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Inside Irish - March 2019

A Message From The Monogram Club President

With the spring and summer approaching, I hope you’ve been keeping track of upcoming Monogram Club events, including the Blue-Gold Game reception and the annual golf outing. You should have received email invitations for both events and there is additional information in this newsletter.

Blue-Gold Game weekend is less than a month away and hopefully many of you are able to make it back to campus. The Monogram Club board will be in town for its spring meeting and we are very excited to present Rocky Bleier (’68, football) with the Club’s highest honor, the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award. Rocky is an amazing representative of Notre Dame and the Monogram Club and we are looking forward to bestowing this honor upon him.

If you’re returning to campus for the Blue-Gold Game, keep in mind that there are several other sporting events taking place that weekend. It’ll be a great time to support the Fighting Irish!

It’s been an extremely successful stretch for many Notre Dame programs. Congratulations to track & field’s distance medley relay team for winning the indoor national championship last weekend. What an amazing race! Also, congratulations to the women’s basketball team for winning both the ACC regular season and tournament titles, and to the men’s and women’s fencing teams for capturing the ACC championship. Best of luck to women’s basketball and fencing as they prepare to defend their national titles! Good luck to all the other teams competing in postseason play, and to the spring sports as they continue through their seasons.

Finally, congratulations to longtime athletic trainer, and honorary Monogram Club member, Skip Meyer on his upcoming retirement. Skip has spent 40 seasons working with the men’s basketball program, along with assisting several other Notre Dame teams throughout the years. Thank you for all that you’ve done for Notre Dame Athletics!

Go Irish!
Terri Vitale (’94, ’95 tennis)

Blue-Gold Weekend Events

Monogram Club members should have received email communication regarding events taking place Blue-Gold Game weekend (Friday, April 12 & Saturday, April 13).

• Football/senior football manager Monogram Club members are invited to the Notre Dame Football Alumni Weekend, which will feature various events on Friday and Saturday. Members should have received an invitation and registration link from Reggie Brooks. Please respond to this email if you need additional information and/or the link to register for the football alumni weekend activities.

• All Monogram Club members are invited to the Club’s pre-game reception, which will take place from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, April 13 inside O’Brien’s (upper level of the Compton Family Ice Arena). There is no charge for Monogram Club members, while guests are $15 per individual (maximum five guests).

RSVP For Monogram Club Golf Outing

The Monogram Club Golf Outing in honor of Father Riehle will be held Thursday, May 30 at the Warren Golf Course. It will be a shotgun format with a reception afterward. The golf outing will be the final event at the Warren Golf Course before it plays host to the U.S. Senior Open Championship in June. Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

The reception will take place from 4-7 p.m. (ET) inside the Warren Golf Course Clubhouse. The longest-drive and closest-to-the-pin prizes will be announced at the reception.

Cost per golfer for round of golf & reception (Monogram winner and guests) is $100.00, which includes greens fees, golf cart, driving range, tees, golf balls, a commemorative gift, box lunch, drink ticket and post-golf reception. Cost per foursome is $400.00. For those not golfing, you can attend the reception for $25.00 per person. Each foursome must include at least one Monogram winner. Please respond to this email if you need additional information and/or the link to register.

Catching Up With Jordan Cornette

Jordan Cornette (’05, basketball) was a two-time team captain and earned four Monograms with the Notre Dame men’s basketball team from 2001-05. He is the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots (201) and helped the Fighting Irish reach the Sweet 16 in 2003. He currently works for ESPN and recently returned to campus to call Notre Dame’s game against Clemson. In addition to his men’s basketball duties with ESPN, Cornette co-hosts ‘The Jam’ on WCIU in Chicago and does radio work with ESPN1000. The Cincinnati, Ohio native graduated from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters with a degree in English.

What’s it like to come back to campus to call games for ESPN?
“It’s so cool because for so long I sat there as the guy doing radio. Coach Brey gave me my opportunity to do radio right out of college because he knew I could always talk about basketball better than I played. I was fortunate to sit next to Jack Nolan, who’s a legend, and soak up the different fundamentals of what works in broadcasting. Jack took it real slow with me and I was able to be groomed into a role and eventually TV came along. It’s surreal for me because when I was doing radio, I would look to my left and see LaPhonso Ellis (’92, basketball) broadcasting the game on TV. I looked up to Phonz as a player coming in here and tried to follow in his footsteps. I’d see what he was doing in TV, and say I’d want to do that someday. To have that opportunity has been really, really special.”

How did attending Notre Dame impact your life the most?
“It opened up my eyes to the fact that basketball’s a game, but it’s a vehicle to give you opportunities that some kids who come to this school simply don’t have. From ringing the bell on Wall Street, to going to the White House, to getting a chance to travel the world when I had absolutely no money in my pockets, Notre Dame brought me in front of things that maybe, naturally, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to. To max out on those opportunities, and have the hunger to say I want to do more once my four years here are done, was a jumping point for me to do a lot more. Notre Dame created experiences and being able to max out on those has been fun.”

What does it mean to still be so connected to your former teammates and other peers from your time at Notre Dame?
“It’s incredible. I look at guys who played at other universities and after their four years, those relationships end at graduation. That is absolutely not the case (at Notre Dame). I’m still friends with former baseball players and football players among many others. We share the same experience, but not the same sport. We came into this thing as athletes, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and grew into men, grew into fathers, grew into husbands, into businessmen and people who are doing things outside of sports. I still keep in touch with so many of my former teammates. It just goes to show you how strong the bond is and it’s bigger than sport.”

