Chris Thomas ended his career as Notre Dame's all-time leader in assists, steals, three-point field goals, games played and games started.

100 Years Remembered In 100 Days

March 18, 2005

The University of Notre Dame official athletics site, , continues its tribute today to the school’s celebration of 100 Seasons of Basketball. Spanning the entirety of the college basketball season,, will update this section of the site every weekday 100 times in an effort to highlight Notre Dame’s 100th Basketball Season in 2004-05.

The updates will change between trivia questions, quick bios from Notre Dame’s all-century team, various “On this date in Notre Dame Basketball” elements and more.

Also available this season is the book 100 Seasons of Basketball, produced by the University of Notre Dame Sports Information Office and Notre Dame Sports Properties. The book is available exclusively through the Notre Dame Bookstore (call 800-647-4641 or to go

#94 (Friday, March 18, 2005)

Legend of the Hardwood – Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas, the first Notre Dame basketball player to wear jersey #1, selected a perfect number for his playing career. Having just recently finished his Irish career, Thomas accomplished a number of program firsts – and ranks #1 on many Irish career statistical rankings.

Thomas is Notre Dame’s all-time leader in assists, assist average, steals, steal average, consecutive games started, career starts, three point field goals made and free throw percentage. The first Indiana Mr. Basketball to play for the Irish, Thomas became only the third play in Division I basketball history to record 2,000 points and 800 assists in a career (the other two were Sherman Douglas and Gary Payton).

Though the team disappointment during Thomas’ final season with the Irish is still fresh in most fan’s memories, history will show that Thomas easily established himself among Notre Dame’s all-time great players. He led the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 as a sophomore, recorded the only triple-double in Notre Dame history in his first collegiate game and he joined Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley, Pat Garrity, David Rivers and Troy Murphy in the 2,000-point club.

Also – on this date in Notre Dame Basketball history –
(including dates that fall over the upcoming weekend)
March 18, 1979 – After reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year – joining the 1952-53 and 1953-54 units as the only Irish teams to accomplish the feat – Notre Dame loses to eventual national champ and Magic Johnson-led Michigan State, 80-68.

March 19, 1978 – Paced by Midwest Regional MVP Kelly Tripuka’s 22 points, the Irish advance to the Final Four for the first time with a convincing 84-64 pounding of #3 DePaul in Lawrence, Kansas. The Irish had routed Southwest Conference champion Houston (100-77) and Utah (69-56) to advance to the regional final (this team will be featured in the 100th update in this feature).

March 18, 1981 – One of the most infamous and painful moments in Irish basketball occurs as Danny Ainge’s full-court drive and lay up as time expires lifts BYU to a second-round NCAA Tournament victory and abruptly ends the college careers of the Kelly Tripuka-Orlando Woolridge-Tracy Jackson class.

March 20, 1971 – The Austin Carr era ends with a 119-106 loss to Houston in the consolation round of the Midwest regional in Wichita, Kansas. Carr scores 45 points to finish with a 34.6 career average, the second highest in NCAA basketball history. His 41.7 scoring average in seven NCAA tournament games remains the best ever.


#95 (Monday, March 21, 2005)

Legend of the Hardwood – Kelly Tripuka

#93 (Thursday, March 17, 2005)


Legend of the Hardwood – Jack Stephens

Jack Stephens was the quintessential point guard for the Irish basketball teams in the 1950s. Part of Notre Dame’s influx of talent from the Chicago Catholic League (prompted by head coach John Jordan), Stephens captained the Irish as a senior in 1954-55.

Out of Chicago Mt. Carmel, Stephens averaged 15.5 points during his career, including 20.9 as a senior (surpassing Dick Rosenthal as Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer). He still ranks 21st on ND’s all-time scoring list with 1,314 points.

Part of Stephens’ legacy at Notre Dame was leading the Irish through two upsets of Indiana – what UCLA was to college basketball in the 1970s, the Hoosier were to college basketball in the 1950s. Notre Dame defeated #1 Indiana 65-64 in the 1954 NCAA Tournament, close to a year after Stephens’ full-court drive knocked off the Hoosiers 71-70 during the regular season.

Stephens also saw action on the gridiron for the Irish. He broke through Purdue’s wedge to force a fumble on the opening kickoff in Notre Dame’s 26-14 victory over the #9 Boilermakers on Oct. 18, 1952.

“I’m one of the few guys who can say he started a football game and basketball game for Notre Dame within a six-week span,” Stephens said.

After the ’52 season, Stephens concentrated on basketball, eventually earning All-America recognition from the Helms Foundation following the 1954-55 season.

#92 (Wednesday, March 16, 2005)

Legend of the Hardwood – John Shumate

John Shumate had a strong effect on the Notre Dame basketball program. Not only during his excellent playing career, but for the players he coached during some of Notre Dame’s top seasons in the 1980s. He also overcame a series of major illnesses to star in an Irish uniform.

After averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds per game as a freshman, Shumate suffered a near fatal infection and blood clot around in heart in September of 1971, an illness that caused him to lose 45 pounds and miss the 1971-72 season.

