Notre Dame joined a growing trend in college athletics on Thursday when it endowed Brian Kelly’s head coaching position as part of a $35 million gift from alumnus Richard Corbett.
Of the gift, $10 million will go to endow the football program’s head coach, with the other $25 million to fund Corbett Hall, built on the east side of the Campus Crossroads project, situated between the Joyce Center and Notre Dame Stadium. The facility will house the departments of Anthropology and Psychology, in addition to the university’s digital media center and press box on the top floor.
Corbett Hall is scheduled for completion in August of 2017, before the start of the football season.
Notre Dame follows Stanford, Michigan, Northwestern and Vanderbilt into the race to endow head football coaching positions. Michigan received a $10 million gift last year for the similar purpose. Michigan State is soliciting a $5 million donation to endow its head coaching position to help offset escalating coaching salaries and costs.
Kelly will be titled the Corbett Family Head Coach, following Muffet McGraw (Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women's Basketball Coach) and Kevin Corrigan (Baumer Family Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach). The women’s basketball program received a $5 million donation to endow that position; lacrosse received a $3 million donation.
Corbett graduated from Notre Dame in 1960 and attended Harvard, where he earned a master’s in business. He is now the chief executive officer and president of Concorde Companies, a real estate investment firm located in Tampa, Fla.
“Dick has always been a loyal supporter to the University of Notre Dame and its global family,” said Jack Swarbrick, vice president and director of athletics, in a statement.
“Dick possesses a near-immeasurable desire for excellence in all areas – education, athletics, faith and community. This remarkably generous gift will help the University continue its commitment to provide its students with the finest college experience.”
Notre Dame hopes to not only endow other head coaching positions, but also assistant coaching posts and individual scholarships for student-athletes, following the Stanford model. The Cardinal has not only endowed its head coaching position, but both coordinators as well. Beyond football, Stanford has endowed the head coaching positions of 12 other sports.
Kelly and Corbett met last month, sharing their experiences at not only Notre Dame but in politics. Between Notre Dame and Harvard, Corbett worked on the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign and then in the White House. He was also business manager for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1968 and served on the national finance committee for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.
“I’m honored and quite humbled to be a part of this incredible gift from Dick,” Kelly said in a statement. “He has offered the University of Notre Dame and its football program an incredible gesture that will help so many people on this campus. His generosity, vision and unyielding support reinforce our University’s commitment to provide all of its students with a truly unique and exceptional college experience. This further fosters Notre Dame’s commitment to excellence in all areas.”