As you may have followed throughout the past few months here at Insights, we've been talking with celebrities about why they love college sports and, in some instances, why they love Notre Dame. This is one of those times.
Chances are, this guy will look familiar. Tom Cavanagh, who starred in the series "Ed" at the beginning of the decade and was also in "Love Monkey," "Trust Me" and had a recurring role in "Scrubs," took the time to talk with Insights about his love of Notre Dame football. It's somewhat fitting, too, that Cavanagh will likely be the last celebrity interview I do on Insights as we discovered during our conversation that we have a mutual friend. Small, small world. Insights thanks Cavanagh for the time and I think you'll really enjoy the interview, which will be in multiple parts. In Part I, Cavanagh explains how he started watching Notre Dame, part of his Gameday routine and his feelings on college sports. In Part II, Cavanagh talks jerseys, going to games and working on "Trust Me" with former Fame and Notre Dame interview subject John Coveny.
Irish Insights: Wearing jerseys, how many do you have? Is it an old, ratty one?
Tom Cavanagh: "Yeah, it's an old, crazy No. 3 jersey that I've had forever. But what's nice is I have little children and have gone to the bookstore and gotten them their jerseys. They propped up and I'm like 'Well, time to put on your football shirt.' It's great."
II: So do they watch with you?
TC: "Nah. I don't want to do that thing where it's like 'You like Notre Dame football.' I feel like they'll get chosen, they'll like it if they like it. If it happens, it happens. But when they are 1 and they can't really complain and it's a good photo op, I'm not above dredging them up in a Joe Montana jersey and propping them up on the couch beside me."
II: So the No. 3 jersey, did you get that Powlus years? Pre-Powlus?
TC: "Nah. That was a gift a long, long time ago. And I've had it forever. For a while there, it's funny, like you and I were college fans way before the Internet but when the Internet happened, I went on this thing where you can start tracking down jerseys and things like that, things that you didn't have easy access to. Way back when, remember when Mitchell & Ness started, it was like 'Whoa.' You had to go to Philadelphia. Now it's like 'Boom, you hit a button.' I was like 'No, it should be harder to get.' At first I was going to try and arm myself with all this kind of stuff and then I realized that a jersey that's a gift is all you need. So I've just stuck with that.'
II: Beyond Notre Dame, do you have a lot of jerseys? The fact that you know Mitchell & Ness, that tells me you paid some attention.
TC: "I was a big fan of it when you couldn't get them. I really was, when it was a retro kind of thing. A friend coached at Western Michigan and I had this old Western Michigan baseball shirt, Broncos it said on the front, and people were like 'Oh, wow.' Also, I did a play, I want to say 1990, where I had this old retro Vancouver Canucks shirt. It had the hockey stick as a C in the middle of the jersey, green and blue and white and during the play I wore this thing. After the play I had people coming up 'Oh, my God, I'll give you $3,000 for that thing.' At the time they had this awful black and gold abominations and they were still yearning for the retro thing. So it was something to have this jersey. Now, with the Internet and all the retro craze, anybody can pick up this thing, relatively inexpensive, well, not that inexpensive, but not $3,000, and they can just get it. When that started happening, I started getting out of it. It's less of a thing to have. But I've kind of kept a lot of the jerseys on the sports teams that I've played for so I have a bunch of hockey jerseys and that stuff but in terms of getting the Mitchell & Ness stuff, no, I don't do that.'"
II: When you and (Rescue Me actor Steve) Pasquale watch games, do you always watch them together? I'd think with the jobs that you have, I'd think that you're separated at some point.
TC: "Yeah, this last year he was in New York and I was filming a series and living out in California, so we didn't watch a single game together, which was brutal. There was a lot of messages flying back and forth. There's a lot to be said for routine. I'm most comfortable when he's here. That's another thing about college sports. Say, for example, the March Madness thing hits, it's sacred time for me. I just love it. You invite a few people over, and they are like 'Yeah, I'm watching the game, having some chips, catching up with people.' No. We're here to watch the game. The great thing about a fan like Pasquale is that he's not coming to talk about other stuff. He's coming to make sure we get a first down and put the flanker wide, all that kind of stuff. He knows football. He's into it. It's great to watch it with a guy like that. The other funny thing is, and this is kind of amusing. Say the other team scores, we'll be like, 'What are we doing? Get over there. Spread wide. Here, take the ball. I'm going to get down on a knee on the left side of the television set. That's going to fix it. Ready and break.' We had a formation change. It's awesome."
II: You guys actually do that on occasion?
TC: "Totally. Are you kidding me? Absolutely. The fate of Notre Dame football depends on us."
II: When you go to games, what's that like for you? How often do you go a year?
