A Mother's Words: Celia Mahone Part II

The conclusion of our conversation with Celia Mahone, mother of Notre Dame pledge William Mahone.

Click here for Part I

Others In His Ear

For Celia Mahone, the days leading up to her son William's choice to continue his education and football career at Notre Dame were not always easy.

One area Celia found hard during the process came from outside sources who may not have looked at the whole picture her son was being offered.

How hard was it to keep those with their own agendas at a distance?

"Very, very hard," she explained. "Because William didn't really know, and he had so many people in his ear as his phone was ringing with friends, other parents in the community, it was unreal.

"Maybe they all had good points, I don't know. But I felt most of them we're looking only at the football (part of the equation) and all I could say was I realized football was getting him his education, but you've got to think about more than just football.

"I kept telling him: 'If you're good, you're good and maybe you'll go places.'

"People were (telling them) 'you need to go here because you'll go to the NFL' and I would counter with if you go here you're going to graduate William, and that is the most important thing," Mahone explained. "I understand the enticement thinking you can go play at a school for a couple of years thinking 'I'm going to the NFL.' My thing, and what was explained to William, was this was a 40-year decision.

"I know at eighteen you're not thinking that way, but I would give him the example of 'Do you want to struggle as we have all these years? Or, would you like to get a degree in the area you want and be able to take really good care of your family? Think about that, because I don't think a degree from other places holds the weight that it does from Notre Dame,'" she offered.

"Then I had to step back and let him make his decision and that was really hard because I didn't want him to make any other decision."

Pressure Returns...Again

With coaching changes around the country and the Mahone family's two main contacts at Notre Dame gone, recruiting pressure once again returned to the equation.

How did Celia handle things the second time around?

"There's been pressure, because that's what's been happening," she said of the program's staff changes. "My extended family has been telling William you've made your decision and it was the best decision you could have made. They stressed to him not to allow himself to be taken (to indecision) as we feel Notre Dame has been on William's side for a long time.

"I also believe once you make your decision, you've made it. Your word is your bond and I don't care what these other kids do. I told William breaking commitments, de-committing and all that craziness (that) I didn't raise you to be like everybody else," Celia explained.

"I told him not to make his decision unless he's ready and he made his decision. When he said he was ready, he had to stick to the decision he made."

Not that William's mother had the final say in the matter.

"Of course once again it was his choice," she explained. "There were a lot of pressures with calls coming in from coaches telling him they could offer him now telling him they couldn't take him before but now they could. I said 'I really, really like Coach Kelly and I really like Coach (Tim) Hinton and Coach (Ed) Warinner as well. But those were not or only reasons for picking Notre Dame."

The end-season staff developments impacted Celia nonetheless.

"I felt a little funny when they left because they were the only two people we really talked to a lot from Notre Dame," she offered. "But Division I football, a lot of coaches will be coming and going I would imagine. That's not the reasons we chose Notre Dame and I do like Coach Kelly a lot."

Tough Love = Tougher Son

During the course of this past season many screen shots were featured on the internet and television with Kelly visibly upset at his players. As a parent who is preparing to send her only child to play for Kelly, were there any second thoughts in the wake of those images?

"No I think that is why I like him," Celia said with a chuckle. "I think for me, personally, and for William, with there never being a man in the home, I kind of think William needs to be toughened up a little bit. I asked him what he was going to do when Coach Kelly gets in his face. He just laughed, and I said I can't wait.

"William needs a little bit of that," she continued. "I like it and that's one of the reasons why I like (Kelly). Maybe other parents don't agree with it, but I don't believe in babying. They should be able to take it if they are not doing the job, or doing what he asked you to do. I have no problem with him in that way. What more could you ask for? You are either going to do what he asks of you to do or you're not.

"I'm pretty much that way with William," she added. "Not that I'm screaming and yelling at him, but sports are different. Even when I'm watching a game I'm different and yelling and I do that with William after a game. I'm not a parent who thinks no matter what my child does he's perfect because he's not. So I like the personality I see and we've met a number of times. I believe he's a father and a caring man, but at the end of the day he's got to win games."

Saying Goodbye

Some parents count down the days before becoming an "empty-nester" while others fear their child leaving home for the first time. For Celia the day William leaves for Notre Dame this summer will allow her some time for relaxation.

"I really don't think it's going to be hard," she said. "I have to tell you, I've devoted eighteen years to raising him. And when I say that, I mean in every aspect. I don't think most young people if they mess up and have a child out of wedlock fully understand what's ahead of them," she offered.

"It was very, very difficult if you're going to do it and do it right. I've not had time for myself or for anything else but William. I'm ready for a little bit of 'me time.' I'm sure I'll miss him more than I think, but I think I'm going to be okay.

"It's not like I'm sending him into the wolves or anything, I think Notre Dame will take good care of him."

Note: We'd like to thank Celia Mahone for her time and thoughts on her son William, the first running back pledge to Notre Dame's class of 2012.


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