Head Coach Weiss welcomes fantasy football campers to West Bend.

Fighting Irish Coaches and Former Players Join Young At Heart Enthusiasts at ND Football Fantasy Camp

Whether they are college players at the top of their game, or middle-aged football fanatics simply living a dream to play at Notre Dame Stadium – excitement always builds during the countdown to game day. On Wednesday, June 25, a group of 50 Fighting Irish devotees who are never too old to enjoy themselves on the football field will kick off the 2008 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp. And they are excited. “So far I only have 55 people coming to the game,” joked Steve Filbert, aged 59 from South Bend, IN. “They’re just a few family and friends.” Filbert is by no means the camp’s elder statesman, with 14 of his fellow determined athletes aged 60 or older. The oldest participant is sophomore Artie Dumesnil from Terrytown, Louisiana, who signs in at 72 years young, closely followed by junior Larry Leamy, 71, from Marshall, MI. “You are never too old to put on a jersey and become a football player again,” said organizer Patrick Steenberge, himself a former Irish quarterback (’70-’71). “I never tire of seeing the look of excitement on the campers’ faces when they see their names above a locker, or tread where Notre Dame legends have gone before them.” The entire Notre Dame coaching staff will pass on their cumulative wealth of knowledge to the Fantasy Camp participants as will several former Fighting Irish Stars, including: Mike McCoy (DT, All-American, NFL career with Green Bay, Oakland, NY Giants, Detroit), Frank Stams (LB, captain of the ’88 national championship team), Terry Andrysiak (QB ’84-’87 who won his first three starts for the Irish), Kris Haines (WR, Joe Montana’s favorite target, NFL career with Chicago, Buffalo, Washington), Reggie Brooks (RB with the ’88 national champions, NFL career with Washington, Tampa Bay), Dave Casper (TE, All-American, Hall of Fame NFL career with Oakland, 5 Pro Bowls) Another former player who will swell the coaching ranks and who knows exactly how things tick within the Fighting Irish fraternity is former Notre Dame linebacker Scott Kowalkowski, who has taken part in previous camps and will return to South Bend this week. More…. “I truly had a wonderful time hanging out with the guys watching them live their lifelong dream of playing in Notre Dame Stadium,” said the former Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles veteran. “Before I coached at the camp, I had not been on the field since my senior year and was equally thrilled to have the opportunity to relive my college experience.” And it is not only former college football stars who have a passion for the camp, but also businessmen who find time to live out their dreams on the football field, such as Marty Allen, Chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. “I have been involved in many large events over the years – particularly in my relationship with President Ford – but none was run more efficiently and effectively,” he said of the Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp. “The campers, the coaches, and staff were a delight to be with.” For the sixth year in succession, an eclectic group of young at heart football enthusiasts, whose ages range from 24 to 72, will put themselves through three days of practices and meetings before playing a competitive 60-minute flag football game in Notre Dame Stadium. The field where they faithfully watch the stars of college football excel during the fall will become the platform for a unique moment of football glory of their own. During the five days from June 25-29, the campers will interact with some of the legends of Notre Dame Football. They will have a team meeting with Head Coach Charlie Weis and dress in official team apparel for four practices, with instruction from current staff and former star players. They will have daily use of the varsity locker room in Notre Dame Stadium, and will eat, sleep and breathe, just as the Fighting Irish football stars do during their season. A total of 26 veterans – classed as sophomores, juniors and seniors – will return to South Bend and joining them will be seven four-year and five-year Alumni Lettermen, a group of old hands still gripped by the Fighting Irish spirit who though not actually playing, want to be there to cheer on their friends. There are 17 freshmen from as far away as California, Florida, Hawaii and Texas who will be welcomed to the fantasy camp for the first time. The unique Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp experience costs $5490 and is the ideal gift for that father, son or husband who has everything else! Editor’s Note: Please contact Michael Preston (781-363-0305) for more information and to receive photographs from the Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp. Event organizer Patrick Steenberge (817-219-7274) will be available onsite to accommodate media requests.