Catching up with former Notre Dame quarterback Kevin McDougal
Late Saturday afternoon, former Notre Dame quarterback Kevin McDougal was on his cell phone, trying to keep up with his 2-year-old daughter as they spent an afternoon at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. It was a role reversal of sorts.
As the engineer of Notre Dame's win over Florida State in 1993, McDougal was the guy a lot of people were trying to catch up with.
"My phone is full with messages so I guess there's some channels that have shown it a few times," McDougal said, hours before the rivalry renewed with Saturday night's tussle in Tallahassee. "It was a fun time. It was 20 years ago and to still get interviewed about that game, you know it's a big rivalry. I don't think it'll ever stop. You know you played in a big game when it's like that."
McDougal, who now lives in Florida, spent Saturday celebrating his mother's 70th birthday with his daughter, wife-to-be and parents at Busch Gardens before heading to visit his 92-year-old grandmother, so Saturday night's game between the fifth-ranked Irish and second-ranked Florida State was going to have to be watched on television.
McDougal, 42, nearly led the Irish to an improbable national championship in his only season as the starter. The Irish ascended to the No. 1 spot following the 31-24 win over Florida State in 1993, but a home loss to Boston College the following week derailed destiny. Still, during particularly big weeks, such as this, McDougal's popularity spikes.
"I've done about 12 interviews. It started last week," McDougal said. "It's like clockwork. Whenever we play a Michigan or Florida State, it's like clockwork two weeks before it starts."
Asked what he remembered about the Florida State game, McDougal quickly recounted the hype.
"It would be hard-pressed, unless you play in a Super Bowl, to play in a game bigger than that," he said.
McDougal spent time in the World League of American Football, the CFL, the XFL and the Arena League. He worked in real estate for a long time before, with a business partner, started a non-emergency transportation company.
"One thing led to another and I like owning my own business," McDougal said. "We got into it and one thing led to another and we found ourselves doing it full-time and trying to make a business out of it."
McDougal still savors reliving the memories of that special afternoon 21 years ago.
"You hang onto it as long as you can," he said, "because one day it probably all ends, so you enjoy it while you can."