Q&A With Lisa Kelly – Author of Echoes From The End Zone

Notre Dame alum and well know Twitter maven Lisa Kelly (@4LeafCloverGirl) just released her first book – Echoes From The End Zone: The Men We Became. It's going to be a must-have for Irish fans who can't get enough of the untold stories that shaped the team we know today. Lisa will be signing the book this weekend at Notre Dame's Hammes Bookstore before the Irish stomp Sparty for the third year in a row. I spent some time with Lisa during the 2013 Spring Blue & Gold Game and came away very excited about the untold stories hidden within her first published work. This was obviously time spent when Lisa wasn't discussing red wines and the 2013 Napa Valley grape crop with Rick Mirer who is featured in the book. I asked Lisa a few quick questions about the undertaking of this project and you'll find her answers below. If you want to get the book personally autographed by Lisa catch her this weekend:

Friday from 1:00pm-3:00pm with Marv Russell

Saturday from 11:30am-1:30am with Marv Russell & John Foley



Also be sure to check out another fantastic podcast this week that featured former Irish great Kory Minor and  … guess who – Lisa Kelly. Kory had some very, very strong words on what the Irish defense is lacking in 2013 and his story of why he wanted to go to Notre Dame and how it played out is worth any Irish fan's time

Question & Answer With Echoes From The End Zone Author Lisa Kelly

Steve Herring: When we spent some time around each other at the 2013 ND Spring Game, it felt like some of your former famous classmates were still just "some of the guys I went to college with" for you. How did that translate when interviewing them as players that fans really look up to and in many cases idolize? 
Author Lisa Kelly:  I did my best in every interview to make the guys feel comfortable. To make them feel like they were talking to a friend and not a "reporter" doing an interview. I think the beauty of this approach is that when they feel comfortable with you they often times share stories they might not have otherwise shared. I was signing books this weekend with Tony Rice, Pat Terrell and John Foley from the '88 championship team and Pat remarked to me that he had done many interviews, but that the one with me was the best because it really felt like two friends talking and not like an interview. That was huge for me … that means I'm doing my job right!

SH:There are quite a few interviews in here. How many players are featured and over what time span did their careers stretch?
LK: I have completed over 40 interviews but 25 of them were placed in the book. I didn't want to shorten the stories so I randomly picked 25 and hope to tell 25 more in the next book! The guys in the current book, "Echoes From the End Zone: The Men We Became" span from the class of 1958 through the class of 2003.
SH: When interviewing players who were coached by Lou Holtz, can you feel the admiration they continue to maintain for him and the life lessons they use today? Was it like that for them when you were in school and your friends were playing for him? 

LK: Yes, you can absolutely feel their admiration for Coach Holtz … and their fear! Even today they are terrified of him. Pat Terrell commented this past weekend that he ran into Coach Holtz at a conference a few years ago and he was completely terrified. So much so that his wife looked at him and said, "What is wrong with you?" I guess after years of firm direction and guidance those feelings don't go away!
SH: Of your target interviews – Who was the hardest former player to get on the phone to speak with?

LK: Two of the guys in particular I had a difficult time getting them to return my calls. I'm sure part of the reason was they really didn't know who I was, but once I got the chance to speak with them and make a connection everyone opened up and told stories. Often times I would have to cut them off otherwise they would go on for hours, literally! There are a couple of guys who I'm currently trying to track down that are being a little difficult to reach, but that's okay … I'm up for the challenge!

SH: So you're not gonna tell us who the divas are? Moving on – You were a student during an epic stretch in Irish history – Did you find yourself having flashbacks to your time in the stands while these men shared their histories?
LK: Absolutely. Some of their favorite games were some of my favorite games, too. Reggie Brooks' unconscious touch down … Rick Mirer's amazing win in the Notre Dame-Penn State Snow Bowl. It was like I was right there all over again. I think I enjoyed listening to their stories just as much as they enjoyed telling them!
SH: If fans can't make it to the autograph signing, where can they buy the book?

LK: If you can't make it to the book signings this weekend you can buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble … both of which are linked to on my web site www.TheMenWeBecame.com. If you would like a signed copy, please contact me via social media or send me a message through the contact page on my web site and I'll get a signed copy out to you!
SH: Your favorite short excerpt from the book?
Pat Terrell (pictured with Lisa Kelly below) – 1988 National Champion 
A pivotal moment in Pat’s career at Notre Dame was the day that head
coach Lou Holtz decided to move him from wide receiver to defensive back.
It was something that Pat never saw coming, but changed the course of his
career and lead to the moment against Miami that is embedded in Notre
Dame football lore.
“I started my football career at Notre Dame as a wide
receiver and in the starting rotation I was pretty good. But when you are wide
receiver in a wishbone offense you do more blocking that you do receiving.
This all happened during my sophomore year, which was the year Tim Brown
won the Heisman Trophy and so my statistics were not looking all that good.
I only had three or four catches on the whole season going into the Cotton
Bowl. We were at one of our Cotton Bowl practices, and our practices were
intense, to say the least. There were thousands of people piled into the stadium
just to watch us practice and my parents had driven to Texas all the way from
Florida just to see me play.”
“Holtz calls my number and it’s my turn to make a play. It was a middle
crossing route from Tony Rice to me and it hits me right in the chest … and I
drop it. This was the end of a very long season, and there I go and drop the
ball. Coach Holtz is standing behind the secondary and his face turns red and
he starts yelling. He runs right at me, and then keeps running, right past me,
and over to Tony Rice. He grabs Tony by the face mask and is screaming at
him, meanwhile Tony is looking at me like, ‘catch the dog-gone ball.’ Lou
screams at Tony, ‘Tony, that is your fault! I don’t care if Pat is so wide open that
you can walk the ball up and hand him the football! Take the sack! I don’t care
how open he is, take the sack. Do not throw Pat Terrell the ball!’ After practice
I walk off the field and feel just awful. Coach Holtz comes over to me and
I am expecting him to apologize. He says to me, ‘Pat, you’re the best receiver
I’ve ever coached. I have never coached a receiver with so much talent. You’re
great …until we throw you the football. I’m moving you to defensive back in
the spring.’ And that is how I found out I was being moved to defensive back.
Coach Holtz made practice so much more intense than actual games, so much
so that we looked forward to the games!” That was life for Lou’s Lads and it
was a great life.
Hit Lisa on Twitter @4LeafCloverGirl or @TheMenWeBecame
Find me on Twitter @ManCaveQB