‘Always be ready’
On and off the football field, student-athlete Jack Kiser follows a ‘Swiss Army knife’ approach to life.
Published: February 3, 2023 / Author: Carol Elliott
Never mind that it was early in the day if you’re on “Standard Student Time.” By 9 a.m., Jack Kiser (MSA ’23, BBA ’22) was already awake, alert and at “work,” ensconced in a room in the Notre Dame football team’s practice facility so he could do this Zoom interview. Like most days, he had a full slate of classes and practice ahead of him.
A green wristband slid with gold wording printed on it into view on the Zoom screen as he lifted his arm to adjust his ND stocking cap.
“My grandfather passed away a while ago, but he had one rule for all of his grandchildren,” said Kiser. And his one rule is, ‘Don’t do anything stupid.’ And it’s a perfect rule. Sums up everything, you know what I mean?”
The motto seems to be working for Kiser. The Fighting Irish linebacker has built a solid reputation as a “Swiss Army knife” type of player on the football field — adaptive, upbeat and ready for anything. It’s an attitude that’s been an asset in negotiating challenges off the field, as Kiser, like his classmates, faced trying to attend school and carry on with life during the upheaval of the COVID pandemic. He also experienced the change in team leadership as Brian Kelly departed and Marcus Freeman took over as head coach.
A native of Royal Center, Indiana, Kiser grew up on a thousand-acre farm and attended a small school that held events like Drive Your Tractor to School Day. He graduated early from high school and took extra credits so that he could graduate early from Notre Dame, earning his BBA in business analytics in just three-and-a-half years.
With extra eligibility as an Irish football player — he was redshirted during his freshman year and gained an extra year due to NCAA rules extending the eligibility of student-athletes impacted by COVID — Kiser started looking at graduate business programs at Mendoza.
“The MSA (Master of Science in Accountancy) was attractive because accounting can be applied to so many different industries and so many different fields of expertise,” said Kiser. “With me not knowing exactly what I want to do, I thought it was a great pairing of my analytics in undergrad. To be well-rounded and have all these skills that can really put me in any different situation that might arise in the future.”
Kiser took advantage of the Accounting Immersion Program offered by Mendoza to gain the prerequisites needed for the MSA during summer 2022. “And that was every day from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. of just straight accounting. It was a lot of work. Every night, we had so much homework,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I think it helped with the study habits because you couldn’t put things off. You had to make sure that you had a plan. And it also allowed me to start those relationships with professors early on.”
As for his football career, Kiser was focused on the upcoming game with perennial rival USC. When his football career does come to an end, he has the same pragmatic, “don’t be stupid” outlook instilled in him by his family.
“I went from the analytics background and switched over to the accounting background so I can make myself useful in all aspects of the work life,” said Kiser. “And I think that’s my best attribute on the football team as well, that I have taken that role on to where I know a bunch of different positions. I feel like I can do whatever the coaches need of me. That’s just something that was instilled in me growing up. Always be ready. Do whatever you can to make yourself the most well-rounded person you can be.”