Oct. 1, 2004
By Craig Chval
CATCHING UP WITH ….. “FLING AND CLING” – Terry Hanratty AND JIM SEYMOUR
Neither the passage of time nor hundreds of miles has disrupted the rhythm and timing of Terry Hanratty and Jim Seymour.
It has been nearly 40 years since the duo made their spectacular debut against Purdue in Notre Dame Stadium. Widely acclaimed as the missing ingredients in a Notre Dame team destined for glory, the two sophomores more than lived up to their billing.
Seymour caught 13 of Hanratty’s passes as the Irish pounded 8th-ranked Purdue 26-14. Seymour’s 13 catches and his 276 receiving yards still stand as Notre Dame single-game records.
By November, the undefeated Irish were atop the national polls. Hanratty and Seymour, nicknamed “Fling and Cling” by Notre Dame rookie Sports Information Director Roger Valdiserri, were on the cover of Time magazine.
The pair was tremendously gifted, but worked hard for their great success. Between the practice fields and the Old Fieldhouse, Hanratty threw thousands of passes to Seymour. By the time they debuted against the Boilermakers, Seymour knew exactly when to break off his route and Hanratty knew exactly when to let fly.
Today, Hanratty can start a sentence, only to have Seymour finish it for him without missing a beat. Each recalls feeling pretty good about the season-opening win over the Boilermakers, until the Irish coaching staff critiqued the game film.
“Sunday night.. ” remembers Hanratty.
” …. we found out just how many mistakes we made in that game,” interjects Seymour.
“We came out of that film room feeling like we had lost the game,” laughs Hanratty.
Not only did the Irish not lose that day, they didn’t lose at all in 1966, clinching the national championship with a season-ending 51-0 annihilation of Southern California.
Both players sing the same tune when it comes to giving credit for their accomplishments and the team’s gaudy record. Each point to Irish head coach Ara Parseghian as the most important factor in that success.
“Ara let us be us,” explains Hanratty..
Seymour agrees. “And Ara had a great staff,” he says.
“Ara stressed preparation,” elaborates Hanratty. “We were never surprised by anything that happened in a game.”
“The games were actually a relief,” claims Seymour. “We were practicing against the best defense in the country all year. Johnny Ray, our defensive coordinator, hated it when anybody made his defense look bad, even in practice. And we weren’t able to do that very often.”
The duo may not have made Johnny Ray’s pride and joy look bad too often in practice, but Hanratty and Seymour made plenty of opposing defenses look sick.
At the close of their three-year careers (under NCAA rules, freshmen were ineligible to play in those days), Seymour and Hanratty owned a host of Notre Dame records. In addition to his single game records for receptions and receiving yards, Seymour graduated with the most receptions in Notre Dame history (he currently stands second behind Tom Gatewood). Hanratty graduated as Notre Dame’s all-time leader in passing and total offense (he now stands fifth and seventh, respectively, in those categories).
Hanratty finished in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy balloting at the close of each of his three seasons, capped by a third-place finish as a senior in 1968. Both players received first-team All-America recognition during their final season at Notre Dame.
Jim Seymour is second on Notre Dame’s all-time receiving list with 138 catches for 2,113 yards and 16 touchdowns. Only Tom Gatewood ’71 has more catches than Seymour.
Both played for several years in the NFL before retiring and entering private business. Seymour established an insurance business in the Chicago area. Meanwhile, Hanratty has found that the ability to make split-second decisions as a college and professional quarterback is serving him well as a stock trader.
Recent years have seen Seymour’s son (one of three) and Hanratty’s daughter (one of four) in the same Notre Dame graduating class. Seymour is now involving his children in his insurance business and enjoying his grandchildren.
“Jimmy retired and I started another family,” jokes Hanratty in reference to his grade school age son and daughter to go with three adult daughters.
Coaching has kept Hanratty away from Notre Dame Stadium for the past few seasons, while Seymour is a regular fixture.
Nonetheless, they both still see the same things when they watch the game.
“Nobody throws the ball deep anymore,” laments Hanratty. “And if I were playing today, I’d never use a huddle …..”
” …. so the defense wouldn’t be able to substitute the way they do,” explains Seymour.
“Exactly,” agrees Hanratty.
And just like that, it’s Hanratty-to-Seymour all over again.
CATCHING UP WITH ….. GEORGE GOEDDEKE
George Goeddeke was usually right in the middle of everything.
As the All-American center on Notre Dame’s 1966 national championship team that was to be expected. But outside the lines, Goeddeke defied the stereotype of offensive linemen as being serious. Stories abound of Goeddeke’s off-the-field adventures.
“I was very uninhibited,” Goeddeke admits.
In some ways, Goeddeke’s antics off the field were just as important to Notre Dame’s success as his all-star performance on the field. Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian was known as a tough taskmaster who fielded well-prepared teams. Even so, Parseghian saw fit to cut Goeddeke and his teammates some slack.
“We would run through walls for Ara,” says Goeddeke. “While we were on the field, we played disciplined football.
“Having a little fun off the field helped provide a release for some of that pressure, and I think Ara understood that.”
Every once in a while, Goeddeke found himself the victim of some hi-jinks. One example illustrated how his brand of leadership helped build a cohesive football team.
“One night before a game we were at Moreau Seminary,” recalls Goeddeke. “After the team watched a movie, those of us who imbibed in nicotine would sneak up on to the roof for a cigarette.
“I got back to my room to go to sleep and Terry Hanratty jumped out of the closet. I just about jumped out of my skin,” Goeddeke laughs.
Hanratty, of course, was the sophomore star quarterback on the ’66 team. He and his classmate Jim Seymour received the lion’s share of publicity on that team, including a cover shot on TIME magazine.
The situation could have been a disaster, but not to Goeddeke’s way of thinking.
“We all trusted Ara,” he explains. “If these guys were going to take us to the promised land, that was fine with us.”
Goeddeke later played seven seasons with the NFL’s Denver Broncos. Since then, he’s made his home near Detroit with his wife Geneva. The couple, married for 35 years, has five adult children and a sixth-grade son – a “bonus baby” as Goeddeke puts it.
“He keeps us on our toes,” Goeddeke laughs.
“God has been very good to us and we thank Him every day.”