“The most awkward situation in all of college sports.” That’s what Allen Greene ’99 walked into, according to USA Today, when he was named Auburn University’s athletic director in January. Greene, a former Fighting Irish outfielder, is one of 10 Notre Dame graduates now leading Division I athletic departments, perhaps none of whom are facing so delicate and complex a task. The Auburn men’s basketball program is caught up in the FBI investigation into corruption in the sport; associate head coach Chuck Person was among those charged last September. Then a surprisingly successful season created an uneasy mix of legal limbo and athletic pride, which Auburn President Steven Leath called “an interesting dynamic.” At his introductory press conference, Greene vowed “to operate with integrity and compliance, particularly when it’s most inconvenient.” . . . News broke in January that, months earlier, President Donald Trump had ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump backed down, The New York Times reported, because White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II ’91 threatened to resign if Mueller were fired. According to the Times, McGahn believed that dismissing Mueller would be catastrophic for Trump’s presidency and intensify questions about whether the administration was obstructing justice. . . . Budget cuts and the effects of Hurricane Maria delayed the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature’s awards for 2016. When the institute announced its winners in February, the research and criticism prize went to Rafael Aragunde Torres ’73 for his book, The Disconsolation of Philosophy. The longtime professor was the U.S. territory’s education secretary from 2005 to 2008. . . . To offer deployed U.S. armed services members a small reminder of home, Jasen Holley ’16MBA and Nick Selman ’16MBA, founders of the craft coffee company Javaya, established a charitable initiative called Coffee for Courage. The idea is to deliver a good cup of coffee, one of the small pleasures often denied those stationed in remote parts of the world, for a moment’s respite amid mental strain and physical danger. The project’s first shipment, 135 pounds of whole-bean coffee, made it to U.S. Army Special Forces units in Afghanistan in time for the Christmas holidays. . . . On the wide-open Wyoming range where artist Kathryn Mapes Turner ’95 grew up and still lives, horses roam free. That’s the inspiration for the galloping white mustang in her Unbridled, a painting that resonates far beyond her Rocky Mountain home. It was chosen as the featured painting for the 2018 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, South Carolina, where Turner was also the featured artist. . . . From en garde to “I do”: Two former NCAA champions and U.S. Olympians, a pair TeamUSA.org dubbed the “foil fencing power couple,” will be married. Lee Kiefer ’17 and Gerek Meinhardt ’13, ’15MBA announced their engagement New Year’s Day on Instagram, an expression of love that received more than 2,000 “likes”. . . . Tim Keller ’00 overcame dyslexia to earn degrees in finance and art history from Notre Dame and an MBA from Harvard. He worked in Cambodia for a company that trains land mine victims before becoming a state senator and auditor in his native New Mexico. When the Albuquerque Journal asked for a résumé from Keller’s office, though, a staff member had to cobble together a biography to paste into an email. On Keller’s still-unwritten CV, the latest entry is Albuquerque mayor, a job he calls “a dead end street” that could well be his last elective office because of the political challenges it presents. Early returns have been positive for the progressive Democrat. His political honeymoon included the staff at a local Target lining the aisle and applauding as Keller pushed his shopping cart. . . . Former Notre Dame linebacker and tight end Rod West ’90 played on teams that went to the Cotton, Fiesta and Orange bowls. Now the longtime New Orleans resident is president of his hometown Sugar Bowl. An executive for Entergy Corporation and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, West has been part of the Sugar Bowl Committee since 1995. . . . Through decades of public rallies and media appearances promoting the power of prayer, Rev. Patrick Peyton, CSC, ’37 became known as the “Rosary Priest.” He’s now “Venerable Father Peyton” after Pope Francis approved a Decree of Heroic Virtue in December, the second level of the four-step ascent to sainthood. Peyton, who died in 1992, held events around the world and produced more than 600 radio and TV programs featuring Hollywood stars like Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, extolling prayer as the path to strengthening family relationships and easing global tensions. “With special devotion to the rosary and with a remarkable expertise in the use of modern media for sharing the Gospel, Father Peyton devoted his priestly ministry to encouraging families to pray together,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC, ’76, ’78M.A. said after the pope elevated Peyton. “I hope that Venerable Father Peyton will inspire the entire Notre Dame family, and I pray that he continues on the path to sainthood.” . . . To prove to his wife that he was in New York, as he told her he would be, Owen Smith ’95 texted a photo of himself holding that day’s New York Times. Not good enough, she told him. That’s a national newspaper. The tale was just a joke, part of Smith’s stand-up routine in January on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — the comedian’s first network-television appearance — which would have been unimpeachable proof of his whereabouts if his wife really had doubted him. . . . Anthony Fasano ’06 is not quite finished playing football yet, but in a quest to find “purpose” for the next phase of his life, he founded an addiction-treatment clinic in South Florida. Fasano’s interest in opening Next Chapter Addiction grew out of a family member’s struggle to get sober, an experience that enlightened the former Notre Dame tight end to the realities of the disease. “I opened up my eyes and it changed me, personally, a lot,” he told the South Bend Tribune. In two years, Next Chapter has grown from 10 to 25 full-time employees — including the family member who overcame his addiction. . . . Scott Ford ’01, ’09M.Arch. has led community investment for the City of South Bend as well as commercial real estate and business operations for the South Bend-based Bradley Company. Now he’s combining his public- and private-sector experience as Notre Dame’s associate vice president of new business development. Ford’s task will be to coordinate economic development in the region as it relates to Notre Dame Research, the IDEA Center, University Relations and the Office of Public Affairs and Communications. . . . The ring identifying Bill Squires ’56 as a member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame is too heavy to wear. Seven ounces, more suited for a sumo wrestler than a distance runner, Squires said after his induction last November. A two-time cross country All-American and a leading miler in track, Squires went on to an innovative and accomplished coaching career. His teams at Boston State College accumulated dozens of championships, and he cofounded the Greater Boston Track Club in 1973, training marathoners such as Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley and Greg Meyer. Squires was known for tailoring workouts to individuals, a groundbreaking approach that separated him from the pack.
Jason Kelly is an associate editor of this magazine.