Former Notre Dame wide receiver and defensive back Pat Eilers has joined the Irish coaching staff thanks to an NCAA exemption granted when graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy announced a leave of absence from the program due to his battle with cancer.
Eilers was officially named a defensive quality control assistant by coach Brian Kelly on Sunday, as the NCAA allowed Notre Dame to hire another assistant due to McCarthy's illness. Eilers, who was a member of Notre Dame's 1988 championship team and played six years in the NFL, is taking a sabbatical from his position as managing director of Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, a private equity firm based in Chicago.
"He's got great knowledge of the game, obviously playing here, playing on a championship team, played in the NFL," Kelly said. "It's been great to have him around. He provides a lot."
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Eilers will fill in while McCarthy is away from the team receiving chemotherapy. When McCarthy is able to be around the team, Eilers will take a back seat and let McCarthy resume his role coaching Irish safeties.
"It was just a great gesture on his part to make a situation work and allow Kyle to stay on the field when he can," Kelly said.
Eilers doesn't have much prior coaching experience. He's worked for a venture capital firm a private holding company since his NFL career ended with the Chicago Bears in 1995, but Kelly said in the short amount of time Eilers has been back at Notre Dame he's already proven to be an asset to the coaching staff.
"I don't know that he has a long résumé in terms of coaching," Kelly said. "But, as you know, he's bright, he's great with the kids. He's already shown himself to be pretty effective."