President Marc Kelly.

Highlights of Annual Monogram Club Dinner

June 13, 2007


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The annual Notre Dame Monogram Club dinner took place Thursday evening, May 31, in the Joyce Center’s Sports Heritage Hall, with an overflow crowd in attendance. The group of monogram winners was treated to remarks from outgoing president Julie Doyle, incoming president Marc Kelly, men’s basketball coach Mike Brey and football coach Charlie Weis. The event also featured the presentation of the organization’s highest honor, the Edward “Moose” Krause Distinguished Service Award, to former football All-American Jerome Bettis, as well as a special tribute of appreciation to longtime Monogram Club board member Marty Allen.

Monogram Club honorary member Bob Nagle served as the master of ceremonies for the event, with Fr. Bill Seetch, C.S.C., kicking off the evening with an invocation. After dinner, Monogram Club executive director Jim Fraleigh addressed the group, not only thanking the club’s staff for their dedicated service, but also taking a moment to recognize the life-long efforts of Allen.

Excerpts from Jim Fraleigh’s Address
“When I was asked to fill the role of executive director of the Monogram Club, I was told one of the most enjoyable things that I have the opportunity to do is go around the country and talk at different events and occasionally recognize the accomplishments of very special people, individuals or groups of individuals on behalf of the Club, based on their service to the Club, the university or their community. Little did I know how many special people I would have the opportunity to meet and recognize in my two short years. I have the distinct privilege of recognizing an individual who I have come to know as a friend, colleague and mentor. This individual has done more than his share of service to the Club, the University, his community and the state. At this time I would like to ask Marty Allen to join me.”

“In our meeting Wednesday, the Monogram Club Board recently passed a resolution recognizing the accomplishments and service of former President Gerald R. Ford, an honorary member of the Monogram Club who passed away this past year. The board presented the resolution to Marty and asked he share it with Mrs. Ford and the entire Ford family. For those of you who may not know, for many years Marty served as the chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation as well as the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During his tenure, he grew close to President Ford and the Ford family. So much so, he was asked to take charge of the planning and logistics for the funeral of President Ford. For those of you that do not know, that takes some 10-15 years of planning, refined planning and more refined planning. Those services took place in California, Washington, D.C. and Grand Rapids. For those of you who all saw the coverage of the funeral services, I am sure you will agree that they were handled with the most grace, respect and honor as possible. The club and nation have Marty Allen to thank for that. “

Allen’s devotion and skillful leadership has helped to oversee a dramatic increase in the professionalism of the Monogram Club while helping to increase membership benefits. A former recipient of Notre Dame’s Exemplar Award and the Alumni Association’s Harvey Foster Award (recognizing service to both his alma mater and the community), Allen also served as a United States Navy lieutenant and currently is chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Allen planned and flawlessly implemented the funeral ceremonies for President Ford that occurred in California, Michigan and Washington D.C., and he served as a pallbearer at the presidential funeral ceremony. The Monogram Club also conveyed a special tribute to the Ford family – fittingly delivered by Allen – in recognition of the former president who was an honorary member of the Monogram Club, honorary alum of Notre Dame, and had a long and close relationship with University President Emeritus, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Excerpts from Marty Allen’s Address
“Let me tell you this ladies and gentlemen, this was all a labor of love. He may have blessed me, but let me tell you he loved Notre Dame. He was very close to Father Hesburgh. He was very close to Moose Krause, actually played football with or against him in a college all-star game. He was a great champion of athletics, a great friend and when the NCAA named the Lifetime Achievement Award after him, I think it was so symbolic that one of the three recipients was Father Ted Hesburgh. Mrs. Ford will be first to hear about this, as will the children. He loved this place and I loved him.”

Next Doyle – a former volleyball player and the first female president of the Monogram Club – addressed the membership for the final time as president, highlighting some of the club’s accomplishments during her two-year term.

