John Heisler | March 27, 2017
The University of Notre Dame has played a dozen football home games over the last two seasons combined, and those Saturdays might have been the most painful 12 days Jeff Jeffers ever had to endure.
The pain had nothing to do with the health issues that during that time prevented the former WNDU-TV sports director and anchor from covering the Irish.
It came simply from the idea that Notre Dame was playing a football game just a few miles north of where Jeffers and his wife Leslie and their family lived on the southern edge of South Bend--and Jeff couldn't be there to watch.
Not that he didn't follow all of Notre Dame's sports teams, coaches and players--but he particularly loved football. Between Jeffers' long-time role as host of the half-hour weekly Irish coach's show and the fact that WNDU for so long was owned by the University, with offices and studios on the west edge of campus--it wasn't hard to understand how Jeff and Notre Dame football became joined at the hip.
Don't misunderstand--Jeffers was a pro when it came to his craft. He earned a master's degree in communications from Notre Dame in his early years in South Bend. Yet there was a passion that infused everything he did--in great part because he came to know all those individuals he covered so well.
Jeffers, who died at age 64, did not just cover Notre Dame at arm's length over the last four decades. He invested himself in the emotional cauldron of Notre Dame football on a day-to-day basis. When the Irish had a good day, it was a good day for Jeff. When things didn't go so well on the field, it almost seemed to pain Jeff as much as it did Dan Devine, Gerry Faust, Lou Holtz or anyone else on the long list of Notre Dame athletics personnel with whom he rubbed elbows.