It is no secret that Arizona Tile founder, John Huarte, has strong and lasting ties with his alma mater. The shared legacy between John and the University of Notre Dame is one that is so profound, it can still be felt by many, years after the glorious revival of the 1964 Fighting Irish football team. Though his Heisman-winning battle to bring the University’s losing football team to victory has long been fought, his devotion to the University remains true. In November 2018, John along with his wife Eileen had the opportunity to give back to Notre Dame via a gracious donation of $1 million, intended to establish an endowment for grants in aid to student-athletes. Though generous, the gesture is a small way for a gracious graduate to give back to the school he loves most.
Growing up in a sports-loving family on his father’s citrus farm, John’s appreciation for Notre Dame began at a mere 12 years of age. Listening to Notre Dame radio at the time only heightened his admiration for the University. When his older brother decided to enroll he decided that he too would follow suit.
Once enrolled at the University, John joined the football team but did not see much playing time.However, upon completion of his first few years and more notably, as a member of the unsuccessful football team, John suffered an injury to his shoulder that would have likely cost him his entire football career. Had he opted for surgery, as was recommended by three different doctors, the fate of John and his beloved team would have most certainly been altered.
During his senior year, however, at the recommendation of one more doctor and urged by first-year coach, Ara Parseghian, John decided against surgery, allowing his shoulder to rest instead. This decision bought him time to regain strength and return to the football field, hailing an endless flurry of victories thereafter.
With the help of his strategically “mined” team, John and Ara led the Fighting Irish to an
impressive 9-1 season. At a crossroads where the course of his life could have changed,
John found unwavering support and sound advice. The ripple effect of such advice led
him to win coveted awards, play on more than five professional football teams, and grow
his most beloved prize to date: his family.Now more than 54 years later, the gracious
alumni has found the opportunity to give back.
About Arizona Tile
Founded in 1977 in San Diego, California, Arizona Tile has grown into a nationally recognized commercial and residential distributor with more than 25 showrooms throughout eight Western states. Arizona Tile is one of the largest independently-owned importers of stone in the United States, offering more than 230 varieties of granite, travertine, slate, marble, limestone and quartz, plus unique glass mosaics, porcelain tile and other design creations. Founded by John Huarte, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, the company is still family-owned after more than 40 years.