John Heisler | April 5, 2017
University of Notre Dame senior associate athletics director Tom Nevala remembers late October 1992 like it was yesterday.
The Irish had just joined the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and their opening conference series that season came against defending NCAA champion Lake Superior State, an opponent that had not faced Notre Dame in 10 years.
The head coach of the Lakers was Jeff Jackson.
Lake Superior State won both games at the Joyce Center that weekend. In fact, over a four-year stretch Jackson’s Lakers defeated the Irish in 11 of 13 meetings.
But that’s not the impression that stayed with Nevala.
“You could just tell he ran a very tight ship,” says Notre Dame’s longtime hockey administrator.
“His players--in terms of their appearance, how they handled themselves, how they played the game—it was all a recipe for success.
“If it was a recipe for success there it was a recipe for success here.
“You could see a Notre Dame team looking the same way they did.”
Nevala did not forget.
A dozen seasons after Jackson first came to South Bend, former Irish great Dave Poulin resigned on April 15, 2005, after 10 seasons as Notre Dame’s head coach.