Former Notre Dame LB Crable tackling business projects nowadays

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

There’s Crable Investment Group, which mainly is involved in mobile home communities. Crable Mobile Homes literally moves those homes. Hilltop Financial Group is the lending company and Hilltop Management Group is the operations end of the business.

“Golly,” Bob Crable said after listing off his various business ventures. “I think that’s all I have.”

If you’ve gathered that the former Notre Dame linebacker is keeping busy in his post-football life, you would be correct. This multi-tackler has turned multi-tasker.

Crable, who turns 55 next month, played at Notre Dame from 1979-81 before being drafted in the first round by the New York Jets, where he spent three seasons before an injury cut short his career.

He swiftly moved into the business world, opening Crable SportsWear before moving into his current field 25 years ago.

“It’s good being in a business as long as I have because you learn it,” said Crable, who lives in the Cincinnati area. “We’re in a position where we understand what our role is and where we fit.”

Where Crable fit as a player at Notre Dame was at the top of the tackling charts. To put in perspective the numbers Crable was able to accumulate, consider the impressive numbers recent star Manti Te’o generated — 437 career tackles.

Crable finished with 521, but, for his part, he deflects credit.

“One of the neatest things about football, and I think more than any other sport around, you’ve got 11 guys out there, and I’d love to be able to say that those are all my records,” Crable said. “We had some great guys on the defensive line.”

Crable still holds school records for tackles in a season (187 in 1979) and in a game (26 against Clemson that same year). The monster numbers against Clemson also ties him for an NCAA record.

And as much as Crable downplays what he was able to do, he also realizes that those numbers will be tough to reach, mainly because of the number of passes thrown per game now versus the number of runs when he played. Often times, those running backs were funneled Crable’s way.

“I don’t see how anyone is really going to be in a position where they can reach those numbers anymore,” Crable said. “The game has flip-flopped in terms of rushing versus the attempts of passing.”

Despite seeing changes unfold in football, Crable largely remained the same hard-nosed, tough-as-nails guy who came to Notre Dame from Cincinnati power Moeller High.

In fact, Crable coached at Moeller for 15 years, seven of them as head coach. His first year as head coach coincided with son Brian, now 28, joining the program, and the dynamic between the two created some interesting moments.

After one playoff game, a game Moeller won but in which Brian was called for three straight holding penalties (calls that today Bob says were joke calls), coach Crable was asked during a postgame TV interview how the team was able to overcome the slow start. Crable singled out a certain offensive lineman. The next morning at church, Bob turned to his mother-in-law to shake hands.

“She turned away from me,” Crable said. “She was so mad at me for saying what I said. It’s not that I said what I said, it was that I said it on TV. I had to chuckle, but you always want to be toughest on your own kid.”

At the senior banquet that year, Crable went through his thank yous. A special one was reserved for his son.

“Finally, I said there is one person I absolutely have to make sure I say something about, and that’s my son Brian,” Crable said. “I said Brian has been the brunt of every frustration, every bit of anger. Everything that has ever happened here at Moeller High School that has created some bit of hostility within my heart, he has had to deal with the brunt of it.”

Crable no longer coaches, but he still has a tie to the program. Son Matt is a senior at the school and is expected to win the starting quarterback job after starting one game last season. And if you think it’s odd for Bob Crable’s son to be playing offense, you’re right.

“That’s a little bit complicated for me,” Crable joked.

Crable's advice for his younger son has been to avoid injury.

"I told him this before, ‘If you get hurt as a quarterback, you can't play quarterback," said Crable, who also has two daughters (Amy and Allison) and three granddaughters (Kylie, Ella and Audrey). "I said you cannot lay on the ground and expect someone else to come in after you've taken reps all week, have someone else come in and expect them to do a good job."

Despite the massive numbers he put up, Crable still deflects credit elsewhere. He listed a number of defensive linemen he played with at ND that paved the way for him to become an All-American.

"A lot of times I guess I was the fortunate one that kind of got the (accolades)," he said. "I benefited from the success that other people had holding people off." | 574-235-6428| Twitter: @BobWienekeNDI

Former Notre Dame linebacker Bob Crable, right, talks with former Irish coach Gerry Faust.

Former Notre Dame star linebacker Bob Crable was recently asked to do a little bit of word association.

 Manti Te’o: “Oh my goodness. How are you going to answer that in one word. From what I understand, great kid.”

 Brian Kelly: “Tough. Intelligent. That’s two. And honestly, pretty stinkin’ intense. Maybe that’s why I love him so much.”

 University of Notre Dame: “Tradition.”

 Gerry Faust: “The first word that comes to mind is unfortunate. I love him so much that it was just so unfortunate, being there (at Notre Dame with Faust) for one year, there were opportunities that he had, but it was just so unfortunate that it didn’t work out for him.”

 The 1979-81 version of Bob Crable: “Which one do you want to use — angry or intense? I’m not sure. I remember the guys that we played with. When we get together and talk about what happened, you just laugh all night long.”

 The 2014 version of Bob Crable: “I have to say a little more mature. I can’t say more mature. I have to say a little more mature.”