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Irish Prepare To Host Navy

Nov. 12, 2001

The following is a partial excerpt from the Notre Dame football release. To view the complete release, please see the PDF version.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-5) vs. Navy Midshipmen (0-8)

The Date and Time: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001, at 2:30 p.m. EST.

The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/Natural Grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.

The Tickets: They’re all sold with this game marking the 161st consecutive sellout in Notre Dame Stadium (the first 130 coming at the old 59,075 capacity). The Navy game also marks the 209th home sellout in the last 210 games (back to 1964) and marks the 136th sellout in the last 158 games involving Notre Dame, including the first 10 games of 1998, the first 11 in ’99, the first five in ’00 and the first nine in ’01.

The TV Plans: NBC Sports national telecast with Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Pat Haden (analysis), Jim Gray (sideline) and Ed Feibischoff (producer).

The Radio Plans: For the 34th consecutive season, all Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by Westwood One with Tony Roberts (play-by-play), former Irish running back Allen Pinkett (game analysis) and Paul Hornung (pregame/halftime analysis). The Westwood One Network includes more than 200 stations. A live broadcast from the Notre Dame student radio station, WVFI, is available through the Notre Dame athletic department web site at All Notre Dame football games are heard on 1490-AM and U93-FM in South Bend and are also carried live in the Chicago market on ESPN Radio 1000. On-site pre and post-game broadcasts from all home games at Notre Dame Stadium feature Sean Stires and Taylor Richards on U93-FM in South Bend and Dave Wills, Ed Farmer and former Irish great Dave Duerson on ESPN Radio 1000.

Real-Time Stats: Live in-game statistics are available for the Navy game, via the Notre Dame ( athletic website.

Websites: Notre Dame (, Navy (

The Head Coach
Fifth-year Irish head coach Bob Davie owns a 33-24 (.579) career record at Notre Dame. Davie was one of three finalists for the 2000 Football News Coach of the Year Award and was one of 10 finalists for the 1998 Walter Camp Foundation/Street and Smith’s Coach of the Year Award. The 2001 season marks Davie’s eighth year at Notre Dame overall, after serving as defensive coordinator and inside linebacker coach from 1994-96. He coached nine seasons at Texas A&M (’85-’93), two at Tulane (’83-’84), four at Pittsburgh (’77, ’80-’82) and two at Arizona (’78-’79), spending both years at Tulane as defensive coordinator and the last five at Texas A&M in that role. The University announced on Dec. 5, 2000, that Davie signed a five-year contract to continue coaching the Irish through the 2005 season.


  • Notre Dame will claim its 38th consecutive win over Navy, extending an NCAA record for the most consecutive victories against one opponent in college football history.
  • The Irish will notch their 65th win in 75 career meetings with Navy, the most victories against one opponent in school history.
  • Notre Dame will improve to 27-1 in its last 28 games against the service academies (7-0 in the Bob Davie era).
  • The Irish will raise their record at Notre Dame Stadium against the service academies to 41-7 all-time (5-0 under Davie).
  • Notre Dame will be 18-7 in the month of November since 1995 (12-6 under Davie).


  • The Midshipmen will end Notre Dame’s 37-game series winning streak, ending an NCAA record for the most consecutive victories against one opponent in college football history.
  • Navy will pick up its first victory over the Irish since 1963, when Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach led the Midshipmen to a 35-14 win at Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Navy would be the first service academy to defeat Notre Dame since Air Force claimed a 20-17 overtime victory in 1996.
  • It would break an eight-game losing streak for the Midshipmen, dating back to the final game of the 2000 season (a 30-28 win over Army).


