Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DC Clark Lea Focused on Building Stronger Relationships

May 19, 2020

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea sat down with Brian Polian to provide a brief update on life during the current pandemic. 

Lea, who has three children, admitted he was enjoying the time around his family, but it was clear he also wants to get back to the football grind. 

"We're making the most of this and just like everyone - trying to find the silver lining and spending more quality time as a family," said Lea. "Communicating via Zoom and FaceTime with the players and staff." 

With his defense spread out across the country and only one spring practice, Lea has made sure to stay in close contact. 

Lea has used all platforms of communication to make sure his defense is staying on course as Notre Dame plans to play in 2020.

"Doing a lot of FaceTiming and opened up group texts with each unit, so they have a direct line with me," stated Lea. "We've started to hold these football engagements and Zoom meetings with each group that I'll drop in on. More than anything, I want the guys to feel a connection and anchored back to campus a little bit. 

"I want them to feel they are supported still. We're all dealing with this as kind of uncharted water." 

Over his time at Notre Dame, Lea has become known for his development and relationship-building.

It's not a surprise that Lea has turned to building stronger relationships over anything else during a pandemic, where his defense is off-campus. 

"I think a lot of it comes down to why do you coach and why do you get into this," Lea said. "What do you want to get out of it long-term? 

"The relationship part of it is the only thing that's lasting, so we're responsible for moving people forward in what is really a transitional and transformational four years. Though it's easy to measure season by season or week by week performance, it's healthier to look at it over the course of a player's lifetime. You see the impact or seeds that are planted when they're with you. How those grow and flourish when they're away from you." 

In turn, those relationships Lea builds turn into culture, something Notre Dame takes a ton of pride in outside of football. 

"The sense of community is what Notre Dame is about and you feel that every day in every interaction you have," said Lea. "I think it manifests itself through our program, but it's kind of how this school is wired." 

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