"Scott has always been pretty athletic," Daly told Irisheyes.com about her son Scott. "He's been a baseball player all his life. So where we're at now was never in our (wildest) dreams of him playing college football. We thought that maybe, just maybe, he would play college baseball and even that was a stretch."
Discovered Talent, Fostered Talent...The path taken by Scott changed during his second year in Downers Grove (IL) South High School as coaches pulled his parents aside.
"His sophomore year one of his coaches started telling us he was an extremely good snapper," she explained. "His freshman coach actually pulled us to the side and said Downers South had a history of good snappers, but they'd never seen one as good as Scott. I thought, 'Thank you very much coach, but he's a baseball player' and didn't think much more about it.
"However, after that his coach told us colleges were starting to give scholarships to long-snappers if they're (really) good and said we would be crazy to keep Scott in baseball. (But) Scott loves baseball and what we were going to do? I work in the operating room, and I started having surgeons come up to me and say they were hearing about Scott and that he's really a good long-snapper. Then they asked me if I was nuts because you could get a full scholarship."
It was then Marianne went to work looking into how to make Scott a better long snapper.
"When they started telling me all this I went home and 'Googled' long-snapping coaches and stumbled across a couple," said Daly. "The first camp we ever attended was the Colts camp. Then one of his coaches called and told me there was this guy coming to town, Chris Sailor, and that he was sending his kicker and maybe Scott would want to go with him. So we went there and that was it, as Scott fell in love with (instructor) Chris Rubio and so did I."
The relationship with one of the top long-snapping coaches was one of love at first sight for both student and parent.
"Just spending one day with him (Rubio) we found he was just different than any other coach we had ever encountered," Marianne offered. "It was just amazing and he came up to me halfway through the camp and said Scott was good and that we needed to go to Vegas and really showcase him.
"I was very skeptical as I thought this guy was just out for a buck at first. After that I started receiving emails from people who heard how well he did in the camp so I said, 'let's go' and then all of a sudden -- it happened so quickly -- and he got ranked very high. I just took him there to see how he would do against the other snappers. I quickly found out that he did have a talent, and then he got confident."
Marianne feels it was the confidence gained at this first camp that set her son down the path he's taken to Notre Dame.
"Scott's always been such an incredible hard worker," she said. "When he sets his mind to do something there is no stopping him. When he got ranked so high by Chris Rubio he continued to work on his long snapping and started taking yoga for flexibility along with his weight lifting and conditioning, and everything else that is required to be a good athlete. It was then he started getting noticed by colleges."
First, and lasting impressions, second-to-noneLike many fans before them, the Daly family was amazed the first time they stepped on the campus of Notre Dame.
Looking back what does Marianne remember most about that first trip?
"Everything," said Daly. "Walking through the tunnel had me in tears. Walking through that tunnel out onto the field knowing Scott was going to have the opportunity to play there still brings me to tears today. I don't know anyone who has played football at Notre Dame.
"It's one thing to get an education at Notre Dame. That into its self has me so proud of him. But I'm just so happy for him as he's going to have doors opening for him everywhere he goes because of the opportunity that is in front of him. A Notre Dame education is second to none. There is none better. Scott has coaches from Stanford talking to him and I was like, 'Scott, you have to think about Stanford.' He was like, 'No I really don't, because I really want Notre Dame.' As I thought: Scott's a smart kid and he got this one right."
(Relatively) Easy AcclimationMarianne is confident Scott will be ready for the rigors Notre Dame brings though she knows challenges await any teenager about to be on his own for the first time
"Just being away from family," said Daly. "Scott's a very likeable kid and has such an easy going personality so I don't think he'll have any problem fitting in. That was one of the reasons we tried to go to every (Notre Dame) game this fall, to get him as acclimated as he could.
"Also I guess probably like any kid it will be time management as not having your parents constantly on your back for the first time. But he's very self-driven and should do just fine."
When Scott returns home for the first time next fall, Marianne knows what her son will be asking for on the dinner table.
"He's going to say can you fix me some Chicken Parmesan," she said. "That is what he's going to say. 'Mom can you make your famous Chicken Parmesan for me?' In fact when Coach (Chuck) Martin said he was going to coming over later this week, Scott was like, 'Mom, please make him your Chicken Parmesan.'"
Note: Part II of our conversation with Marianne Daly is forthcoming.