  • Navy and Notre Dame are meeting for the 75th time this season, the longest series in Notre Dame football history. This year’s Notre Dame-USC game was the 73rd in that series (tied for second-longest in school history) while the Irish and Purdue also will meet for the 73rd time later this season.
  • Notre Dame leads the Navy series 64-9-1, in the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country. The Irish and Midshipmen have met every year since 1927.
  • The Irish have scored 35 or more points in nine of the last 12 meetings with Navy. Since the 1989 contest, Notre Dame has averaged 42.3 points per game in the series, including back-to-back 58-point outbursts in 1993 and ’94. And, the Irish have scored more points against the Midshipmen (1,980) than any of the other 130 opponents in school history.
  • Notre Dame has won 37 consecutive games in the series. Navy’s last win came in ’63, when Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach helped Navy claim a 35-14 victory at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame’s 37 straight wins rank as the longest winning streak by one team over another in NCAA history (previous record: Oklahoma’s 32 in a row over Kansas State from 1937-68).
  • In addition to the two teams’ home stadiums, the schools have met in seven other American cities, as well as Dublin, Ireland.
  • In last season’s 45-14 Irish win at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Notre Dame FS Tony Driver became just the second player in NCAA history to return to two fumbles for touchdowns in the same game.
  • The sites for the 2002 and 2004 Notre Dame-Navy games were announced earlier this season. The two teams will square off next year at PSINet Stadium in Baltimore, home of the NFL’s Ravens. In ’04, the Irish and Midshipmen will play at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Notre Dame amassed 447 yards of total offense its most since a 524-yard output against Navy in 1999 and took advantage of two Tony Driver fumble returns for touchdowns, as the Irish beat Navy for an NCAA-record 37th consecutive time by a 45-14 score at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Irish defense forced the Midshipmen to punt the ball nine times and held Navy to 58 yards rushing its fewest against Notre Dame since a 28-yard ground game in the 1994 game and (at the time) the fewest for an Irish opponent since Baylor gained 33 yards in ’98. The Irish offense also controlled the clock for nearly 37 minutes. After the teams exchanged punts to open the game, LB Tyreo Harrison stripped Raheem Lambert of the ball, and Driver picked up the ball and ran 24 yards for a 7-0 score. On Notre Dame’s next possession, TB Julius Jones rushed for 20 yards on the final five carries of a nine-play Irish drive for a 14-0 Irish advantage. On Navy’s next possession, Terence Coleman fumbled a pitch, and Driver plucked the ball out of the air, dashing 22 yards for another TD return and a 21-0 first-quarter lead. A Nicholas Setta 23-yard field goal capped an 18-play, 76-yard drive that gave Notre Dame a 24-0 halftime lead. The Irish extended their lead to 38-0 with a pair of touchdown passes from QB Matt LoVecchio to TE Dan O’Leary (11 yards) and TB Tony Fisher (32 yards) in the third and fourth quarters. After the Midshipmen scored on a 46-yard TD pass, the Irish came back with their own 46-yard TD pass from reserve QB Gary Godsey to SE Jay Johnson. Navy rounded out the scoring with a nine-yard TD pass for the 45-14 final score.


  • Notre Dame senior DE Grant Irons (The Woodlands HS) and Navy senior LB Mike Chiesl (Oak Ridge HS) both hail from The Woodlands, Texas.
  • Irish senior DB Clifford Jefferson (Carter HS), junior walk-on QB Dan Novakov (St. Mark’s HS) and sophomore FL Omar Jenkins (Jesuit HS) are natives of Dallas, Texas, as are two Navy players: senior S DeJuan Cromer (Skyline HS) and senior FB Marlon Terrell (L.V. Berkner HS).
  • Navy interim head coach Rick Lantz was the defensive line coach at Notre Dame for the 1984 and ’85 seasons.
  • Third-year Irish offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers spent eight seasons on the football staff at Navy (1983-90), where he coached a variety of positions: tight ends and offensive tackles in 1983, tight ends and receivers in ’84 and ’85, defensive backs in ’86, running backs in ’87 and ’88 and quarterbacks in ’89 and ’90 (when he tutored Alton Grizzard, Navy’s second all-time total offense leader). Fifth-year defensive coordinator Greg Mattison coached opposite Rogers during two of those seasons, as the defensive line coach at Army from 1987-88.
  • Navy assistant AD/compliance coordinator Tom Bates is a 1960 Notre Dame graduate and a former student assistant in the Notre Dame sports information office.
  • Fourth-year Navy director of strength and conditioning Kirk Woolfolk was Notre Dame’s strength and conditioning coordinator for three years (1995-98).
  • Two current Notre Dame Olympic sports head coaches have past experience as head coaches at Navy. Men’s tennis head coach Bob Bayliss now in his 15th year at Notre Dame spent the first 15 years of his head coaching career at Navy (1970-84). Fourth-year Notre Dame women’s rowing coach Martin Stone held the same position at Navy for six years prior to joining the Irish staff in Oct. of ’97.
  • Irish associate AD Missy Conboy’s husband, Bill Mountford, played for Bayliss at Navy.
  • Notre Dame assistant director of club sports Dave Brown was a professor, head squash coach and assistant tennis coach at the Naval Academy from 1978-98.