Excerpts from Julie Doyle’s Address
“Thank you to everyone that is here tonight and thank you for the privilege of serving as your president these past two years. It is bittersweet for me to stand before you tonight. The past two years have flown by and it is time now to turn the page and start a new chapter for the Monogram Club.”

“As I reflect back on the past two years, it is the people, events and the connection that will stick with me the most. I have met so many people, fellow athletes of all ages and sports, coaches, administrators that I never would of met had it not been for my experiences with the Monogram Club. It is safe to say that so many people have helped make up the fabric of my experience with the Club. From the late greats, who talked to me about what the athletic experience was all about in the 1940s and `50s, to the dedicated university and athletic administrators who show me the meaning of unwavering commitment to excellence, and to my fellow board members and Monogram Club presidents who came before me, paving the way and having faith in me.”

“Of the many events that have been part of my Monogram Club presidency, a few stand out above the others. I was able to have the opportunity to present the flag to the Irish Guard in front of 80,000+ football fans, being invited to be able to share the Monogram Club story, our story, all of our stories, to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees this past winter and being reminded of what a great story the Club has to tell. Awarding the football MVP to Brady Quinn for two years in a row, and presenting honorary monograms to many special people.”

“One of the most memorable events of all was the recent 35th Anniversary Celebration of Women’s Athletics. As you all know, Notre Dame went co-ed in 1972 and athletics was part of the tradition from the very beginning. From the first club sports to the transition to varsity teams to the recent national championships in fencing, soccer and basketball. There was much for us to celebrate. On April 27-29, over 150 former female athletes gathered at Notre Dame to reconnect and to reflect on each other’s stories.”

“The Monogram Club celebrates Notre Dame athletics in the past, present, and future.”

Doyle then introduced Kelly, the Monogram Club’s incoming president. Kelly took a few minutes to thank Doyle and her tireless efforts over the past two years with the Club.

Excerpts from Marc Kelly’s Address
“As our first female President, quite an honor. I would also like to share with you that at yesterday’s board meeting as a sign of the respect that her colleagues have for her, Julie got a two-minute standing ovation.”

“Julie has left some huge shoes to fill. You have raised the bar extremely high. I feel comfortable with this transition knowing that I have a person such as you to confide in and talk with, as well as other past presidents like Marty Allen, Mike Heaton and Jim Carroll. I have a great group of vice presidents, Dick Nussbaum and Joe Restic. I can assure you we have an outstanding group of directors that just got elected.”

“As I make the transition, it will be an easy transition for me because right now, the Club is a well-oiled machine, the bar has been raised so high. We go to national letterwinners’ conferences every year with universities that have similar types of clubs and they want to emulate Notre Dame. Texas, Michigan, USC, Wisconsin, they all want to do the things we do.”

“It is a special club and sometimes I think you have to sit back and realize how special it is. Of 100,000 living alumni of Notre Dame, only 6,000 have a monogram. That’s six-percent. That is a pretty special club that we are in.”

“You can see the power of the gold interlocking ND and realize all the good things we’re doing and that it is all for a good cause. We are helping a lot of people and changing a lot of lives.”

“I saw the power of the Monogram Club in work at the celebration of 35 years of women’s athletics and with respect to the honoraries.”

After Kelly addressed the membership for the first time as its president, men’s basketball coach Mike Brey took the stage.

Excerpts from Mike Brey’s Address
“It is certainly an honor to talk with you today. I came back from a very powerful experience, Operation Hardwood. A group of basketball coaches went over to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Being there for a week, living with the soldiers, it was a very powerful personal experience, but I think it was an extremely powerful experience for Notre Dame.”

“One theme was just so powerful and refreshing to hear. Certainly, we are bombarded with all the different thoughts on the war, with CNN, Fox and the debates. I was real intrigued to see how that might affect the soldiers’ morale. I coached a team for five days and we played eight games so you really got to know these kids. And, I emphasize kids. Not one time, and we spent a lot of time together from the dining hall to the barracks, did anybody hint `Coach, I can’t believe I am over here… I don’t believe in it’. I truly believe, after seeing it first hand, the U.S. military is the best example of team work that we have.”

