Brian M. Boulac
May 8, 1941 - June 3, 2020
SOUTH BEND - Brian M. Boulac, former Notre Dame coach and administrator, died on June 3rd in his home in South Bend with his family at his side. He was born May 8, 1941 in Walla Walla, Washington to Harold L and Vesta Fae (Bartleson) Boulac.
In 1966, in Monroe, Michigan, Brian married Mary Ann (Micki) Binkle. They had four daughters: Dawn (Brian) Howard, Denise Boulac, Dyan (Chad) Harrington, all of South Bend, and Deborah (Jason Geleski) Boulac, of Montague, New Jersey, all of whom survive, along with his brother, Keith (Virginia) Boulac of Longmont, Colorado, and his sisters, Renee (Wes) Boulac-Harris, of Mill Creek, Washington and Denise (Barb Klein) Boulac of Oakville, Washington, and grandchildren, Cate and Jack Harrington of South Bend and Tessa Boulac-Geleski of Montague, New Jersey.
From an early age, he was consumed with sports. He played football, basketball and baseball in high school, at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, Washington for his freshman and sophomore years, and at Olympia High in Olympia his junior and senior years, garnering all state honors in all three sports, captaining his football and basketball squads. Upon graduation in 1959 and drafted by the Red Sox, he opted to attend Notre Dame on a football scholarship. He lettered for two years before graduating in 1963. After a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals cut short by injury, he returned to Notre Dame to pursue his master’s degree in education and become a graduate assistant as freshman coach under Hugh Devore. Ara Parseghian retained him as a graduate assistant for the 1964 through 1967 seasons including the 1966 National Championship season.
Brian, who was in the ROTC program as an undergraduate, was called to active duty in 1968 in the US Army serving in Medical Service Corps in San Antonio, Texas. On February 1, 1970, he returned to Notre Dame to coach the offensive line under Ara for the next five seasons including the 1973 National Championship. He was retained on the staff by Dan Devine for the next five seasons including the 1977 National Championship. He remained on staff for three years under Gerry Faust. During his tenure, he coached offensive line, defensive line and special teams and also served as recruiting coordinator. He had a passion for recruiting quality athletes who were also solid students. Time magazine recognized his successful recruiting techniques in an article “Brian’s Pitch” (March 3, 1975).
In 1983, athletic director, Gene Corrigan asked Brian to move into administration as assistant athletic director for the men’s and women’s programs . It was a huge move from the football field to the fencing strip but he embraced working with multiple sports. Men’s and women’s fencing during his watch earned a combined five national championships and garnered him a position on the NCAA fencing committee and the opportunity to work the fencing venue at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. He also attended uncounted practices and matches for all sports - basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, swimming, diving, crew and hockey.
In addition to his administrative duties, athletic director, Dick Rosenthal, asked Brian to serve as the first varsity head coach for the women’s softball team. In its inaugural four-year stint (1989- 1992), he guided the Irish to four 30 win seasons which included MCC conference championships. Brian had cut his softball coaching teeth during 17 years of coaching his daughters at Chet Waggoner Little League.
In 1983, Brian became a member of the Edward W. Moose Krause Chapter of the College Football Hall of Fame assuming duties as chair of the scholarship committee in 1985, allowing him to again to evaluate the best and brightest high school football student athletes, this time at the local level, a task close to his heart.
In his final years as an administrator, he managed the Joyce Center, a position which initially seemed foreign to the long time coach but with the assistance of an experienced building man, Tom Blicher, as his right and sometimes left hand, he “managed” a team of dedicated men and women to keep the Joyce operational for a number of years.
Over the years, he also traveled the country speaking at the universal Notre Dame nights updating the faithful alumni and alumnae on the status of the university and, to the delight of attendees, Notre Dame athletics.
In addition to his athletic commitments in college, Brian spent two summers in and around Lima, Peru with the CILA program, a precursor to the Peace Corps program championed by Fr. Ted Hesburgh. His commitment to community involvement continued - serving on the DARE Mishawaka Police Department, Board of Directors, Real Services, Board of Directors, Madison Center Board of Directors and as a Life Athletes Member.
We would like to thank the caring and dedicated medical providers who have walked with us over the past year, Dr. Gongwer, Dr. V, Dr Peterson, their staffs, the infusion and wound care clinic at Memorial Hospital and, our rock, Starley. To all of his co-workers over the years and his players, the managers, the staff in the athletic department who buoyed him up when he was down, thank you. God, Country and Notre Dame. Now he is with God.
We are grieving but also celebrating a life well lived. He loved the student athletes he interacted with on a daily basis. They were all his sons and daughters. His greatest accomplishments were not on the field but in the men and women who have gone on to be professionals contributing to their communities and loving spouses and parents and members of the Notre Dame family.
There will be no services at this time. A memorial Mass and internment at Cedar Grove will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, we request that memorial contributions be made to:
The Brian Boulac Scholarship
University of Notre Dame
Department of Development
1100 Grace Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
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