Nov. 16, 2004
The University of Notre Dame official athletics site, www.und.com , continues its tribute today to the school’s celebration of 100 Seasons of Basketball. Spanning the entirety of the college basketball season, www.und.com, 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 www.ndcatalog.com).
# 5 (Friday, Nov. 19, 2004)
Notre Dame Basketball Trivia Answer
Against which team did Austin Carr become the first (and only) Notre Dame player to score 50 points in a game during the 1970 season?
A. King’s College (Pa.)
D. Miami (Ohio)
Carr dropped 50 on Jan. 14, 1970, in a 96-73 victory versus C. DePaul. He connected on 20 of 29 shots from the floor and 11 of 14 from the foul line for 51 points, and would eclipse that mark five more times in ’70.
Just 21 days later Carr helps Notre Dame set the school record for points in a game, as the Irish crush St. Peter’s 135-88. Carr posts 44 points and a career-best 16 rebounds in the contest.
As a precursor for tonight’s 2004-05 season opener against Harvard, we look back to the last time the Irish and Crimson met. It has happened only once, in 1942, when Notre Dame (led by Robert Faught) defeated Harvard 39-31 in the Fieldhouse.
Note: Notre Dame 100 Years Basketball Trivia questions will be posted every Thursday, with the answer following on Friday.
#4 (Thursday, Nov. 18, 2004)
1994 – Notre Dame Joins The BIG EAST Conference
It was no secret that Notre Dame Basketball was struggling. Fiercely independent for much of its history, the Irish basketball program was at a crossroads in the early 1990’s. The team was missing out on potential recruits who were looking for schools which play in a conference, compete in a league postseason tournament and were assured of national television coverage.
In 1995, the Irish lost more games than they had won since Digger Phelps left the program in 1991.
Even Notre Dame’s athletic director at the time, Dick Rosenthal, still thought the Irish could thrive as an independent.
“We could have continued to be a strong presence in a non-conference environment in basketball. We could certainly schedule and play some great teams. The opportunities to excel were there,” Rosenthal said.
In the end, however, the basketball scheduling struggles and recruiting struggles, along with an increased excellence in Olympic sports at Notre Dame, dictated the move to the BIG EAST Conference.
It turned into a perfect fit as Notre Dame’s Olympic sports (save for fencing, hockey, men’s lacrosse and football) continued to thrive and the men’s basketball team has reached continued heights. In fact, during a three-year span beginning in 2000-01, Notre Dame was the only BIG EAST team to win 10 league games each season.
The move to the BIG EAST Conference was not an easy one, however. Under head coach John MacLeod, Notre Dame finished 4-14 in its first BIG EAST season (1995-96). The Irish moved to 8-10 the next season, but were then stuck in neutral with a 7-11 record in 1997-98 and a 8-10 in 1998-99.
MacLeod would finally strike some recruiting gold in the 1998-99 season when eventual two-time BIG EAST Player of the Year Troy Murphy signed to attend Notre Dame along with David Graves and Harold Swanagan. He also signed Matt Carroll, who (along with Murphy) is as been named one of the 25 greatest players in school history and led the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 as a senior in 2003.
MacLeod would move on from Notre Dame before his recruiting class would come into its own. Matt Doherty assumed the reigns for one season, helping Notre Dame to its first winning record in BIG EAST play (8-8) during the 1999-2000 campaign. After Doherty left to join his alma mater North Carolina a year later, Mike Brey assumed control of the Irish program and has led the team to three NCAA Championship appearances in four years and a 40-24 record in BIG EAST play.
The future looks even brighter for Brey and the Irish, who have recovered from a 27-45 start in the first four years of BIG EAST play to post a 48-32 record since.
Rosenthal summed up the move for Notre Dame perfectly: “It was a win-win situation for us all the way. We could very substantially improve the environment for our basketball program, although I think basketball, like football, could have remained a factor as an independent. It was a unique and super opportunity for basketball, and it also was a great opportunity for us to move all of our Olympic sports into an environment where they could qualify for national tournaments.”
#3 (Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004)
Instant Classic: Keogan Leads Irish Through Two National Championships
After catching the eye of athletic director/football coach Knute Rockne in 1920 when his Valparaiso football team led mighty Notre Dame 3-0 at halftime, George Keogan was eventually hired by Rockne in 1923 to lead the Notre Dame basketball program.
Keogan immediately modernized the game for Notre Dame, taking the team off campus to practice (at this time the Fieldhouse was covered by a dirt floor). The Fieldhouse was eventually expanded in 1925, allowing the Irish to return to campus for games and practices.
When Keogan was hired, Notre Dame had endured six losing seasons (34-66 record). By his third year, however, he had transformed Notre Dame into a national power with a 19-1 record.
The Helms Athletic Foundation (a panel of basketball experts) was founded in 1936 to declare a national champion from 1901-82. Now defunct, the Helms Foundation declared the national champion until 1937, when the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) was formed. Eventually, the NIT gave was to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) tournament and eventually the NCAA Championship in 1940.
The Helms Foundation did declare Notre Dame the National Champion in 1927 (with a 19-1 mark) and 1936 (with a 22-2-1 record).
Keogan’s ’27 team was led by senior All-American center John Nyikos, who averaged 8.6 points per game. This was the era when a center tip followed each made basket. By ’36, Keogan’s teams were known for their offense – dubbed the `point-a-minute’ team – and averaged 42.1 per contest compared to 27.1 for their opponents.
One of the biggest highlights on Keogan’s resume was a 7-1 record against Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp. He also coached Ray Meyer, who moved on to legendary coaching honors at DePaul.
Like the man who hired him, Keogan died tragically while still coaching at Notre Dame. He passed away on Feb. 17, 1943, at age 52, just after conducting a practice. Keogan has been inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame and boasts an all-time winning percentage of .771 (327-97-1).
#2 (Tuesday, Nov. 16)
Notre Dame Basketball’s First Academic All-American
A member of Notre Dame’s all-century team (the 25 greatest players in school history), Bob Arnzen (pictured on the right) played forward for the Irish from 1966-69. The Fort Thomas, Ky., native averaged 20.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game during his career and is remembered as Notre Dame’s first basketball Academic All-American – and the program’s only three-time honoree.
Arnzen’s personal highlight was a 76-74 overtime loss to Dayton in the NIT during the 1968 season. But he remembers the players he was on the floor with as well.
“But other highlights were about the players and the coaches,” Arnzen says.
“Playing with Bob Whitmore and Dwight Murphy and Austin Carr… all of these fellows were great people who had a big influence on my life, people who I still stay in touch with.”
Arnzen played both professional baseball and basketball after graduating from Notre Dame and eventually settled back in Fort Thomas, Ky.
#1 (Monday, Nov. 15)
First Interhall Game Played
Today’s first feature traces the beginning of Notre Dame basketball at the University. The first interhall game was played in January of 1896 when Brownson Hall defeated Carroll Hall 5-0.
Notre Dame’s first ‘official’ game resulted in a 64-8 loss to the First Regiment of Chicago in 1898. The team was made up with players from Brownson, Carroll and Sorin Halls on campus.
The first basketball victory for Notre Dame was earned on Feb. 16, 1898, when the Irish defeated Rush Medical 16-13.
While the Irish basketball origins during this time were somewhat disorganized (run mostly by students), the foundation for one of the winningest programs in college basketball history was being laid.