Alum returns to Notre Dame to coach football

Dan Durkin ('12) will head the NDP junior-varsity program and assist Coach Fox with varsity.

When NDP alum Dan Durkin got a chance to help with the Irish football program, there wasn't much hesitation, even after a very successful first year at the helm of the Suttons Bay High School football team in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula. 

"I thought that this would be a tremendous opportunity for me to come back and grow as a coach and to learn from the great coaches on the NDP coaching staff," said Durkin, who turned a 0-7 season in 2016 at Suttons Bay into a 7-4 campaign last year. "It's been awesome to see the program grow since I graduated in 2012 and it's something I wanted to be a part of and to hopefully help the football program continue to grow."

Durkin takes over the head-coaching responsibilities for the Irish JV squad and is a key member of skipper Pat Fox's varsity coaching staff. He also accepted a position at Lake Orion High School teaching social studies and history.

In a June article in the Traverse City Record Eagle newspaper, Durkin said he couldn't pass up both opportunities.

"Everything just kind of aligned itself," Durkin said. "It wasn't something I really sought, but as soon as I got the Lake Orion job offer, I received the coaching offer at Notre Dame Prep, and the stars aligned themselves just in a couple days span."

Durkin graduated from the University of Dayton in 2016 with a B.S. degree in education and health sciences and since August of 2016 taught social studies at St. Mary Catholic School in Lake Leelanau, which is located just west of Suttons Bay on Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula.

While a student at Notre Dame, Durkin played for the Irish football team and was a member of the school's basketball and track and field teams, and his family has a very long history with NDP and football. His oldest brother Tom attended school beginning in 1996 and played football at NDP, and his brother Mike played a year later. In all, there were six Durkin boys who graduated from Notre Dame.

"I grew up around NDP, and watching my two oldest brothers play every Friday night, it drove me to want to do the same," he said. "Being one of six boys to play football in my family, the Irish program has always been special to us. I had a tremendous experience playing football at NDP, and it's still another reason why I wanted to coach at Notre Dame and share with my players the same type of experience I had at NDP."

Durkin also had high praise for the head of Notre Dame's football program.

"My two youngest brothers, Andy and Matt, played two years for Coach Fox," he said. "And I've had the chance to meet with Coach Fox during previous two years to seek out some advice as I was getting ready to get into coaching myself. He is a tremendous man, a knowledgeable football coach, and I am looking forward to learning more about football and coaching from him. He's done a tremendous job growing the NDP football program since he's been here."

The 2018 Notre Dame varsity football campaign begins August 24 vs. Detroit Collegiate Prep.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at