  • Navy is the most common opponent in Irish football history, meeting Notre Dame for the 75th time to extend the longest intersectional rivalry in the country (dates back to 1927).
  • Notre Dame faces its five most common opponents this season (Navy, Purdue, USC, Michigan State and Pittsburgh). The Irish are 2-1 this season against their most common foes, downing USC and Pittsburgh while suffering a narrow loss to Michigan State.
  • The Irish have played 130 different teams in their 112 years of varsity football, with the most common opponents in Irish football history as follows (number of games are updated to include all 2001 games):

IRISH LOOK TO CONTINUE RECENT SUCCESS AFTER A BYE WEEK Since 1984, Notre Dame is 18-2 in regular-season games following a regularly-scheduled bye week, including seven wins over ranked teams: 24-10 over #19 Army in 1985, 24-19 at #1 Michigan in ’89, 31-23 at #19 USC in ’92, 31-24 over #1 Florida State in ’93, 54-20 over #16 Washington in ’96, 24-6 at #11 LSU in ’97 and 34-30 over #23 Oklahoma in 1999.

  • Notre Dame has a 6-0 record under head coach Bob Davie following a bye week. Here’s how the Irish have fared in those games:

Forty-three senior Notre Dame players and three senior managers will be seeing their final action at Notre Dame Stadium when the Irish face Navy on Saturday. Those players are: SE Bernard Akatu, FL Arnaz Battle, OG Jordan Black, LB Rocky Boiman, DE Jeffrey Campbell, OL John Crowther, LB Chad DeBolt, LB Brian Dierckman, FS Donald Dykes, TB Tony Fisher, FS Dwayne Francis, FL David Givens, LB Tyreo Harrison, TB Terrance Howard, SE Javin Hunter, DE Grant Irons, SS Ron Israel, CB Clifford Jefferson, OG JW Jordan, CB Mike Klockner, QB Ryan Krueger, FB Tom Lopienski, OG Sean Mahan, OL/TE Chris Mahoney, FB Mike McNair, K/P David Miller, FB Jason Murray, FB Eric Nelson, TB Tim O’Neill, TE John Owens, LB Carlos Pierre-Antoine, DE Ryan Roberts, OG Casey Robin, SS Matthew Sarb, C Ryan Scarola, FS Justin Smith, OT John Teasdale, HLD Adam Tibble, OT Kurt Vollers, CB Shane Walton, DE Anthony Weaver and NG Andy Wisne. The three managers are Rich Colabraro, Rob Mallory and Erin West.

Senior TB Tony Fisher continues his march up the Notre Dame career rushing lists with his 40-yard outing against Tennessee, the Euclid, Ohio, native passed Ricky Watters (1,814), Christie Flanagan (1,822) and Jim Crowley (1,841) and moved into 17th place in Irish history with 1,849 career rushing yards. He need 151 yards in Notre Dame’s final three games to become the 12th player in school history to crack the 2,000-yard barrier. This season, Fisher is third on the team with 384 yards rushing on 78 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. Here’s a look at who is directly in front of Fisher on the Irish career rushing charts:

Senior FL David Givens turned in the best performance of his Irish career against Tennessee, setting new career standards with nine catches for 99 yards. This season, Givens is second on the squad with 31 receptions for 309 yards, averaging 10 yards per catch. Coming into the 2001 season, Givens had 39 catches in his first three years at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame logged its first two-point conversion of the season against Tennessee, when TB Tony Fisher scored off a shovel pass from Carlyle Holiday in the fourth quarter. It was the first two-point conversion by the Irish since Fisher scored one against Stanford in 1999.

