Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 11, 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 14 of 55 SEPT. 11, 2021 15 MEMORIALIZING THE FALLEN Leadership is in honor of Curtin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Operation Desert Storm. Curtin also helped rescue a former Marine from the wreckage site of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Curtin was Coan's direct supervisor at the NYPD. "I try to teach my kids to be leaders, to make good decisions, don't be a fol- lower, stand on your own two feet, own up when you do wrong but always try to do right," Coan said. "Mike always did all of those things. He never wavered." Levity, or " humor" as Coan more conversationally calls it, comes from D'Allara. "He found humor in everything," Coan said. "In police work, especially in emer- gency service police work, you see a lot of death. You see a lot of injuries. You see a lot of bad accidents. You see a lot of the worst. You get to rescue people, which is the good of it, but you get a lot of the bad also. People jumping from build- ings, people shooting themselves — all that stuff. We have a front row seat to it because we're the ones that handle it. "John D'Allara was always able to find a punch line in something to bring levity to it. To keep it on the bright side so it didn't eat you up. I try to teach my kids to be fun and just have fun with things and try to block out the dark side and stay on the light side of things." "The humor characteristic, he defi- nitely has that," Jack added. "He always had me laughing. He still does today." Then there's Vigiano and his bravery. Dan Coan called him a "superhero." "The guy would try anything," Coan said. "He was out of his league with some of the stuff he would try to at- tempt training wise. He was a little heavy, but he'd try to go run a marathon. He was not afraid to fail. "Myself and my children, I try to teach them the same thing. Be valiant. Go out there and try something. You may not get it done, but there's nothing wrong with trying. You've got to work toward a goal." ADHERING TO VALUES The beauty in what has become Coan's calling card is his nephew, the one who starts at quarterback for one of college football's most prestigious programs, can take the values his uncle lives by and employ them every day at Notre Dame. Quarterbacks are innate leaders. It comes with the territory. "He's seen by his peers as a warrior, somebody that is on time for every workout, is there, is committed," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of Jack Coan in August. "You can count on them. He's a guy that you want lined up next to you in the foxhole, right? You can count on that guy." By Jack's own admission, humor might be the value of the three he needs to work on the most. He takes every- thing seriously. He said he gets that from his mother, Donna. But it's why he won the starting nod over sophomore Drew Pyne, and it wasn't particularly close. Jack is all business. He's been that way since he was a toddler. "Jack was the kid who always, always wanted to throw the ball," Dan said. "Baseball, lacrosse, football, basketball shooting hoops. He was always the kid like, 'C'mon, Uncle Danny,' and we'd throw the ball to see if we could get to 10, then it was 20, then 30. It always just kept going up. 'We had 30 last time, let's get to 50.' He never wanted to stop. "He was always going, going, going. The kid's work ethic and the goals that he sets, he's very private socially about his goals, but he's very hardworking. He's not a guy of a lot of words. He doesn't open up to just anyone. He sets his goals and works his butt off. When he comes home for breaks, he's speed training and strength training every day. He's got a strict diet. He's not a big social guy. He's with his family. He's not a huge out-and-about guy." There isn't much levity in a relentless work ethic. Workouts at 5 a.m. aren't funny. Sweating so much you can fill up a beach bucket isn't funny. Staying home on a Friday night instead of going out with friends probably produces less laughter. None of that is to say Jack isn't hav- ing fun with what he's doing, though. D'Allara had fun being a cop. Jack has fun being a football player. If he throws a touchdown pass in practice and makes a defensive team- mate look silly in the process, then like any athlete he's probably right there to throw a wise-guy type crack in the player's direction. Tossing touchdown passes in and of itself is fun, too. Jack won't shy away from a celebration. "At the end of the day, I'm just play- ing a football game," Jack said. "My un- cle Dan and my uncle Jim, they're out there risking their lives for this country. That's a lot more serious. If they can have fun, I can too." As for the absence of a fear of fail- ure, Jack displayed that when he took a chance on himself and transferred to Notre Dame. The NCAA transfer portal "Five more minutes and we're inside the tower. Five more minutes, and we're a picture on a wall somewhere. There was a lot of that that day." DAN COAN Because of what Dan Coan experienced during 9/11 and the aftermath at ground zero, he has empha- sized living his life with three important values: leadership, levity and an absence of the fear of failure. PHOTO COURTESY DAN COAN

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