The former Bowling Green player will coach defensive tackles for the Irish.
& lt;a href=mailto:email@example.com & gt;By JOHN KOVACH & lt;/a & gt;
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Capitalizing on achievement, experience, opportunity and recommendations, Boardman native D.J. Durkin has climbed another step up the ladder of his football career.
After an outstanding playing career at Boardman High and Bowling Green State, and a two-year coaching stint for the Falcons as a graduate assistant, Durkin has been named to a similar post at the University of Notre Dame for the 2003 season.
A defensive ends coach for Bowling Green, Durkin will coach defensive tackles as an aide to Greg Mattison at Notre Dame.
Learning new system
"It was a step up and a great move for my career," said Durkin, who already has begun his new job learning the system and studying playbooks for spring practice that will begin March 31.
"[The job] can be one to three years. It's a year-to-year thing."
Durkin, a four-year starter at defensive end and outside linebacker for Bowling Green, said he hopes to learn as much as possible in his new apprenticeship.
"My main objective is to gain more knowledge about the game, and this coaching staff has great experience that can be valuable to me," he explained.
Durkin said his background as a player and coach, plus a recommendation from Urban Meyer, a former Notre Dame assistant coach, helped him to land the assignment.
Meyer, an Ashtabula native, served as an assistant coach at Notre Dame for five years from 1996-2000. Then he went on to compile a 17-6 record as Bowling Green's coach for the past two seasons before leaving to become coach at Utah.
The Falcons were 9-3 in 2002 and ranked in the top 20 of both major polls; while in 2001 their defense was rated No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in total defense, as well as four other major defensive categories.
Durkin believes graduate coaching is an effective way to advance a career.
"It actually is the only way to get into coaching. You pay your dues to get to some good places," said Durkin.
Team captain, won awards
He served as a Bowling Green team captain for two years after being elected by teammates. And he won several awards, including the Ken Schoeni Award for character and toughness, the Carlos Jackson Award for personifying the values of a true student-athlete, and the Leadership Award for displaying great leadership.
Durkin received a bachelor's degree in business marketing from Bowling Green in 2001, and now is studying for a master's degree at Notre Dame in educational administration and supervision.
The son of Maryann and Dan Durkin of Boardman, D.J. is married to the former Sarah Brumback, a seventh-grade teacher in Findlay.
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