John Foley. About 6 months ago I was highly engaged in one of my numerous Facebook arguments about college football when outta nowhere someone took a shot at Lou Holtz!....Surprising...Yes...Surprising, seeing as how I live in the heart of the worst fan base in college football, Columbus "1 National Championship and 4 outright conference championships in 40 YEARS....yet we believe we are elite" OHIO...Buckeye Country...NO!..not surprising... But what happened next was very nice.... Outta thin air an agressive response to the negative Holtz comment came out!...BAM!... Followed up with a very respectful "you don't know sh#t about what you are talking about" via...John Foley!... Little did I know I had an ND Legend that had been following my arguments on Facebook and decided that day....was the day to break his silence...
CLICK HERE TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY TO THE PAIN JOHN USED TO DISPENSE!
Since that day John and I, being in the same business and sharing the same passion for life growth and the pursuit of EVERYTHING Notre Dame, have become great friends....and don't worry...It's not a NCAA violation for us to be buddies!..LOL...
To say John hasn't lost his desire to compete is a drastic understatement. He has become a pivotal figure on Wall Street and a brick in the foundation that is Barrington Research Associates Inc.
With all that is happening lately in College Football with the $180,000 for Cam....Tattoos and Lies at O$U....Oregon...who really knows what the Hell they were doing...and now the U!... John and I started talking about the old days....and the conversation went a bit like this!....
What was it like being so highly recruited and what type of "shady" tactics do you remember...(I'm leaving the school names out fellas!..)
"Growing up we were not wealthy people so I think they saw me and my family as maybe a target... I had one coach come into my high school with $100,000 in cash...one college said that if I went there that they would give my brother and my girl friend a full ride also....One promised my dad a house and a new job at twice his salary...It got way outta hand"
Was it kind of a free for all...was anyone monitoring these programs?
"You know that's the funny part...the NCAA had contacted me and my family almost knowing that this was about to start happening. They pulled the wool over my eyes to the extent that they told me that if I didn't report EVERYTHING I was seeing, they made me feel as if they could prevent me from receiving a scholarship at any school...So I reported in every week.."
Why Notre Dame?....Why Coach Holtz?
"That's the thing....When I met Coach Holtz he looked me in the eye and simply said...Son, we'd love to have you at Notre Dame...We know your being offered the world...But I have you tell you...Your the most aggressive player I've ever seen...I don't think your gonna survive college the way you play...So I have an offer too....An offer you can't refuse...An Education...Now let me ask you....How's your shoulder?"
"That was the amazing part...No one...I mean No one knew I had a bad shoulder...but somehow Lou knew." "I felt like he cared about Notre Dame so much but he also cared about our lives...and what we would do after football. No one else even mentioned the future."
What was you favorite memory of Lou?
"We had been practicing and the coaches used to yell at me to CALM DOWN...I didn't know how to go half speed...to me at that age it was FULL GO all the time... Growing up my father was a Golden Glove boxer and being from Chicago I learned here and there how to get respect when need be. I let the guys on the team know that if you cheap shotted me...I'd kick your butt! One day during practice I can't remember who...but man someone took a cheap shot and I was pissed.. Fists stared flying and the next thing I knew I heard Coach Holtz scream...FOLEY YOUR OFF THE TEAM!...LEAVE THE FIELD!"
"I was so upset I remember walking out...mad!...There were a bunch of kids on the other side of the fence waiting for us to walk back from the practice field....I thought well why not? I started handing out my equipment to the kids...one got a helmet...one got a jersey...one got some shoulder pads...etc"
"That night Coach looked at the practice film and realized it was a cheap shot and called me in to re-instate me to the team..."
"Well as things went on through the season...it happend again in practice...I got the cheap shot...I took my shots...Coach Holtz screamed and kicked me off the team...but this time...he said...FOLEY..YOUR OFF THE TEAM...and DON'T GIVE YOUR EQUIPMENT AWAY!...LOL... Sometimes I laugh just thinking about that."
What player on this current team reminds you of yourself and why?
"I think Fleming will have the type of season that will vault him into the first round of the NFL draft."
What are your impressions of Coach Kelly?
"LOVE HIM!...Great motivator...Not too close to the players...but they respect him and fear him! He has an uncanny way of not letting them know where they are at 100% of the time with him. It's like that father/son relationship...You want his approval so bad..but at the same time that fear of disappointing him is still there...it makes you work very hard for everything."
"The last three coaches...were just like...Well one was too close...one was not close at all...and one thought he was smarter than everyone else...Not going to mention names but you figure it out.."
What do you feel that this team is capable of?
"That's an easy one....At the most 2 losses, but if a few things go their way....health...no major injuries...It' amazing what can happen when a team in on the same page with one another."
"Remember in 88 we graduated Tim Brown...lost three of our top receivers to grad and academics...lost our ENTIRE starting D and O line to graduation...I got hurt and could not play...Lost our top two fullbacks Johnson and Banks to injury...had to start two young guards Joe Allen and Mike Brennan against no.1 Miami due to injury of Grunhard and Ryan...had to play without leading receiver Watters and rusher Brooks against no.2 USC and still won it all!..."
"Our team was close and really cared about each other...we knew that if we played together we could win it all. This team reminds me of our 88 team...From what I'm hearing they are like family!"
He's gonna kill me for putting up this picture...but this is who John Foley is...He loves life,his children and what the future holds... I told him one time that my motto was "Your either growing or you dying...there is no third direction" This describes John Foley...nothing that has happend in his life will allow him to make an excuse for anything...he controls his own destiny and knows that to achieve success it takes blood, sweat and tears...Just like Coach Holtz said...The offer of education was an offer he could not refuse!....He made the most of it!...
GO IRISH!...Thanks John for the time and friendship!...