Junior PK Nicholas Setta has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2001 Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award, it was announced Nov. 2. The winner will be chosen in a ceremony on Tues., Dec. 4, at the Sheraton West Palm Beach Hotel at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Setta has been one of Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons this season, thanks to his accuracy from various distances. Setta has gone 25-of-26 on placement kicks this season (15 PATs, 10 field goals), including a perfect six of six on field-goal attempts from 40 yards or more. In addition, Setta has made 47 consecutive extra points dating back to last season’s win over Stanford, the fourth-longest PAT streak in school history. And, with his 41-yard boot against Tennessee, Setta now has a field goal in Notre Dame’s last 10 regular-season games, the second-longest streak in school history. John Carney holds the record with field goals in 11 straight games during the ’86 season. Setta’s only miss this season was a 32-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter at Boston College, a kick that came into a stiff 15-25 mph wind.

IRISH defense GETTING ITS POINT ACROSS One of the strengths of this year’s Notre Dame squad has been its play on the defensive side of the ball. The Irish rank in the top 35 in the country in four defensive statistical categories, according to the latest NCAA rankings released Sunday. Notre Dame is 10th in pass defense (169.88 yards per game), 12th in total defense (295.5), 25th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game), and 32nd in rush defense (125.63). Individually, senior LE Anthony Weaver was tied for 29th in the nation with 1.57 tackles for loss per game when the second of four individual NCAA defensive statistics reports was released Oct. 30 (the next update comes out Nov. 20).

The Notre Dame defense notched its first score of the 2001 season against Tennessee when junior LB Courtney Watson picked off a pass by Casey Clausen and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown. The interception and score, both the first of Watson’s career, gave the Irish a 10-7 third-quarter lead over the seventh-ranked Volunteers. It was the first defensive score by Notre Dame since CB Shane Walton returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown against Purdue last season.

Sophomore QB Carlyle Holiday has made only six starts in his Notre Dame career, but already he is taking on the look of a grizzled veteran. He is 3-3 as a starter, guiding the Irish to wins over Pittsburgh, West Virginia and USC while directing a Notre Dame attack which has averaged nearly 340 yards of total offense over the last five games.

Holiday has done much of his damage with his legs, averaging 90.2 yards on 18 carries per game during Notre Dame’s last five contests. He also has reeled off four runs of 30 yards or more, including a 67-yard touchdown scamper against Pittsburgh, the longest scoring run by an Irish quarterback since Arnaz Battle raced 74 yards late in a 48-13 win over Kansas on Aug. 28, 1999.

Holiday also has posted three 100-yard games in his last five starts, including back-to-back 100-yard outings against Pittsburgh (122 yards) and West Virginia (130 yards), becoming the first Irish quarterback since 1980 to top the century mark in consecutive games. He later added 109 yards in a loss to Boston College. By contrast, Notre Dame’s top two career rushing leaders among quarterbacks Tony Rice and Jarious Jackson each ran for over 100 yards only twice in their careers. Holiday nearly made it four straight 100-yard games against USC, finishing with 98 yards on 18 carries against the Trojans.

For the season, Holiday leads the team with 502 yards rushing on 114 carries, good for third on the school’s single-season QB rushing chart. If he finishes as the team leader in rushing, he would be only the third Notre Dame quarterback since 1918 to lead the Irish in that category Paul Hornung ran for a team-high 420 yards in 1956, while Rice topped the squad with 700 yards rushing in ’88 and a school-record 884 yards on the ground in ’89. Here?s a look at the top single-season rushing totals ever by a Notre Dame quarterback:

Not only have the Irish had success with their kicking game, but they have also done well returning kicks this season. Notre Dame ranks 41st in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging a solid 21.67 yards per return, and 36th in the land in punt returns with a healthy 11.11 yards per runback. Junior KR Julius Jones has been the primary return specialist for the Irish this season, ranking in the top 30 in the country in both kickoff and punt returns. Sophomore Vontez Duff has also stepped in on kick returns, averaging 22.2 yards per runback this year, with three of his six returns for at least 30 yards.

