History Through the Headsets

It didn’t take long for Notre Dame senior defensive signal-callers Reed Gregory (No. 50) and John Mahoney (No. 25) to get to yes when then-defensive backs coach Terry Joseph asked if they wanted to write about what most likely will remain the most unique time period in the school’s football history.

John Mahoney

The two, both members of the class of 2021, were on the sidelines signaling during practice recalls Maloney when they looked at each and asked, “do we really want to do this?”

They did indeed. After spending spring and summer writing, their book History Through the Headsets: Inside Notre Dame’s Playoff Run During the Craziest Season in College Football History (Triumph Books $26.95) has just been released during what is a much saner season.

Reed Gregory

            Neither was an English major—Mahoney, who majored in finance and minored in history and now works as a management consultant in Minneapolis and Gregory, an economics major with minors in Russian and digital marketing who now works in wealth management in New York City. Still they knew what to do.

            “Once we spoke to each other and decided that’s what we wanted to do, we went to the bookstore and looked through every sports book for the name of the publisher and then contacted everyone we could,” says Gregory. They chose Triumph Books, a Chicago publishing house.

            Next came the writing part. That was easier than they thought as well.

“We wrote a lot of it in first person and a lot of it was recounting the personal memories we have,” says Gregory while Mahoney notes that as defensive signalers they had the inside story on every snap. Plus, they added their owner firsthand experiences about being on a football team during the pandemic. Both mention working out while wearing masks while attempting to keep the correct social distancing. There was also the experience of playing against Boston College where the empty stands were filled with paper cutouts of people.

“More than anything we hope the book is a memento of the time—and hopefully one that will never be repeated—and what our lives were like in the daily process as a football team,” says Mahoney.

Both count the double overtime win against Clemson last November as the best moment in a season of ups and downs.

Their work is appreciated by then-Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly who in the book’s forward “This 2020 edition of Notre Dame Football was a very special group to me because of the strong character they possessed, and Reed and John are the epitome of that as much as anyone in our program.”

Trust: America’s Best Chance

Buttigieg, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and then studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, has also written his second book, the just released “Trust: America’s Best Chance “(Liveright 2020; $23.95).

Pete Buttigieg

If you’re wondering what Mayor Pete, aka Pete Buttigieg the former two term mayor of South Bend, Indiana has been doing since he dropped his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in May, the answer is a lot. Since then, Buttigieg has accepted a position as a Faculty Fellow for the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Studies (NDIAS) and launched “Win the Era,” a political action committee aimed at electing a new generation of leaders who bring new ideas and generational vision to down-ballot races.

“We are calling out to a new generation,” he says.

Buttigieg, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and then studied politics, philosophy, and economics at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, has also written his second book, the just released “Trust: America’s Best Chance “(Liveright 2020; $23.95).

“I believe our country faces a three-fold crisis in trust,” says Buttigieg, listing those as the lack of trust in America’s institutions and in each other as well as trust in America around the world. His belief in the need for a global renewal in trust ties in with his work at NDAIS. Besides teaching an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on the importance of trust as understood through different fields, he is working on two research projects–exploring how to restore trust in political institutions and another focusing on the forces distinctively shaping the 2020s.

The book is another way of starting a conversation about trust and how we can, as he says, “move on from this pandemic, to deliver racial and economic justice, and how trust can be earned and how it can  restore America’s leadership role in this world.”

Buttigieg believes that America offers a type of leadership that the world needs.

“Not just any kind of American leadership,” he says. “But America at its best.”

This previous was published in The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Indiana Landmarks Rescued and Restored

“These places are all about the people who made them,” says Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks,“and the people who worked at saving them.”

The Restored Fowler Theatre


Once a glorious example of Streamline-Moderne architecture and one of only five theaters in the U.S. to premiere “Gone with the Wind,” in 2001 the future of the 81-year-old Fowler Theatre was bleak. No longer open, its owner planned to sell anything architecturally significant including the original marquee.  To prevent this, the non-profit Preservation Guild was formed to save the theater, purchasing the theater for $30,000 and obtained a $2000 grant and a $60,000 line of credit from Indiana Historic Landmarks Foundation.

The Fowler Theatre before restoration.

Today, the Fowler Theatre is a marvel, one of many buildings throughout the state that dedicated citizens and the Foundation have worked together in order to preserve Indiana’s heritage and also benefit communities. In the case of the Fowler Theatre, it was a way to keep low cost entertainment available and to help revitalize the downtown.

Vurpillatt’s Opera House in Winamac Restored

The theatre is one of 50 success stories highlighted in the recently released Indiana “Landmarks Rescued & Restored,” a lovely coffee table book with before and after photos showcasing what historic preservation can accomplish.

Vurpillatt’s Opera House in Winamac

“I want the book to be an acknowledgement of the wonderful people and partnerships that have made Landmarks as effective as it is,” says Indiana Landmarks’ President, Marsh Davis who wrote the forward to the book. “When we take the approach of working together, then we become part of the solution.”

DeRhodes House West Washington Historic District South Bend Restored

One of Landmarks most well-known projects was the restoration of two grand early 20th century resorts, French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs in Orange County. Returning them to their glory has made the entire area boom economically by bringing in an influx of tourism, creating local jobs and improving property values and instilling a sense of pride and vitality.

DeRhodes House West Washington Historic District South Bend

Landmarks, largest statewide preservation group in the country, saves, restores, and protects places of architectural and historical significance, including barns, historic neighborhoods such as Lockerbie Square in Indianapolis, churches and other sacred places, schools, bridges and even the Michigan City Lighthouse Catwalk.

