Mother of the Huddle

Author: Lisa Wenzel


Forty-four years ago, Helen Hiatt came to the Huddle for a job interview. “I thought I would be there for an hour or so, but the manager at that time, Mr. Farrell, asked me if I could start that day,” said Hiatt. She has been at the Huddle ever since.

Celebrating her 90th birthday next June, Hiatt, who is legally blind, works the lunch crowd from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, “except on football Fridays, they don’t have me come in”. Her job is to make sure the dining area is stocked with straws, silverware, napkins, etc.

“When I started in 1967, my first job was working at the cigarette counter, where we sold cigarettes, fruit and gum. I worked there for many years until Notre Dame stopped selling cigarettes.  Then they moved me to another cash register”, said Hiatt. “The football players would stop in after practice and come to me with their problems.  Both Joe Theismann and Joe Montana called me their second mother, and from there I became known as  “Mother of the Huddle”. Now, some of the professors’ children call me “Grandmother of the Huddle”.

When asked what has changed in forty-four years, Hiatt replied, “everything”. Her favorite part of her job is the people. “Everyone is so good to me, and my manager, Jim, is the best”, said Hiatt.