NOTRE DAME – Notre Dame has accepted an invitation to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports except football and hockey. Wednesday's announcement is creating lots of excitement on campus. The university's coaches have expressed their enthusiasm with the upcoming change.

Statement from University of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly:

“Today is a great day for the University of Notre Dame and our athletics department, including the football program.  Speaking strictly from a football standpoint, we have further solidified our future as an independent in college football, maintained our unique ability to schedule nationally and greatly improved our postseason bowl game options.  I applaud Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for this move. They have set our entire athletics department up for great success in the future.”

Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame Women's Basketball Coach:

"This is an exciting day for Notre Dame women's basketball. The ACC is one of the nation's strongest women's basketball conferences and we're thrilled to be able to add our program to that mix. There are so many talented players, coaches and programs in the ACC and we will be challenged each and every night. I also think our fans, who are the best in college basketball, will be excited to see so many new faces coming in to Purcell Pavilion in the next few years. My hat is off to Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins for the hard work they put in to make this move a reality.

"At the same time, we are certainly sad to be leaving behind the many friends and colleagues, as well as the numerous rivalries we have developed in the BIG EAST. Our program has grown exponentially in the past 17 years and the BIG EAST is a major reason for that development."


Notre Dame head baseball coach Mik Aoki:

"From a baseball perspective, this is obviously a very positive thing for our program. This is the second time that I've gone through this process, the first time when I was at Boston College. I'm excited about going to the ACC. The BIG EAST was moving in the right direction with the recent additions of UCF, Houston and Memphis and there is a bit of nostalgia leaving the league considering my career in the conference. I know the league will move on and be successful, but I'm excited about where we're going."

On baseball in the ACC:

"Baseball is a really big deal to the ACC. Our conference tournament is exciting, the venues from Miami to Florida State to Clemson to Georgia Tech to North Carolina to NC State to Virginia. It is simply a who's who of college baseball. The game operation, fan base and facilities, I just think it's really a big move for our baseball program to compete in that conference. If you look at the ACC over the last 10 years or so, the ACC has either been #1, #2 or #3 in conference RPI. This is a major upgrade for our program."

On any changes in recruiting philosophy:

"I don't know that it necessarily changes our recruiting philosophy at Notre Dame, which is such a national brand with such a national recruiting base, but I do think that this move definitely helps us. I've put a real premium on trying to clean up our 'backyard.' I consider our 'backyard' to include Indiana, the Chicagoland area and Ohio. We can now make the case to those kids that you don't have to go anywhere but here, the University of Notre Dame, to compete in arguably the top conference in the country. You can get an education second-to-none and play college baseball at the very highest level it is offered. It is a message that will resonate extremely well here at Notre Dame."


Joe Piane – Cross Country and Track and Field Head Coach:                   On ACC cross country and track and field …

“It’s a great conference for both sports. I would say it’s one of the best conferences in the country. Florida State and Clemson are perennial powerhouses in track and field. Cross Country also has elite teams as well.
The league also has some great schools academically, which Notre Dame will fit right in with.”

On the BIG EAST …

“We have tons of great memories with the BIG EAST. We have won 24 titles between cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the conference and I will enjoy the remaining time with them.”