Digger Phelps has met many important people in his lifetime. From his twenty year stint as the Notre Dame Head Men's Basketball Coach to his twenty year broadcasting career at ESPN (with experience in President George H.W. Bush's White House Administration in between), Phelps has crossed paths with a variety of people. One figure he shared a particularly special bond with was former Notre Dame University president Father Theodore Hesburgh.
Hesburgh, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 97, held that title at Notre Dame from 1952-1987. In that span his accomplishments included influence in the Civil Rights Movement, charitable work, and the significant growth of Notre Dame as an academic institution as well as an athletic powerhouse. It would be Father Ted's 100th birthday on Thursday, May 25.
In Phelps' book, Father Ted Hesburgh: He Coached Me, he sheds light on the personal life of Father Ted, from the basketball locker room in the 1970s to the final days of his life and everything in between. The book will be released in June. Phelps is using proceeds from the book to set up a scholarship in Ted Hesburgh's name for Notre Dame students in need of additional financial aid.
My interview with Digger Phelps can be heard below.
0:00-3:08 Intro and the process of writing the book
3:08-5:08 What Digger learned about Father Ted at Notre Dame
5:08-7:19 Father Ted's style of leadership
7:19-9:07 What Digger wants people to learn about Father Ted & how his 100th birthday is being celebrated