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Notre Dame Baseball

Notre Dame the Dream Job for Shawn Stiffler

July 15, 2022

Notre Dame baseball looks quite a bit different than in July of 2019 when Link Jarrett was introduced as the head coach. 

The Fighting Irish are fresh off a trip to the College World Series and back-to-back Super Regionals. 

Jarrett conducted his introductory press conference in the film room inside Rolfs Athletics Hall before a small gathering of local media. 

New baseball coach Shawn Stiffler was front and center in the Schivarelli Lounge inside Notre Dame Stadium with current and former players, staffers from several sports, including Marcus Freeman and Anthony Solomon, who both have regularly gone out of their way to show support to other athletic programs. 

Stiffler didn't want any bright lights on him on Thursday afternoon and made it clear he was there for his players.

"This program belongs to the players," Stiffler said. "It does not belong to me. It belongs to the players in the program currently and it belongs to those who came before. I will never be the centerpiece of this program or the most important part. In fact, I hope after today, it's the last time that I am the focus of the program." 

The Western PA native also is at Notre Dame because it was his dream. 

Stiffler grew up watching Notre Dame football, which includes current associate athletics director Ron Powlus, and accepting the job didn't require much thought despite his comfort at VCU. 

"I grew up a Roman Catholic," explained Stiffler. "I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, where you watched Notre Dame football on Saturday and you went to church on Sunday. I still remember Ron Powlus running around. 

"We were very, very happy in Richmond, Virginia. There are very few jobs that I think I would have left for, but when the caller ID said South Bend, the hair on the back of my head stood up. This is a place that I've always dreamed about and a place that's always been in the front of my thoughts. This is something different for me." 

Did Stiffler wake up every day with the goal of ending up at Notre Dame? Probably not. Yet, he didn't hide the fact it crossed his mind time to time after seeing what the program had accomplished over the last two seasons. 

"You always allow your mind to go there. You also allow your mind to go, 'Boy, they're doing a really good job and it's going to be hard to follow.'

"As far as seeing myself, again, this is one of those programs I just always felt like I would personally fit at if I had the opportunity and I'd really pursue it. You're so busy coaching your own team and you're talking about coming out of COVID. I think we were all trying to survive at that point. Keep your team together and moving forward." 

Stiffler might not want to live under the spotlight, but he will and it started on Thursday as former second baseman Jared Miller, Zack Prajzner, Carter Putz, Aidan Tyrell, Brook Coetzee III and Will Mercer sat behind him. 

And even his daughter recognized the bright lights. 

"To have my family walk into that stadium and touch Play Like A Champion - that's something I'm not sure I could have ever dreamed that.

"My name was up on the jumbotron in the football stadium and she says, 'the pressure is on now.' I said, 'yes, they know we're in town.'" 

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