What advice would you give to current student-athletes, specifically members of the men’s basketball team?
“I’d tell them to stop and smell the roses. That sounds really cliché, but life is going to present you with other opportunities, but this is a pretty sweet spot that you’re in right now. You get to show up on this floor and play with so many fans in this community and nationwide watching you on TV. You’re living in that spotlight, so bask in that glory. There’s not a lot of people who ever get that kind of experience. Also know you’re more than just the sport you play. When the ball does stop, what are you going to do? Have a plan. Don’t overwhelm yourself by worrying about what’s going to happen after you graduate, but start to have an idea. There’s no better place in the world that’s going to prepare you like Notre Dame will. Take advantage of all the opportunities. Get to know your classmates who don’t play sports. Some of my best friends are guys who I lived with in the dorm. Those are relationships I’ve always cherished. Soak this place up because there are a lot of special people here.”

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Notre Dame?
“The stories in the locker room. So many people will ask me about what it was like playing in the Carrier Dome against Carmelo Anthony or against some of the other teams in the conference like the incredible UConn teams with Jim Calhoun. Some of that stuff I have honestly forgotten about, but what I don’t forget are the flights with the team, joking around in the locker room, commiserating after a loss, celebrating after a win, going through it in practice together. It was a struggle, a joyous struggle, with all of the highs and lows over the four years of playing the game, but doing it all together and having that brotherhood makes it special. As I mentioned, baseball guys, football guys, soccer guys, definitely my basketball family, it’s all one family (at Notre Dame). That’s so special to me now because I’m so far removed from my time here. To still have those connections makes me feel like I’m really still here and part of Notre Dame because it stretches so much further than your four years.”

Postgraduate Scholarship Application Is Open

Do you know a senior Notre Dame student-athlete or support staff member interested in post-graduate study? If so, remind them to apply for the Monogram Club Postgraduate Scholarship. The scholarship is a $5,000 grant awarded to one male and one female Monogram winner in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and potential for success in postgraduate study. The scholarship may be used in the recipient’s first postgraduate year or deferred for one year.


Notre Dame Football Summer Camps Are Open For Registration 

Notre Dame Football Camps are available in June for athletes Grades 2 – 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to train with the best coaches in college football.

CLICK HERE to see a full list of Notre Dame sport camps and clinics.


Bread Of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive

The Monogram Club once again is encouraging its members to support Coach Lou Holtz (honorary) and the Lou’s Lads Foundation for the Notre Dame Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive. The Bread of Life Food Drive (BOLD) is an annual springtime event started in 1992 by the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island. A unique feature of this initiative is that it’s held during a time of year when food pantries have been depleted of food donations made during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

In the six years since Lou’s Lads joined the Notre Dame Bread of Life Food Drive it has expanded to 31 states, 250 cities across America and seven foreign countries. During the past five years, BOLD has collected almost two million items of food for people in need across the United States.

The 2019 drive will begin in late March and run through the last week of June. Participation in the food drive is very convenient and easy to do. Simply collect non-perishable food items and deliver them to a food bank/pantry in your community.

There will be a Bread of Life Food Drive on the Notre Dame campus/South Bend community April 1-10. Boxes will be placed in dorms and office buildings, including the Joyce Center. These donations will be collected and sent to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. (pictured: Reggie Brooks participating in last year’s drive)

To become involved in this effort, please reach out to Joe Delaney at or 718-967-9825. Delaney is the Director of the Bread of Life Food Drive for the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island and also serves as the Executive Director of the ND Bread of Life/Lou’s Lads Food Drive nationwide. He will be happy to answer any questions you may have about how to participate in this effort. We ask each Monogram Club member who participates to take a photo of their food delivery and provide the name of the recipient organization. Please email the photos and information to Joe Delaney.

Register For Softball’s Strikeout Cancer Trivia Night

The Notre Dame softball program will host the ninth annual Strikeout Cancer Trivia Night on Saturday, April 6. The event will take place at the South Bend Cubs Performance Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. (ET) and trivia starts at 6 p.m.

The program’s Strikeout Cancer Trivia Night began supporting leukemia awareness in 2011 as a way to support Fighting Irish head coach, Deanna Gumpf (honorary), and her daughter Tatum, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2010. Now an annual celebration, the proceeds directly benefit South Bend’s Memorial Children’s Hospital (where Tatum started her treatments) and children in Indiana who have been diagnosed with cancer. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


Karkos Brings Sports Experience To Business World

Former Notre Dame women’s soccer team captain, and four-time Monogram winner, Denise (Chabot) Karkos (‘93, soccer) is the chief marketing officer of TD Ameritrade. She recently was interviewed by for an article titled “Five Ways to Bring Your Team Sport Skills to the Office”. READ ARTICLE


Hillesland On The Call

Four-time Monogram winner Zach Hillesland (’09, basketball) is in his third season calling Notre Dame men’s basketball games on the radio. The ABC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, Hillesland’s hometown, caught up with him to see how the former Fighting Irish men’s basketball team captain approaches his duties calling games alongside Jack Nolan (honorary). WATCH VIDEO