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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Chad Bowden | In Focus | They Said It

May 23, 2022
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Ask somebody who knows him well if they’re willing to talk about Chad Bowden and the response tends to come back quickly and usually in some form of “I’d love to.”

We heard plenty from Bowden and others throughout our recent series examining Notre Dame’s Director of Recruiting, but even multiple, lengthy feature stories didn’t provide enough space to include everything.

Most of these quotes can be heard in our Podcast Special on Bowden, but here’s the rest in print.

BOWDEN AS A FRIEND

“He's one of those guys that if you had your back against the wall and you could only call one friend, who would you call? You'd call Chad. I think recruits gravitate towards that idea. Getting to know him through this relationship or building over the phone, coming to campus, et cetera, because there's no BS here. I think you're getting pitched all day long, but some guys are genuine and you can tell they're sort of salt of the earth kind of people. He's always been that. I feel like I always have my radar up in terms of who may be pitching BS and who may be real.”
-Jac Collinsworth
 


BOWDEN’S SUCCESS IN RECRUITING

“He’s the glue, bro. He’s the glue because he can relate to the kids. You’ve got a lot of places where there are a lot of old guys on the staff, so they can’t relate to the kids. Chad can relate to the kids. He has a rapport because he’s young. He’s into what the kids are into.”

“A kid wants to be around someone who is into what they’re into. At some other schools, they don’t even have a clue.”

“He’s got that energy, that vibe. He can relate to the kids. I thought that was big. I think that’s big, especially if you’re sending your kid away from home, you want somebody he can relate to. We’re in Texas. My son will be in Indiana, so he needs people yjay he can relate to that’s going make him feel comfortable and Chad makes these kids from comfortable.”

“There’s just a different vibe around the kids when he’s around the kids. He has a touch. He’s a major key in everything that’s going on, along with Coach Freeman because they’re young. It’s a young staff. Coach Freeman, they’re going to have success there because they’re young.”
-Glynn James

“He's just not going to be outworked. I think you see that in Marcus and you see that in Chad. I think it's why those two have bonded because they share a lot of those same ideas. 'We may lose this recruit or that recruit, but it's never going to be because we weren't going to outwork them.' So you see that with Freeman trying to be the face of all these recruits. You see that with Chad flying and driving all over the country. Every time I'm hanging out with him, he's not 10 seconds before he is on the phone with another recruit. We're having a conversation in between his conversations with recruits for the most part. I think that's a large part of it.
-Jac Collinsworth


BOWDEN PROVING HE’S REAL

“My daughter's walking through recruiting now, and we've been on visits this week and various things. A coach actually asked her on the phone tonight, what's something in recruiting, because they know she's gone through this with her brother. It was really funny because Emma brought that up (figuring out who’s real & who’s fake).

“She said, my mom says, 'Eventually when you talk to people enough or you're around them enough, the ugly boogers tend to rear their head, right?' You'll see things kind of crop up.

“He just doesn't know how to be anybody but who he is…That was one thing I said about Harry Hiestand as well in that whole thing. I don't think that guy gives a rip enough to tell you a lie. You know what I'm saying? He doesn't have to because he's been everywhere, done everything, came out of retirement to do this.

“I think Coach Freeman has surrounded himself with people who have that mindset and I think Chad's one of those guys who's like, 'This is who I am. I'm going to be here. This is what I do. This is what I believe. Here are the things that you need to know about Notre Dame. Here are the things you need to know about us in football, us as academics. This is what we are.' The bottom line for me was, 'If this isn't the right fit for you, go find your right fit. I mean, I'm going to be upset because I want you to come here, but you need to do what's best for you.' You do not hear people say that.

“When you ask me about the level of integrity, that's pretty cool.”
-April Pendleton

“Chad had the ability to stop a bus. My daughter loved buses. When she was four years old, he had the ability to stop a bus in our neighborhood, convince the bus driver to drive my daughter and him around the block while he sat in the front seat of the block, so she could ride the bus for the first time. We get home and he's like, 'Hey, me and Carmen hopped on the bus.' And my wife was like, 'Chad, you did what? You're a lunatic.'