Old Republic in New Carlisle Restored

Rescued and Restored also highlights other successes in Northern Indiana including partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Park Service in the restoration of the House of Tomorrow in the Indiana Dunes National Park, considered one of the most innovative and influential houses in modern architectural design.

Old Republic Before Restoration

The book, edited by Tina Connor, who worked at Landmarks for 42 years, retiring from her position as the non-profit’s executive vice president in 2018, 144 pages with more than 200 color photos. Hon. Randall T. Shepard, honorary chairman and long-time director of Indiana Landmarks, wrote the book’s foreward.

Statewide, Marsh says that he feels privileged knowing that Landmarks worked with the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation to save Lyles Station Community School. Now a museum and the last surviving building of what was a successful African-American farming community founded by former slaves in 1849.

“These places are all about the people who made them,” says Davis, “and the people who worked at saving them.”

For more information, visit indianalandmarks.org

As published in The Times of Northwest Indiana

Pete Buttigieg: Shortest Way Home

              In January 2011, Newsweek magazine published an article titled “America’s Dying Cities” focusing on 10 cities with the steepest drop in overall population as well as the largest decline in the number of residents under the age of 18. Among those listed such as Detroit and Flint, was South Bend, Indiana which over the years had lost or seen diminished several large manufacturing companies including Studebaker and an exodus of young talent.

              “What is particularly troubling for this small city is that the number of young people declined by 2.5% during the previous decade,” the article posited, “casting further doubt on whether this city will ever be able to recover.”

              Around that same time, Pete Buttigieg, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and had worked for the management strategy consulting firm McKinsey and Company—the type of resume that screams New York, Los Angeles or London, but certainly not his native South Bend—moved back to the city where he grew up and threw his hat into the ring as a Democratic mayoral candidate. He was 29 years old.

Buttigieg won his election. During his first term, as an officer in U.S. Navy Reserve from 2009-2017, he took a leave of absence to serve for a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan in 2014, receiving the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counter terrorism work. Back home, he won re-election with 80% of the vote despite having come out as gay just four months earlier. Let me repeat that—a gay man was re-elected in Indiana with 80% of the vote.

              “I’ve found people are really accepting,” Buttigieg tells me when we finally connect on the phone—since we set up a time to talk it’s been changed numerous times because he’s been very busy since announcing he was going to run for president. He’s appeared on “The View,” “CBS This Morning,” and “CNN” and has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, the New Yorker and the New York Times to name just a few. Plus, his father, a Notre Dame professor, had passed away.

              The citizens of South Bend also like results and this city, which Newsweek had doubted could come back just eight years ago, is doing just that.

              Buttigieg, who is only 37, shares both his story and the story of South Bend as well as his views for creating a bright future for our country in his new book, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future (Liveright 2019; $27.95).

              I live near South Bend, my brother taught at Notre Dame University for 30 years, my son went to Holy Cross College and I’m a big football fan so I’m there a lot. Over the years I’ve watched the city’s downtown empty out, morphing into a place of empty storefronts as retail and restaurants left either for good or for the area around University Mall, a large sprawling indoor shopping center surrounded by smaller strip malls, car dealerships and both chain and independent restaurants.

              Then came such Buttigieg initiatives as “1000 Homes in 1000 Days initiative,” which demolished or rehabilitated abandoned homes in the city. His “Smart Streets” redefined the downtown, making it both safer and more appealing. Two years ago, the city made the largest investment ever—over $50 million– in its parks and trails, creating the green spaces so valued by urban dwellers. 

              “There’s been an evolution in economic redevelopment,” Buttigieg tells me. “It’s not about smoke-stack chasing anymore. The coin of the realm is the work force—the people. A city is made of people and it needs to be fun and a place you want to live. We didn’t have those expectations before.”

              Buttigieg talks of “urban patriots,” a term he uses to describe groups of people who savor the challenge of turning a rust belt city around and making it a “cool” city.

              “It’s a type of militancy in how people are approaching it which is quite different than when people were leaving cities,” he says. “I grew up believing success had to do with leaving home, but once I got out, I missed that sense of place and I realized I could be part of my city’s economic re-development. So, I moved home. At a moment when we’re being told that the Rust Belt is full of resentment, I think South Bend is a reply, we’ve found a way of coming together, getting funding to make our city better. There’s a sense of optimism. I think people are beginning to look at politics and politicians and asking do they make life better or not and what do they bring to the table to help everyone.”

              Here’s what South Bend is like now. You can go white water rafting through the center of town. Vibrant neighborhoods consisting of coffee shops, eclectic boutiques, trendy restaurants and outdoor gathering places thrive in the downtown. Last fall, Garth Brooks performed outdoors in Notre Dame’s football stadium (its $400 million expansion which added several thousand premium seats as well as new academic buildings was completed just two years ago) in front of a sold-out crowd of 84,000 on a very cold and rainy October night. SF Motors started manufacturing at the old Hummer plant, producing electric cars. Walking trails, including one along the St. Joseph River, abound.  Eddy Street Commons located across from the Notre Dame campus continues to expand, a destination of bars, shops and eateries as well as condos and apartment buildings. Old neighborhoods with homes that once had sagging porches and peeling paint, are now pristinely restored.

              “We’re calling out to another generation,” says Buttigieg. “There’s an energy here, people are proud of their city and are working together to make it even better.”

              Indeed. The other day, I was flipping through a magazine article about the best places in Indiana and paused at a magnificent photo of a downtown scene lit with colored lights reflecting on the sparkling waters of a river. Where is this? I wondered. Looking down, I saw the answer: South Bend.

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