University Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics
John B. “Jack” Swarbrick Jr., a University of Notre Dame graduate now in his 10th year in 2017-18 as vice president and director of athletics at his alma mater, has attached his signature to a variety of new initiatives during his tenure:
- Launching of Fighting Irish 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 gameday 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, career services, digital media, as well as academic disciplines anthropology, psychology, music and sacred music.
- Building of student-athlete programs to develop leadership skills, increase community service and provide mentoring and career services resources.
- Meeting the performance needs of Notre Dame student-athletes through establishment of a sports performance division that supports and improves athletic performance through the application of science, medicine and technology.
- Working to create systems and structures to maximize the impact of technical expertise, environments, technology and service delivery on an athlete’s ability to optimize performance.
Over the past five years, Swarbrick played a major role in five significant announcements that positively impacted Notre Dame on the national collegiate scene:
- The 2016 launch of the ACC Network – a comprehensive linear and digital network that will give fans access to more than 600 exclusive live events from across the conference via a digital live-events channel ‘ACC Network Extra’, immediately available to users who have access to ESPN3 via WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
- Membership for Notre Dame’s men’s ice hockey program in the Big Ten Conference that will begin with the 2017-18 season. The Irish will join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin to form a seven-team hockey conference.
- Membership for Notre Dame’s athletic teams (other than football and hockey) in the Atlantic Coast Conference that began with the 2013-14 athletic seasons. In football, Notre Dame will play five games per year against ACC opponents and also have full access to the league’s list of postseason bowl options.
- 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 that provides performance footwear, apparel and equipment for Irish athletic programs. In addition to being a shareholder in Under Armour, Notre Dame collaborates 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, which started with the 2014 season, with Notre Dame maintaining viable access into that system.
Swarbrick’s first nine years 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 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 10 most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) surveys—in 2016 at 98 for all-student-athletes. The Irish football program has ranked number one in those listings three of the last six years.
- An appearance in the Bowl Championship Series football title game following the 2012 season—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 2017 in fencing (a men’s and women’s combined championship), 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 2015, 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 and 2015, hockey in 2011 and 2017, women’s tennis in 2009 and 2010, and women’s soccer in 2009, plus 2010, 2012 and 2015 third-place fencing finishes.
- Only men’s basketball program in the nation to register NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016
- Individual NCAA championships in 2017 by Lee Kiefer (fencing-women’s foil), Francesca Russo (fencing-women’s sabre); 2016 by Molly Seidel (indoor track and field-3,000 meters, 5,000 meters); 2015 by Lee Kiefer (fencing-foil), Francesca Russo (fencing-women’s sabre) and Molly Seidel (cross country; track and field-10,000 meters); 2014 by Gerek Meinhardt (fencing-foil), Lee Kiefer (fencing-foil) and Emma Reaney (women’s swimming-200 yard breaststroke); 2013 by Courtney Hurley (fencing-epee) and Lee Kiefer (fencing-foil); 2012 by Randall Babb (track and field-distance medley relay), Chris Giesting (track and field-distance medley relay), Jeremy Rae (track and field-distance medley relay) and Johnathan Shawel (track and field-distance medley relay); 2011 by Ariel DeSmet (fencing-foil) and Courtney Hurley (fencing-epee); and 2010 by Gerek Meinhardt (fencing-foil).
- 311 All-America selections and 54 Academic All-America honorees.
Born in Yonkers, New York, and raised in Yonkers and Bloomington, Indiana, Swarbrick 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. He was made partner in 1987 and spent 28 years with the firm. 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 2015 graduate of Notre Dame.