Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where Are They Now? Ryan Leahy

Photo: Jonathan Daniel
With a grandfather and father who both played on national championship team at Notre Dame, Ryan Leahy probably didn’t need much of a nudge when it came to beginning his own career as an offensive lineman at Notre Dame. His grandfather is Irish playing and coaching legend Frank Leahy, who played for Knute Rockne, and his father, James Leahy, who played on the 1966 national championship team. Frank Leahy won four national championships at Notre Dame and had six unbeaten seasons. Ryan Leahy arrived in South Bend from Washington’s Yakima River Valley eager to carve his own slice on the family tree. Brother Pat Leahy was already playing baseball at Notre Dame, so the brothers were at South Bend together. Ryan Leahy was twice elected co-captain of the Notre Dame football team (1994 and 1995) and he also received the Edward "Moose" Krause Lineman of the Year Award, which is named after the Notre Dame legend and one of his grandfather close friends. After a brief career in the NFL, Leahy now lives in the Chicago area with his wife and two daughters.

Q: Being a grandson of Notre Dame legend Frank Leahy, was there ever a point that you thought you’d go to school anywhere else?

A: "I did take three other visits (Washington, Oregon UCLA).Notre Dame was my first visit and to me I really felt at home there. Even though I am a grandson of Frank Leahy, growing up in Washington State I felt pretty removed from Notre Dame. My older brother Pat was there when I was in high school. He played for the baseball team, and while he was there my parents flew me up for a two-week visit, which gave me a good impression of what Notre Dame had to offer. Frank Jacobs and Irv Smith played baseball with my brother but were also members of the football team, and they helped recruit me. On my official visit to ND, I took my host (Bernard Manly) to a baseball get-together and introduced him to the guys that I knew on the baseball team.  I never felt any pressure from my family."

"Washington was my second choice, but Notre Dame was so far in the lead it was not even close. USC did call me a few times and sent some recruiting letters. After I received the first couple recruiting letters, I got a call from one of the USC coaches. His first question was to inquire if I was related to Coach Leahy, and after I said yes, that was the last call I got from USC. Notre Dame was not just like family to me, it was the best place for Ryan Leahy."



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