The 2020 college football season was an unforgettable one in many ways. With schedules shortened and constrained by the pandemic, intersectional rivalries interrupted, stadium capacities limited or emptied, and virus safety protocols earning as much attention as depth charts, it will be remembered as much for its novelty as for the teams and student-athletes that made headlines in their own right. For Notre Dame, the 2020 season meant a temporary hiatus from independence to compete as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, where the Irish went undefeated during the regular season, played for its first (and perhaps only) conference football championship, and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons.
There for it all were not only the student-athletes who showed up in the box score but also those whose roles were just as critical despite rarely seeing the field. This week’s Domer Diaries entry comes from walk-ons Reed Gregory ’21 and John Mahoney ’21, defensive signalers for the Irish relaying play calls to the defense on every snap. They recount their experiences with the 2020 Irish in a new book, History Through the Headsets, featuring a foreword from Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly and scheduled for release on Tuesday, October 19.
Name: Reed Gregory
Class Year: 2021
Residence Hall: Keough
Major and Minors: Economics; Russian & digital marketing minors
Student Activities: Varsity football, Badin Hall flag football coach
Occupation: Wealth management
Location: New York City
Local Notre Dame club or affinity groups: Notre Dame Club of New York City
Name: John Mahoney
Class Year: 2021
Residence Hall: Stanford
Major and Minor: Finance, history minor
Student Activities: Varsity football; Stanford Hall interhall football coach
Occupation: Management consultant
Local Notre Dame club or affinity groups: Notre Dame Clubs of Minnesota and Des Moines
Share a short update about yourself and your life changes since graduating.
Gregory: I moved back home to New Jersey right after graduation. I visited friends and traveled until I started work at Franklin Templeton Investments in July. Since then I have moved into New York City and enjoy going to Notre Dame game watch events on the weekend.
Mahoney: After graduating in January of this year, I split my time between South Bend and my hometown, West Des Moines, Iowa, while traveling as much as I could. In August, I moved to Minneapolis to begin work as a business analyst for McKinsey & Company.
Tell us about your book, History Through the Headsets. What is it about and what prompted you to write it?
The idea for our book arose at Thanksgiving dinner the day after we beat North Carolina (in 2020). As the defensive signalers, Reed and I had access to the “inside story” on every snap, and one of our coaches suggested that he and I should write a book about our insights and experiences. After mulling it over for a few days, we agreed to give it a shot and, after emailing every sports publisher that had a book in the campus bookstore, we were able to get a deal with Triumph Books, a sports publisher based in Chicago. From there, the rest was history. We worked on it throughout the spring and summer, and are ecstatic for its October 19 release.
What is your favorite Notre Dame memory or campus tradition and why?
Gregory: Beating Clemson at home in double overtime is my obvious choice for favorite memory. But everything about Notre Dame home games are my absolute favorite traditions. From the pep rally the day before, to the player walk, to storming the field as our band plays (before kickoff), nothing beats it.
Mahoney: Though my time on campus included a number of incredible experiences, my favorite memory from my time at Notre Dame was our victory over Clemson in November of our senior year. It had been such a tumultuous several months leading up to that point, and it was an incredible feeling to know that our team had given the entire community the opportunity to celebrate. I feel like the Class of 2021 truly left its mark on our University that day, and it was one of those days that we will talk about forever.
Click here for more information. Mahoney and Gregory will be signing copies of History Through the Headsets at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore at 1:30 p.m. ET, October 30, prior to the North Carolina football game.