“My daughter loves seeing Chad because he just wouldn't let her stop playing with him; from throwing the ball to jumping around the trampoline. She thinks Uncle Chad is Uncle Chad like the fun, crazy uncle that you see on movies that you're like, 'Man, we want that guy around all the time.' When he is around my kids, you can just tell he's a kid at heart. Everybody just loves him, so naturally, what I think the recruiting trail has done is that every parent is going to say, 'I want my kid to go to Notre Dame because of the genuine relationships that Chad is building with people.'
-Evan Dreyer

“It was really interesting. My dad actually passed away on Easter Monday. That was a week, I think, prior to Sam committing. It was interesting who reached out to me because they needed something from me. There were coaches who messaged me because they were panicking.

And me responding with, 'I'm just not going to be of service to you right now. I'm not gonna be available to you right now. I can't. This is not something that's going to take precedence for me.' And that was just our family, what we just decided. It was OK for us to be still in that time. The ones who respected that and then the ones that reached out to me. I heard from Chad, Hiestand and Coach Freeman, when they found out my father had passed in a very, 'Hey, we are here for you if you need us...yada, yada, yada.' There were some coaches who actually reached out from other schools and said, 'We really need to talk to you.’ Like the day after I said, ‘I can't really speak with you guys.' That's when you start seeing truth, right? You start seeing what people are made of and what they're gonna bring to the table.

“I have listened to Sam's conversations since then, even. Chad, didn't just shut it off because Sam decided to commit there. He's still engaging. They're still having conversations. They're in group chats with other recruits, commitments, that kind of thing. You get a sense about someone. He's a character. He's a character and he's a lot of fun, but I think at the end of the day, he doesn't pretend to be somebody that he's not.”
-April Pendleton


WHAT’S IN STORE FOR ND & BOWDEN

“They really are great people. They're going to recruit to Notre Dame, who has one of the best academic and athletic institutions in the country. They are put in a spot where they're going to put their best effort to go against the Notre Dame, the USCs. Only thing against them is Name, Image, and Likeness. If USC is really gonna pay $3 million for a receiver, I just don't see Marcus and Chad saying, 'Well, we're gonna pay one player that. We want a great team, the team chemistry's not going to get give ruined by that.'.

“I look forward to seeing Chad recruiting the number one recruiting class, Marcus is going to take care of the team and it's going to be a perfect gel as the number one recruiting class finishes for '23 and how many guys they get to recruit for '24 already and who's going to jump on the bandwagon.

“I truly believe that's the part where he has the best academic institution, he has the finest college rich football program in the nation to build with. How many people didn't grow up watching Notre Dame game on a Saturday afternoon believing they all wanted to wear the Golden Helmet. I think Chad's using that rich history plus the new genuine relationships and what parent wouldn't want a Harvard-like education right there with their son playing for a national championship.”
-Evan Dreyer

“He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy for that program. He’s a great guy for that position he has.”

“They are going to succeed. I promise you that. This is just the start of it. I see the energy, I see the vibe. The kids want to come there.”

“There’s no doubt about it.”

“Look at this class right now and all the kids, all the young black kids who are interested in coming to Notre Dame, that have Notre Dame in their Top 4, Top 5.”

“Chad’s the glue to all of this.”
-Glynn James

“I think the future with him, if he wants to get back on the field, he'll become a head coach in the future if he wants to do that or he'll be an NFL and the Director of Scouting or the Director of Player Personnel. I think Chad has to decide what he wants to do in the future. His ability to recruit and know the game of football will take him to where he wants to go in the next five to 10 years.

“I'm 37, Chad's in his mid-20s. I'm going to want to work for Chad because of the energy he's going to have and I think the roles are going to be reversed. That is going to come in my career at some point where I'm going to work with him because what he has done is going to get him somewhere. I hope one day Chad gives me the opportunity to coach college football and to see it from his point of view because it's fun building fundamentals in high school, but it's also one of those things where to work for a guy that you truly think can make it and you believe in him from day one, that's the part where I don't think a lot of people have ever had that in their career seeing their player become a guy that you want to work with at some point in their career because you believe in them so much.”
-Evan Dreyer

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