With the Navy game slated to be shown on NBC, the Notre Dame football team will be playing its 109th consecutive game on one of four major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN).That’s a streak that includes eight full seasons (1993-2000) as well as the first seven games of the 2001 season. The last time the Irish didn’t appear on one of those four networks was Oct. 31, 1992, when Notre Dame downed Navy, 38-7, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. That game was only shown locally in the South Bend area on WNDU-TV. Here’s a breakdown of the networks on which the Irish have played during this impressive streak:

Senior SE Javin Hunter has turned out to be a dependable outlet for Notre Dame this season, averaging four catches per game through the first eight games of the 2001 campaign. All together, he has 32 catches this season, six more than he had in his first three years with the Irish combined. Also, he came up with at least three receptions in Notre Dame’s first seven games this season, becoming the first Irish wideout in four years to have three-or-more catches in the first seven games of a campaign. Malcolm Johnson also turned the trick during the ’97 season.

Junior TB Julius Jones has been one of Notre Dame’s top all-around threats this season, whether it be in the backfield or returning punt and kickoffs. Despite suffering from an Achilles injury the last three games, the native of Big Stone Gap, Va., continues to lead the Irish in all-purpose yardage at 132.4 yards per game, good for 27th in the nation according to the latest NCAA statistical reports released Sunday. He has been a major threat as a kick returner, ranking 29th in the country in punt returns (11.25 yards per game) and 46th in kickoff returns (23.36), highlighted by his 53-yard punt return against Michigan State and 58-yard kickoff return against West Virginia, both of which led to Notre Dame scores. Jones also has been solid in the Irish backfield, ranking second on the team with 495 yards this season on a team-high 130 carries. He has been especially strong in Notre Dame?s last five games, averaging 77.8 yards rushing and scoring six touchdowns (five rushing, one receiving), leading the Irish to three wins. For the season, Jones stands second on the team with 36 points scored.

SCOUTING THE IRISH OFFENSE Line The Irish return three talented and experienced players on the offensive line in senior tackles Jordan Black and Kurt Vollers and junior center Jeff Faine. All three are viable candidates for postseason honors. Black opened the 2001 season (his third) as the starter at the left tackle position, playing in 28 games (including 19 in a row) and accumulating nearly 550 minutes of playing time. After starting the first seven games at left tackle, Black made his first career start at right guard for the Tennessee game. Vollers and Faine are starting for the second straight year on the offensive line, with Vollers splitting time between right guard and right tackle, and Faine toiling at center. Vollers has seen action in 32 games, starting 22, while Faine has played in 20 games, amassing nearly 550 minutes of playing time. The preseason question for the Irish came at the guard positions after the graduation of both Jim Jones and third-team The Sporting News All-American Mike Gandy, a third-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears. Senior Sean Mahan started at left guard and junior Sean Milligan at right guard against Nebraska, then Vollers moved in at right guard against Michigan State and Texas A&M before Milligan returned to the position for all four games in October, but he missed the Tennessee game with an ankle injury. Mahan played in 11 games in ’00, seeing increased playing time as the season progressed, while Milligan cracked the starting lineup against Nebraska, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, USC and BC. Junior Brennan Curtin also has been a solid contributor on the line, making his first two starts at right tackle against MSU and Texas A&M and starting at left tackle against Tennessee.