He returned to full stamina in January of 1973, when the Irish made an incredible run to the championship game of the NIT. Shumate earned MVP honors in the tournament, shooting 38 of 51 from the field in four games – including one stretch of 20 consecutive field goals made in wins over Louisville and North Carolina – a Notre Dame record that still stands.

Shumate played a key role in Notre Dame’s legendary upset of UCLA, ending the Bruins 88-game win streak in 1974, with 24 points against perennial All-American Bill Walton. For the 1973-74 season, Shumate led the team with 24 points and 11 rebounds per game and was named a first-team All-American.

After leaving Notre Dame with one year of eligibility remaining (but his degree in hand), Shumate played seven years in the NBA before returning to coach at Notre Dame from 1981-83 and 1986-88. He is back with the Suns organization (who selected him with the fourth overall pick in 1974).

Also – on this date in Notre Dame Basketball history –
March 16, 1968 – In its first appearance in the 16-team National Invitational Tournament, Notre Dame reaches the 20-win mark in a season for the first time since 1958 with a 62-58 victory over Army. The 20-4 Cadets had led the nation in scoring defense under head coach Bob Knight. The Irish finish third in the NIT.

March 16, 1990 – An NCAA Tournament first-round loss to Virginia (75-67) ends Notre Dame’s season with a 16-13 record. It would be the last appearance in the Big Dance for a school-record 11 years.

March 16, 2001 – Sophomore Matt Carroll scores 21 points while juniors David Graves, Troy Murphy and Ryan Humphrey add 20, 19 and 15, respectively, as #19 Notre Dame defeats Xavier, 83-71, in first-round NCAA Tournament action in Kansas City. It is the school’s first appearance in the tourney in 11 years, and the first victory in 12.

#91 (Tuesday, March 15, 2005)

Legend of the Hardwood – Walt Sahm

In similar fashion to Austin Carr’s scoring production, Walt Sahm’s rebounding numbers will never be approached at Notre Dame. His career average of 16.9 rebounds per game and his single-game high of 30 will most likely never be eclipsed.

“I studied everything Bill Russell said about rebounding,” Sahm said. “For example, 75 to 80 percent of all shots at one side of the basket would come out on the other side. I anticipated and worked to get to the spot first, and I was coached very well in high school in the rebounding aspect.”

Sham (1961-65) enrolled at Notre Dame with Ron Reed and Larry Sheffield and the trio became the first three players in one class to each post 1,000 career points. Notre Dame made the 25- and 23-team NCAA Tournament in two of Sahm’s varsity seasons (1963 and 1965) and one of Sahm’s favorite memories was Creighton’s Paul Silas lauding the Irish big man for outplaying him in a head-to-head duel.

Sahm averaged a double-double all three of his varsity seasons and joins Tom Hawkins as the only Irish players to average 15 points and 15 rebounds a game during their careers.

#90 (Monday, March 14, 2005)

Legend of the Hardwood – Dick Rosenthal

Dick Rosenthal captained the 1953-54 Notre Dame basketball team fifty years ago and helped the team rattle off an 18-game win streak and defeated #1 Indiana to advance to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament.

After scoring 12.7 points per game as a sophomore, Rosenthal adapted to Division I interior basketball and increased his production to 16.3 as a junior and 20.2 as a senior.

When he completed his collegiate career in 1954, he ranked as Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer with 1,227 points and a 16.4 average.

Rosenthal returned to his alma mater to serve as Notre Dame’s athletic director from 1987-95.

Also – on this date in Notre Dame Basketball history –
March 14, 1970 – The #9 Irish conclude their season 21-8 after a 121-106 loss to Iowa in the consolation game of the Mideast regional. Johnny Dee’s squad finishes with a 93.5 scoring average, the best in school annals and fifth nationally. They also yield 86.1 points per contest, another school record.

March 14, 1974 – Despite John Shumate’s 34 points and 17 rebounds, Michigan stuns Notre Dame, 77-68, in second round NCAA tournament action. The Irish finish 26-3 after a consolation victory and place #3 in the AP, their highest ranking in a final wire service poll. Digger Phelps is named Coach of the Year by the UPI and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association.

March 14, 1985 – Notre Dame hosts the NCAA first-round 79-70 conquest of the A.C. Green-led Oregon State Beavers. It is the first time the Irish play at home in an NCAA Tournament game. They would lose at home in the second round two days later to North Carolina, 60-58.

March 14, 1987 – Six David Rivers three-pointers enable the Irish to squeak by TCU, 58-57, and into the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16, where they fall to North Carolina, 74-68.

Previous 100 Years in 100 Days updates:

Week 15 (#85-#90) Austin Carr Week

Week 14 (#80-#84)

Week 13 (#75-#79)

Week 12 (#70-#74)

Week 11 (#65-#69)

Week 10 (#60-#64)

Week Nine (#55-#59)

Week Eight (#50-#54) ND – UCLA ’74

Week Seven (#45-#49)

Week Six (#39-#44)

12 Days of a Notre Dame Basketball Christmas (#27-#39)

Week Five (#21-25)

Week Four (#16 – #20)

Week Three (#11 – #15)

Week Two (#6 – #10)

Week One (#1 – #5)