Notre Dame's Coleman and Finke discuss lifelong friendship
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Two members of the Fighting Irish forged an unbreakable bond long before they played under the shadow of the Golden Dome. The bonds of friendship brought them both to Notre Dame to play football.
Safety Nick Coleman and wide receiver Chris Finke have made their mark at Notre Dame.
It all started with vision and a pact
"We were just talking late one night and said 'Hey man, me and you, we're going to play together some day, wherever it will be.' And here we are at Notre Dame," Finke said.
The two met in junior high in Dayton, Ohio and became fast friends.
"Chris has been one of my best friends since the day we met. I met him my 7th grade year and we were on the same basketball team. And, quite frankly, I thought he was crazy as heck, he still is actually," Coleman said.
Family vacations, sleepovers, you name it Coleman and Finke were always together.
Coleman and Finke's friendship turned into a chemistry that was infectious on their football team at Archbishop Alter High School.
"The senior defensive backs on our high school team, there were six of us. We were all just hanging out in the end zone one day at camp and we were like 'We should all come up with like a group name.' And we decided on the Blue Angels kind of like a no fly zone thing," Finke said.
The Blue Angels soon developed their own alter egos.
"And then we just started giving each other nicknames; Nick was 'Alpha' because he was the best player out of all of us," Finke said.
"For some reason, he picked Slippery Fox," Coleman said, referring to Finke.
"So I started thinking like maybe an adjective and an animal. They were all kind of funny," Finke said.
Alpha and the Slippery Fox helped lead Archbishop Alter to a state runner up finish, but the dream of playing together in college seemed like it may not become a reality.
Coleman was a star running back and DB and chose Notre Dame over programs like Michigan State and Ohio State while Finke was only getting looks from D-3 schools.
But his support for Coleman never wavered.
"I was super excited for him, just seeing it become a reality, all these big schools offering him," Finke said.
The attention Coleman was receiving led to a chance meeting for Finke.
"His success is the reason a little bit why I'm here as well, because Coach Kelly and Coach Elston came to school to see Nick and I was introduced to him and now I'm here," Finke said.
That introduction led to Finke walking on at Notre Dame, but the life of a walk on isn't glamorous.
Years of practicing on the scout team found Finke still fighting for a chance to prove himself.
"There were times as a walk on when you feel discouraged and you have some dark days and Nick was really there to keep my spirits up and encourage me. He had been telling me all along 'keep your head down, keep working, like people are noticing what you're doing,'" Finke said.
Just before the start of last season Finke received incredible news. He is now starting at wide receiver for the Irish
"I'm just so happy. He's one of our best receivers in a really talented receiving corps that we have, so he's going to do great this year and I'm happy to see him out here," Coleman said.
Through all the hard work it always comes back to that promise.
"We made a promise to each other our sophomore year in high school that we'd go somewhere together and play football and it ended up happening by the grace of God," Coleman said.
"I couldn't imagine it better," Finke said.
So far Finke has 10 catches for 101-yards this season including an incredible grab in the end zone against Michigan and already surpassing last year's totals.
Coleman switched from safety to nickel back this season after the injury to Shawn Crawford and he played a key role in an interception against Ball State.
Coleman did not play last week against Vanderbilt. Coach Kelly said it was to give Houston Griffith more playing time, but he is expected to play against Wake Forest.