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Nix brings larger-than-life personality to Notre Dame

Published: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 9:21 a.m. CDT

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (MCT) — As Louis Nix crossed through a parking lot near Notre Dame’s performing arts center, a car passed by. Then it slowed down. Then it pulled a U-turn. It cruised toward the Irish’s 340-pound planetoid nose guard, its passengers shouting his name through the windows.

Confused, Nix walked over. There he met a husband and wife, both Notre Dame alumni, both very excited. Not every day does one meet the creator of YouTube sensation “Chocolate News.”

Oh, my God, my kids watch your show all the time, the husband gushed. We love you, man. Keep making them.

“That was unexpected to me,” Nix said, “but it made me happy.”

This is the goal in the considerable orbit of Louis Nix, aka “Irish Chocolate,” purveyor of “Chocolate News” Episodes 1-5, persnickety connoisseur of sugary cereals, and this week, would-be Wildcat quarterback.

Nix wants to make you happy. He aims to please, then on Saturdays maims to please.

“This big, mammoth of a man who had a kid-like personality,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said, when asked about his first impression of Nix. “He’s just added a lot of maturity to that kid-like personality.”

The Saturday part is as consistent as ever because Nix is as comfortable as ever. It’s possible time behind and in front of a camera helped with that, Nix finding a way to let everyone in.

Enter “Chocolate News.”

“People don’t really get to see much of what we do behind the scenes,” Nix said. “Enough people ask me, what do you guys do? They want to know about my life and how we do things. So I just wanted to show people. So they don’t have to pay for it, you know?”

The first episode involved food shopping with teammates. Another was a pint-sized documentary of Notre Dame’s trip to Ireland. Another, an 80-second interview with Kelly shortly after the coach’s back surgery, has received more than 34,000 views.

“It’s definitely a comfort zone for him,” said Ted Mandell, who taught Nix in an introductory film and television production class. “He’s good at it, and he enjoys it. Creative people need creative outlets. Maybe ‘Chocolate News’ is that.”

Mandell also recruited Nix for (and directed him in) one of the school’s “Student. Athlete. Irish.” promo videos, vignettes aimed at highlighting personality rather than performance.

It was through this that the world learned Nix eats Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal as a game-day ritual.

Four bowls of it. Maybe five.

“That’s my weakness, man,” Nix said. “If they don’t have it, I get cranky. I don’t want to eat Honey Bunches of Oats.”

Said Mandell: “He’s original. Maybe that’s the word.”

On Nix’s first visit to Notre Dame from Jacksonville, Fla., it was cold and he hated it. Then came another visit, a decommitment from Miami to the Irish, challenges with his diet and his approach and an ill-advised tweet about a Delta flight that, as Nix lamented, made “the whole Notre Dame nation go crazy.”

This is backdrop now. Nix at last is front and center, happy and thriving in a comfort zone.

“A couple family members were like, ‘Just go with your heart,’ and I did,” Nix said, when asked about choosing Notre Dame over Miami. “I think I made the best decision of my life at this point.”

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