TC: "I don't go often. Steve tends to go to a bunch a year because he has season tickets. We try and get there at least once a season, if not twice, and then he's always after me to get to a bowl game and God willing they play in a BCS bowl game one of these years, so he had tickets to the Fiesta Bowl a while back and that was a debacle. His family is, they are hardcore. I have to fly in from wherever I am at the time and that makes it a little more difficult, but we definitely try. And we have the Chicago connection so we try to get everybody out and get to the Stadium. There's nothing like it."
II: I know when you were filming 'Trust Me,' John (Coveny), one of the creators, is a big Notre Dame fan. What was that like?
TC: "This is great. You know everybody. What the hell? So here's what happened. We were filming and there were times we had to film on a Saturday or do publicity and stuff like that. You always have to do that at the onset of the show. One time, we didn't have TV access or anything but every 17 minutes I would be bursting into where he was and he had the computer up and he had the (GameTracker) so you could see where Notre Dame is moving the ball. We'd be like 'OK, he's on the 40. Oh, he dropped it.' Then it would be like 'Tom, we need you back' and I'd be like 'Damnit.' So I'd go do the thing and come back and while I was there filming I would get like seven messages from Coveny being like: '3rd and 3.' 'First down.' '4th-and-3.' 'Dropped pass.' '1st-and-10.'
"The first thing he wrote me when our show got picked up was 'Fire up, Irish.' That's all he wrote and that's how I found out the show was getting picked up."
II: What's been your thoughts the past few years of Notre Dame football? It's been very up-and-down, to say the least.
TC: "Yeah, I'll say. First off, and this might be an unpopular position, but you got Dan (Devine) and Lou (Holtz) and you've got a tradition going and what happened with Ty (Willingham), it just didn't feel like Notre Dame to me. It doesn't matter who you are, sometimes I feel like there's parallels with the acting thing. Like you paid all this money to shoot this pilot because you liked the idea. Now why don't you nurture it along? Why don't you give us a graduating class? I don't understand, if you hire the person hopefully you've done your due diligence and you feel like this is the guy. Now, give the guy a shot. Remember Ty came out of the gate and everyone was like 'Oh, wow. Great.' And the next thing you know, they can't wait to get rid of him. And then (Charlie) Weis is going through this thing where they do well out of the gate and they are like 'Yeah, he's a Super Bowl genius.' And then the truth, I guess, lies somewhere in between, or who knows what it is? But to me, to go back to Willingham, that doesn't feel like us and doesn't feel like what we do to people. Who knows what a guy, give the guy his own graduating class. You're looking at giving a football coach, depending when the football coach comes in, giving them four or five, six, seven years. I think that's only fair. I feel that there's other factors and I'm well aware there are other factors that go into it and mine might be more of an ideal position but ultimately my position, I think, makes a little more sense if what you're trying to do is stand for something. Certainly Notre Dame football stands for something. So I don't know. I feel that's been as much a problem as anything. You look at the recruiting classes, it's not like the recruiting classes don't exist, you know. They do. They are phenomenal, so there's a massive amount of talent there. It's just a question of how we get it to perform. I'm always optimistic. I always think that this is going to be phenomenal. I don't know. I think that it will, that once it does come back, it'll be, I just worry that it's going to be that short-term thing, becomes that short-term thing. When it comes back, people will probably be like 'Notre Dame is back where it belongs.' You'll write an article like that, and so will a bunch of people, and I can see the cover already, you know. You just don't want to make the same mistake twice. It's going to come back. It's going to do well. And then, how are we going to treat it then?"
II: You mentioned recruiting. Do you get up every morning and read stuff? Are you on the Web sites and all that stuff?
TC: "I've been that way, but I'm not a guy who is healthy that way. I'm surrounded by people who know a massive amount about it, so I'm going to hear about it one way or the other. I don't really have to search it out. It's just there. For example, you can't be friends with a guy like Coveny and not know everything that's going on. It's not healthy for me to be reading the same stuff over and over and over again, especially on the Web sites."
- Fame And Notre Dame: Actor Tom Cavanagh -- Part I
- Why I Love College Sports (Fame And ND): Actor Ted McGinley -- Part I
- Why I Love College Sports (Fame And ND) -- Actor Ted McGinley -- Part II
- Why I Love College Sports (Sometimes Known As Fame And Notre Dame): IRL Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay
- Why I Love College Sports (Also Known As Fame And Notre Dame): IRL Driver Graham Rahal
- Fame And Notre Dame: Stone Temple Pilots Frontman Scott Weiland Part I
- Fame And Notre Dame: Stone Temple Pilots Frontman Scott Weiland Part II
- Fame And Notre Dame: Villanova Basketball Coach Jay Wright