On a beautiful sunny June afternoon, during a COVID delayed celebration of their 55th anniversary reunion, members of the Notre Dame Class of 1965 visited the grave of Ara Parseghian to remember him in prayer and reflect on the impact he had on their lives, as students during the magical 1964 football season. Frank Pomarico “The Captain”, Co-Captain of Ara’s 1973 National Championship football team, and author of the book Ara’s Knights: Ara Parseghian and the Golden Era of Notre Dame Football, was asked to to offer some personal reflections on the impact that Ara had on his players and all whose lives he touched. Here is a summary of those remarks.
The greatness of Ara Parseghian wasn’t that he was a legendary head football coach of Notre Dame, but his greatness was that he was a manifestation of what Notre Dame spirit is all about: Class, Character and Integrity. Ara could have been anything he wanted to be: a senator, governor, even President of the United States. I’m glad that he chose to coach football, because he always gave us hope, hope that each of us would find our spirit of light within. He convinced us that by having the necessary discipline to get through the struggles of each day, we would be consistent and persistent in reaching our goals.
Ara also provided his players with a belief that no matter how bad it was is or how bad it might get, we were always going to make it. Ara cared about his players and challenged them daily, with a vision of positive outcomes in every facet of their individual lives. Ara’s favorite saying was “We have no breaking point,” not just in football, but in all the values in our lives we hold so dear.
Frank was thanked for being with the class of ’65 during their memorable reunion,and helping them to reflect on a wonderful period of their young lives, when the University embraced a young Ara Parseghian, in his first season at Notre Dame.