Jan. 9, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Mirko Jurkovic, a consensus All-America offensive guard for the University of Notre Dame football team in 1991 and a monogram-winner on the 1988 Irish national championship squad, died at 5:50 p.m. Wednesday in Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (Mishawaka, Ind.) after a battle with cancer. He was 42.
A 6-4, 289-pound, four-year monogram-winner from Calumet City, Ill., Jurkovic started at offensive guard in 1990 and ’91 for the Irish. After earning a letter at defensive tackle in 1988 (he backed up left tackle George Williams) he made the move to guard his sophomore season and played more minutes than any other offensive lineman other than the Irish starting five.
As a senior in 1991 he helped the Irish rank sixth nationally in rushing at 269.1 yards per game, playing with a unit that also included tackles Lindsay Knapp and Justin Hall, guard Aaron Taylor and center Gene McGuire. They led the way for a backfield that included leading rusher Jerome Bettis (he ranked fourth nationally in scoring that season) and captain Rodney Culver.
Jurkovic played on teams that won the Fiesta Bowl over West Virginia following the 1988 season, won the Orange Bowl against Colorado after the ’89 campaign and defeated Florida in the Sugar Bowl to finish the ’91 season. He was part of Notre Dame’s record 23-game win streak in 1988 and ’89–and played on four teams (1988-91) that combined for a 43-7 record (.860) under Hall of Fame head coach Lou Holtz. Those four teams finished first, second, sixth and 13th in the final Associated Press polls for those seasons.
After his senior campaign in 1991, Jurkovic was a first-team All-America selection byUnited Press International, the Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News, Football News, NEA (Newspaper Enterprise Association)–and a second-team pick by AP.
He was named the Notre Dame Lineman of the Year by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation as a senior in ’91. He played in the Hula Bowl in 1992, then became a ninth-round selection of the Chicago Bears in the 1992 NFL Draft and played with the Bears in `92.
Jurkovic has provided analysis of Notre Dame football in recent years for UND.com both on its syndicated radio pre- and post-game shows and via video offerings. He also provided color commentary for one game in 2012 on the IMG Notre Dame Football Radio Network.
Jurkovic’s older brother John played football at Eastern Illinois and for the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns and currently works for ESPN 1000 in Chicago as a sports radio talk-show host.
Both Jurkovics attended Thornton Fractional North High School in Calumet City, Ill.
Jurkovic graduated with a degree in marketing from the College of Business Administration at Notre Dame.
He is survived by his wife Angi and their three children–Mirko Jr., Claire and Samantha.
Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. EST Friday (Jan. 11) at McGann Hay Funeral Home, 13260 Indiana State Road 23, in Granger, Ind.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 12) at Saint Pius X Catholic Church, 52553 Fir Road, in Granger.
Interment will be at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the Notre Dame campus.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mirko Jurkovic Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.
— ND —