Oct 15, 2018, 10:38 AM EDT
This feature appears in the Notre Dame-Pittsburgh Game Day Magazine.
A number of Notre Dame athletic teams are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year and the Monogram Club is catching up with Monogram winners from those sports to get their reflections from their time as a student-athlete and how that impacted their lives.
Don Casey was a four-time Monogram winner with the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary as a varsity program. Casey was a team captain during his senior year in 1982. He graduated with a B.B.A in finance and went on to receive an MBA from Notre Dame in 1983.
Casey’s connections to the Notre Dame swimming and diving program run deep. His brother, Brian, swam for the Fighting Irish and was a team captain in 1985. Don and his wife, Ann, a 1983 Saint Mary’s College graduate, have three daughters – Meghan (’10), Katie (’11) and Bridget (‘15) – who all swam at Notre Dame. Both Katie and Bridget served as team captains.
Casey has enjoyed a very successful business career. He became CEO of Dentsply Sirona, Inc. in February 2018 after serving as CEO of Medical Segment at Cardinal Health in Dublin, Ohio. Prior to that, Casey was the inaugural CEO of the West Health Institute, in La Jolla, Calif. Casey also served as Worldwide Chairman for Johnson & Johnson’s Comprehensive Care group and member of the Company’s Executive Committee, where he oversaw its cardiovascular, diagnostic, diabetes and vision care franchises around the world.
Giving back to Notre Dame has been a priority of Casey’s, and part of that has come through his involvement with the Monogram Club. He joined the Monogram Club’s board of directors in 2010 and entered the Club’s presidential rotation as second vice president in September 2015. He became first vice president last October and will serve as president of the Monogram Club from 2019-21. Casey is among many Monogram Club members back on campus this weekend for the Club’s Annual Mass, Meeting and Reception.
How did being a Notre Dame student-athlete impact your life the most?
“I really believe that being a student-athlete at Notre Dame was one of the really important building blocks of my adult life. Being a student-athlete really teaches you discipline, team work, competitiveness and emphasis on working to achieve goals. Being a student-athlete at Notre Dame brought that to a higher level. There is such a strong sense of teamwork and a real spirit to the University that it takes the experience to a higher level. Competing for Notre Dame is unlike anyplace else.”
What are your favorite memories from your time at Notre Dame?
“Well, the biggest was when I met my future wife! There also were all the obvious ones, the special moments with amazing teammates and roommates, big games, big swim meets and great celebrations. But my most gratifying memories would be walking down to the old pool at 5:00 a.m., in the winter, and there would be a wonderful quietness that let you think and dream. In so many ways the aspirations I carry to this day were really borne out in those early morning sessions.”
You were able to swim at Notre Dame with your brother and have three daughters that all swam at Notre Dame. What was it like to have all those connections, not just with Notre Dame but with the swim program?
“Notre Dame swimming has meant so much to our entire family. Getting to compete at this University with my brother was amazing and still important to both of us to this day. It was such a great experience. Then to get to see my daughters get the same opportunity, it is beyond a dream come true. The bond we share makes it that much more special.”
You have had a successful business career. What have been the keys to your success?
“So much of what I learned swimming at Notre Dame has been essential to my career. To me, the keys to business success were built off those critical skills learned at Notre Dame: focus on making the team successful, setting goals, working hard and creating a strong culture.”
How has your involvement with the Monogram Club strengthened your connection to the University and the athletics department?
“The Monogram Club has helped me stay very involved with the University and athletics. The Monogram Club helps preserve the athletic legacy, build fellowship with the many generations of Monogram winners and helps me hopefully contribute, if even in a small way, to the institutions that have meant so much to me.”