Backs Sophomore Carlyle Holiday (102-59-612, 2 TD, 6 INT, 114 carries for 502 yards, 2 TD) made his first career start against Texas A&M, and has averaged 90.2 yards rushing in his last five outings against Pittsburgh, West Virginia, USC, Boston College and Tennessee. He also tossed the first two touchdown passes of his career against BC and threw for a career-high 146 yards against Tennessee. Sophomore Matt LoVecchio (65-33-263, 1 TD, 3 INT in 2001) began the season as the starting QB for the Irish after winning his first seven games as a starter for the Irish in 2000. LoVecchio posted impressive numbers last year, throwing 11 touchdown passes and only one interception, while smashing the Notre Dame record for interception avoidance percentage at .0080. Sophomore Jared Clark briefly saw action at Texas A&M and is also in the quarterback mix in a reserve capacity. A trio of tailbacks seniors Tony Fisher (78-413, 4 TD) and Terrance Howard (20-59, 1 TD) and junior Julius Jones (130-495, 5 TD, nine catches for 57 yards, 1 TD) gives the Irish a talented and diversified running attack. Fisher, a 2001 Doak Walker Award candidate, played all 11 games last year, running up 607 yards on 132 carries (4.6 yard avg.). Fisher also is a threat with his hands as he caught 12 passes, including three for touchdowns in ’00. He rushed for two touchdowns against West Virginia, the fourth time he has rushed for two TDs in his career. With 40 yards against Tennessee, Fisher moved into 17th place on the Irish all-time rushing list (1,849 yards). Jones, a potential All-America candidate, returns as the team’s leading rusher from ’00 (657 yards on 162 carries) and has scored six touchdowns in Notre Dame’s last five games (wins over Pittsburgh, West Virginia and USC). Jones has also proven to be a potent threat as a receiver, catching a career-high three passes for 27 yards and his first career receiving touchdown against BC. He also has carried the ball a team-high 130 times this season. Howard received a lot of work in the spring as both Fisher and Jones were held out of spring drills. He adds a combination of quickness and power, averaging 5.7 yards a carry in ’00. With Fisher and Jones hobbled by injuries the last two games vs. USC and Boston College, Howard has seen additional playing time, scoring his first touchdown of the season against USC and rushing nine times for a season-high 35 yards against Boston College. The fullback position includes seniors Tom Lopienski (6-12), Jason Murray (2-3) and Mike McNair. Lopienski has played in 29 games in his career, carrying the ball 38 times and catching 10 passes, while Murray saw action in eight games in ’00 and has played in four games in ’01, carrying twice for three yards against USC. McNair has fought through injuries the past two seasons, but after an impressive spring could make a significant contribution in ’01.

Receivers Even after the loss of Joey Getherall, these are the most competitive spots on the Irish depth chart. Senior flanker David Givens (31-309) was Notre Dame’s leading receiver in 2000, averaging 12.4 yards a catch. Givens rang up a career-high nine catches for 99 yards against Tennessee. Senior split end Javin Hunter (32-358, 1 TD) is the Irish big-play threat, averaging 19.7 a catch in ’00, and grabbing a career-high eight balls vs. Texas A&M. He also caught at least three passes in Notre Dame’s first seven games in ’01. Senior flanker Arnaz Battle (5-40) made his debut at flanker for the Irish against Nebraska, catching two balls, but suffered a fractured right fibula (leg) against Michigan State and missed the next four games. He return for the Boston College game and caught two passes for 17 yards against the Eagles. Sophomore receivers Lorenzo Crawford, Omar Jenkins (6-64) and Ronnie Rodamer also could contribute, along with freshman Carlos Campbell. Jenkins logged a career-high four catches against Michigan State. The tight end position is a question mark for the Irish after the departures of All-Americans Jabari Holloway (fourth-round draft pick of New England Patriots) and Dan O’Leary (sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills). Senior John Owens (5-63, 1 TD) and junior Gary Godsey have both been converted to the tight end position after playing defensive line and quarterback, respectively, in 2000. Both players are over 270 pounds, are excellent blockers and have good hands. Owens also picked up his first career reception against Texas A&M and later logged his first career touchdown reception against Boston College. He set new career bests with two catches for 40 yards against Tennessee.

Line The Irish defensive line is one of the most experienced and deepest units on the roster. An all-star candidate, senior captain and three-year starter at left end, Anthony Weaver (38 tackles, 13 for loss, four sacks, one INT, one forced fumble) has had impressive games this season against Nebraska (eight tackles, two for loss, one sack, one forced fumble), Pittsburgh (five tackles, three for loss, one sack, one INT), West Virginia (seven tackles, two for loss) and Tennessee (six tackles, two for loss). He also is tied for 29th in the nation with 1.57 tackles for loss per game according to the latest NCAA defensive statistics released Tuesday. Junior Darrell Campbell (18 tackles, four for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble) took over the tackle position after the graduation of B.J. Scott, picking up four tackles, two for losses, against Pittsburgh. Junior Cedric Hilliard (13 tackles, three for loss, one sack) contributed in a reserve role at nose guard for the first six games of the ’01 season before making his first two career starts vs. Boston College and Tennessee. After making seven starts last season, senior end Ryan Roberts (20 tackles, four for loss, three sacks) returned to the starting lineup in ’01, beginning with the Pittsburgh game. He put together his best game against USC, rolling up career highs of nine tackles, four tackles for loss and three sacks against the Trojans. Senior captain Grant Irons (13 tackles, three for loss, one sack, one INT in 2001), who missed most of last season after suffering a shoulder injury against Nebraska, started the first three games of 2001, sat out the Pittsburgh game with a sprained ankle, before coming off the bench for Notre Dame’s last four games. Against Boston College, Irons came up with his first career interception, leading to Notre Dame’s first touchdown. Other key players include senior Andy Wisne (16 tackles, two for loss), who moved into the starting nose guard position this season and recorded a career-best six tackles against Michigan State, but remains out indefinitely with a concussion, and sophomore Kyle Budinscak (five tackles), who made the first career start at defensive tackle against West Virginia.