Notre Dame Assistant Athletics Director Tony Yelovich then introduced Bettis to receive the Edward “Moose” Krause Distinguished Service Award.

The Detroit native totaled nearly 2,000 career rushing yards (1,912) in three seasons with the Irish football team before being selected with the 10th pick in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. Bettis was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Year for the 1993 season and also was voted to the Pro Bowl, an honor he would receive five more times (’94, ’96, ’97, 2001 and ’05) during his 13-year pro football career. He was named the NFL’s “Comeback Player of the Year” for the 1996 season after being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Shortly after helping the Steelers win Super Bowl XL (in 2005), Bettis retired with the fifth-most career rushing yards (13,662) in NFL history – trailing only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin.

Despite his many on-the-field successes, Bettis is even more beloved for his widespread service work and was honored by the NFL in 2002 with its Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes community service activities and excellence on the field. Six years earlier, he had founded “The Bus Stops Here Foundation,” an organization that bears his popular nickname. The foundation’s mission is to improve the overall quality of life for troubled and underprivileged children by offering opportunities to help them succeed in life. The two longest running programs of The Bus Stops Here Foundation are the Jerome Bettis Scholarship and the Jerome Bettis Pro Football Camp. The scholarship provides tuition assistance for a number of youth who are pursuing higher education, with funds raised annually through a golf classic that is hosted by Bettis. The football camp strives to teach children fundamental life skills by using football as a tool.

The foundation also established the highly-regarded Cyber Bus program, for which Bettis was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of humanities from Lawerence Technological University. The program has provided a number of Detroit-area middle and high school students with the skills to both build and use the latest computer technology.

The 35-year-old Bettis currently is the host of “The Jerome Bettis Show” on Pittsburgh’s WPXI-TV (Channel 11) and he is a commentator for the NFL Network while also serving as an NBC studio analyst on “Football Night in America.” His book, Driving Home: My Unforgettable Super Bowl Run, was published in September 2006.

Excerpts from Jerome Bettis’ Address
“It means a lot because I didn’t get to where I am alone. There were a lot of people along the way that have helped me. To receive an award for what I have been able to do to help others is important because people were able to do it for me.”

“It is special to me; this is where it all started. Learning how to play the game and also how to live the right way. This place was so great to me. It’s meant a lot to me and it has helped me to become the man I am and to receive an award like this, says that you are on the right path, you’re doing the right thing, but you still have a ways to go. We are still going to congratulate you on the things you have been able to accomplish, and the things you have been able to do and really being able to be proud of.”

“It’s hard for me to say no to different projects, and be involved in different things. I am from the community so I try to offer myself as much as I can so a lot of my days are filled with charity golf events to help raise money or implementing programs myself or for my foundation. There are a lot of things that need to be done and now that I am retired, I have more time to do some of these things.”

Capping off the evening was Club second vice-president and former football player Joe Restic introducing Weis, who first reflected on last season and then talked about the future of the program.

Excerpts from Charlie Weis’ Address
“I can tell you when the time does come when we win another National Championship, I’ll be happy for about five seconds, because I will be worrying about recruiting for the next season.”

“I think the one thing that stands out is that we all (Notre Dame) stand for the same thing. I think that’s one of the biggest errors that coaches make as they succumb to the pressure of bringing the best athletes in without surrounding themselves with good people first.”

“We don’t succumb to the pressure and we don’t bring in troubled kids. I always like to look at a kid’s face when involved with recruiting and say `would I let him come and eat dinner at our kitchen table?’ Because if the answer to that question is no, then I don’t want him.”

“As a Notre Dame alum, who also happens to be football coach, I am proud to be in that position, but I really believe that we need to do a better job in who receives honorary monograms (poking fun at his selection as a honorary winner).”