgh also personally negotiated ND’s national TV contract that gives it the tremendous financial leverage it enjoys to this day.
I would say they both did a heck of a job and were charismatic leaders, one with a Roman collar, the other with a bow tie, and both equally callous at the negotiating table.