Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick will step down from his role in 2024, the university announced Thursday, with NBC Sports Group chairman and Notre Dame alumnus Pete Bevacqua giving the athletic department a new boss for the first time since 2008. The transition will be finalized “sometime in the first quarter” of next year.
Bevacqua, a 1993 graduate, will join the athletic department in July as as a special assistant for athletics to Jenkins and mentor under Swarbrick in that role until the transition is complete.
“This is an unbelievable honor for me and a dream come true. With the exception of my family, nothing means more to me than the University of Notre Dame,” Bevacqua said in a statement. “As a Notre Dame alum, I have a keen understanding and deep appreciation of the lifetime, transformational benefit our student-athletes receive in a Notre Dame education, one that is unique and unlike any other institution in the world.
“I am so grateful to [Notre Dame president Reverend John Jenkins], the Board of Trustees and, of course, Jack Swarbrick,” Bevacqua continued. “Jack has become a true friend over the course of the past several years and I am looking forward to working alongside him and learning as much as I can from the person I admire and respect the most in college athletics.”
Swarbrick, 69, will leave a position he has held for 15 years. His tenure as Notre Dame athletic director included the hiring of former football coach Brian Kelly, who guided the Fighting Irish to a BCS National Championship appearance during the 2012 college football season, and later to a pair of College Football Playoff appearances during the 2018 and 2020 seasons. Kelly left to become LSU’s coach in late 2021.
Additionally, Swarbrick played a key role in upcoming expansion of the College Football Playoff, which will grow from four to 12 teams beginning with the 2024 season. Swarbrick has been part of the CFP’s management committee, along with the commissioners from the 10 FBS conferences.
“It speaks volumes about Notre Dame and Father Jenkins’ leadership that we can implement such a well-conceived succession plan and attract someone of Pete’s talent and experience,” Swarbrick said. “I have worked closely with Pete throughout his time at NBC and based on that experience, I believe he has the perfect skill set to help Notre Dame navigate the rapidly changing landscape that is college athletics today, and be an important national leader as we look to the future. I look forward to helping Notre Dame’s student-athletes and coaches achieve their goals in the months ahead while also helping Pete prepare for his tenure as athletics director.”
The Notre Dame AD change will mark the latest adjustment to committee after a slew of recent changes in the lineup of FBS commissioners. Bob Bowlsby stepped down as Big 12 commissioner in Summer 2022, and Craig Thompson followed suit in stepping down as Mountain West commissioner at the end of the year. Kevin Warren additionally left his post as Big Ten commissioner earlier in 2023 to become the president and CEO of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.