"My mom, she loves telling the story," Dan Fox said with a laugh. "He came over from Ireland. He went to Chicago first to try and find work. He couldn't find any work, and someone told him they hire the Irish at Notre Dame. Go to Notre Dame, and you'll get a job there. He did, and it was his first job. He worked there for two years from 1932 to 1934."
Fox isn't sure what line of work his grandfather did at Notre Dame, but the linebacker from Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius High knows this. That Notre Dame will help pave the way for his future as well.
On Notre Dame's campus Thursday morning, the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Fox committed to head coach Charlie Weis with his parents and older brother by his side.
"I really wanted to commit to coach Weis in person," Fox stated.
As the recruiting process continued to roll, Fox saw his offer list grow to 18 when Weis offered him a scholarship on May 19th.
"It was pretty much the offer I was waiting for," Fox said. "I considered a lot of schools. It was tough for me to say no to, specifically to Virginia and Michigan State just because I developed a bond with those coaches there. They helped me throughout the recruiting process with everything, and I took visits and I liked it.
"But its Notre Dame," Fox continued. "It's a catholic school. My parents like it a lot. My grandfather worked there. They have great football, and even more important to me, they have better academics with the best fans in the nation, so I figured it's the best place to play."
Fox also held offers from the likes of Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Stanford.
Last week, Fox called his recruiting coach Brian Polian, and told him he wanted to come in and visit again on Thursday. Last season, Fox attended the Duke game on an unofficial, the Boston College game with his girlfriend, and the Irish's February junior day.
"I told coach Polian I might have some news," Fox said.
"We got there and I talked to coach (Corwin) Brown, coach (Rob) Ianello and coach (Jon) Tenuta. Then we went into coach Weis's office. He was talking about the season and everything and the family. Then he asked me what's up with you? I told him I weighed my options with all the schools, and none can stack up to Notre Dame, so I'm going to commit to play football at Notre Dame.
"He was just really happy. He was like congrats. He said you were teetering on my board of committing soon and waiting a little bit. I'm glad you committed now, and it's great that you can now focus on your senior season and hopefully win a state championship, which I'm psyched about. He was very happy to have me."
The Irish staff will have Fox lineup as an outside linebacker. This past season, Fox had 42 solos, 19 assists and three interceptions, with one of those going for an 80-yard pick six against Glenville in the state playoffs.
The easy part of the recruiting process was giving Weis his verbal pledge. The hard part for Fox was calling the other programs that offered him a scholarship to tell them where he was headed.
"I called all the colleges because I wanted to talk to them personally," Fox explained. "They were nice enough to give me an offer, so I figured they should hear it from me.
"Some were real positive, some a little negative, and some said I'd go to Notre Dame too."
"I might visit again in the summer, just when the guys are back," Fox said. "Check out the workouts and hang out with Johnny and Rob. I'm going to take my official visit after my football season, just so I can get a bunch of guys in my class to do it at the same time and it will be fun."
After committing to Weis, Fox took another tour of the campus.
"We met with some academic advisors at the business college," Fox said. "Then of course, I went to the bookstore and got all my Notre Dame gear. Also, I took a pit stop at the Grotto and saw the Basilica, and I prayed in there. I'm a pretty religious person."
On Thursday, all of Fox's prayers were answered.