Jack Youngblood spent 14 seasons as a defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He also is given credit for this quote: “Good luck is the residue of preparation.’’

I was looking for this quote to dispute it slightly and was surprised to discover that a distinguished football player was the source.

Here’s the why: Ara Parseghian, the legendary college football coach, died last week at 94. His greatest success came from 1964 to 1974 at Notre Dame, where he was 95-17-4 with two national titles.

I never had a chance to cover a game coached by Parseghian. Even better, I had the good luck to watch his return to Notre Dame football on the practice field in April 1981.

I had gone to South Bend, Ind., to write a Sunday feature on new Notre Dame coach Gerry Faust for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Irish had reached into the high school ranks, Moeller Catholic in Cincinnati, for this hire.

Faust was a hurricane of words and energy. He brought a 174-17-1 record (and five state titles in the prior six years) from Moeller. And he turned into a five-season disaster for the Irish.

Faust was the phenomenon of college football that spring. The networks, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times already had been there to do Faust features.

There has never been a greater athletic media relations department than Notre Dame when it came to access. This included standing on the sideline at spring practice.

On this day, with no prior indication it would happen, here came Parseghian walking through a gate — his first return to the “program” since Dan Devine had replaced him in 1975.

Devine had not reached out to Parseghian, and then there was a quote from Devine about a need to remove the “trash [athletes]” from the program, and Ara stayed away for six years.

And now Ara was back.

There were wide smiles, embraces, tears and Parseghian’s brief, energetic speech to the team. It was an afternoon when good luck definitely was the residue of good luck for a reporter.


Read Patrick Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at preusse@startribune.com.