There are constant reminders of just how small our world can be. No more so than when key figures in your life, in this case sports, are no longer with us. The passing of former ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan provided just one example this weekend. I never interacted with Corrigan as an adult or as a member of the media. What was gifted to me and plenty of my childhood friends were his children.
We got to see the vision and magic that Corrigan brought to the world of sports while he was at Washington and Lee University. Even at that young age we knew what a loss it was when Corrigan left to go to the University of Virginia.
The competition between the Generals and Cavaliers on the lacrosse field was intense in those days. It could have felt like a betrayal in our young minds but somehow it all just made sense. Even then we recognized he was headed for something bigger.
Indeed it was. Corrigan left his mark on Virginia, Notre Dame, the ACC and the NCAA. His ability to see outside the box, one in which we all become too comfortable, led to the expansion of the conference with Florida State. He helped lay the groundwork for the Football Bowl Alliance guaranteeing a bowl appearance by an ACC team.
Corrigan’s background certainly was a plus when it came to making solid hiring decisions, too. Among the notables, Lou Holtz and Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame and Terry Holland and Bruce Arena at Virginia.
His mentoring of others in the field includes the current ACC Commissioner John Swofford. But, perhaps his greatest contributions to the ACC lives on in his children. It includes Boo Corrigan, Athletic Director at NC State and Kevin Corrigan, the head lacrosse coach at Notre Dame. Their father’s vision and guiding hand continue to lead and influence through them.
Boo Corrigan said in a statement Saturday that his father “led a remarkable life.” He described him as someone who valued his family while working “in a profession where you can quickly lose sight of what’s most important.”
“Since I arrived at N.C. State, there’s hardly a day where someone doesn’t tell me about an interaction they had with my father and how it somehow made their day a little better,” Boo Corrigan said. “He had that kind of impact on people.”
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