Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2023

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

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM AUGUST 2023 19 BY JACK SOBLE P ete Bevacqua is a film buff; you can't beat him at movie trivia. He named his dogs — he's an animal lover as well — after Godfather characters, Fredo and Moe Greene. His shoe game, NBC chief marketing officer Jenny Storms said, is second to none. He has an out-of-nowhere connection to pro- fessional wrestling: his uncle was former WWE wrestler "Captain" Lou Albano. Bevacqua, now the former chairman of NBC Sports Group, has several passions outside of work. None are more important to him than the University of Notre Dame. Want proof? Just look inside his office. "I know people who go to schools, and they have an affinity toward the school, but nothing like Pete," NBC Sports Group senior vice president of strategic initia- tives and head of diversity and inclusion Damon Phillips said. "Notre Dame had a profound impact on his life. That school just has such a special place in his heart. It's part of his DNA." "Being a Michigan guy, sharing a wall with him in the next office, we had our battles," Olympics and business presi- dent Gary Zenkel said. "They were all good, healthy, friendly ones. I think Notre Dame is incredibly lucky to have Pete." The Notre Dame memorabilia even spilled into the entry area of where NBC Sports' leadership team worked. Every- thing in his office itself was either Bev- acqua's family, or it was blue and gold. That's why no one at NBC is surprised Bevacqua took the Notre Dame director of athletics job, where he will replace longtime AD Jack Swarbrick. Mark Lazarus, who hired Bevacqua at NBC Sports and tabbed him to be his successor (he is now the chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Stream- ing), said Bevacqua told him that this was his dream job. Seeing him leave NBC was bittersweet, because of what he meant to the company and because of what his new job meant to him. "We will miss him, personally and professionally, but we couldn't be more thrilled that one of our dear friends gets to live out a dream," Lazarus said. MEETING BEVACQUA Storms remembers the first time she met Bevacqua, about a year before he joined NBC Sports. Bevacqua, the CEO of the PGA of America at the time, was doing a speaking engagement in the Stanford area. When she heard Bevac- qua speak, she was blown away. "Just his transparency, and his ability to say that he had gone through things in life and how they made him such a better person, and really made him who Bevacqua, a 1993 Notre Dame graduate, returns to his alma mater to lead the athletics department after previ- ously serving as chairman of NBC Sports Group. He will initially serve as a special assistant to the president for athletics before taking over as AD in the first quarter of 2024. PHOTO COURTESY NBC SPORTS THE RIGHT STUFF Pete Bevacqua leaves leadership post at NBC Sports Group for his dream job as Notre Dame's director of athletics

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