Linebackers Two of three starters return among the Irish linebackers, seniors Rocky Boiman (third on the team in tackles with 58, including eight for loss in ’00) and Tyreo Harrison (46 tackles and one fumble recovery last year). Boiman (36 tackles, nine for loss, three sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble in ’01) anchors the outside spot, while Harrison (team-high 70 tackles, six for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble in ’01) is in his second season starting at the inside linebacker position. Boiman recorded a career-high 11 tackles versus Texas A&M and chalked up a pair of sacks against USC, while Harrison had a career-high 14 stops against the Aggies. Harrison added a team-high 11 tackles against USC and came up with a Boston College fumble late in the fourth quarter, giving the Irish one more scoring chance. Junior LB Courtney Watson (62 tackles, 10 for loss, two sacks, one INT, one fumble recovery), who came into the ’01 season with 11 career tackles, recorded a team-high 18 tackles against the Huskers, earning ABC Chevrolet Player of the Game honors for the Irish. He then added 10 tackles against Michigan State and Texas A&M. He also chalked up his first career touchdown against Tennessee, returning an interception 31 yards for a score to give the Irish a third-quarter lead. Sophomore Derek Curry (two tackles, one for loss) backs up Boiman on the outside, while junior Justin Thomas and sophomore Mike Goolsby play behind Watson and senior Carlos Pierre-Antoine (three tackles) spells Harrison.

Backs Senior cornerback Shane Walton (30 tackles, three for loss, one INT, four pass breakups, one forced fumble, one blocked kick) returns to anchor the Irish secondary in 2001. Walton is in his second season as the starting right cornerback after playing in 10 games in ’00 and is one of Notre Dame’s most improved players considering he did not even play football his freshman season, instead starring on the Irish men’s soccer team. He tied his career high with seven tackles against USC and leads the team with three pass breakups this season. Sophomore Vontez Duff (15 tackles, two INT) took over the starting right cornerback slot beginning with the Pittsburgh game, the first starting assignment of his career, and has picked up interceptions against USC and Boston College, the first thefts of his career. At strong safety, junior Gerome Sapp (28 tackles), a Jim Thorpe Award candidate, was rated the 11th-best strong safety in the country by The Sporting News and has started four of the last five games for the Irish. He tied his career high with eight tackles against Tennessee. Key reserves include junior Jason Beckstrom (13 tackles), who started against West Virginia and Boston College as part of the Irish nickel package, senior Clifford Jefferson (16 tackles, two for loss), who has seen action at right cornerback in five games, starting three (did not play vs. Pittsburgh, WVU and BC) after starting all 12 games and recording 77 tackles with eight pass breakups in ’99, and serving as Notre Dame’s top reserve (and starting two games) in ’00, and sophomore Preston Jackson at left cornerback. Senior free safety Donald Dykes (38 tackles, one for loss, two fumble recoveries) made his first start against Nebraska and had a career-high 13 tackles after recording only 18 stops all of last year. He came up with a critical fumble recovery in the fourth quarter against USC, leading to a game-clinching TD for the Irish. Dykes tied for team-high honors with six tackles at Boston College but also suffered an ankle injury which kept him out of the Tennessee contest. Other key players include fifth-year strong safety Ron Israel (18 tackles, one for loss), who logged a career-best nine tackles in each of the first two games of ’01, but suffered a hamstring injury prior to the Pittsburgh game, saw limited action against West Virginia and has not played since, junior FS Glenn Earl (20 tackles), who was injured in the season opener against Nebraska, missed the Michigan State and Texas A&M games, but has played the next four games in a reserve role and then made his second career start against Tennessee and had a season-high six tackles, and sophomore Abram Elam (19 tackles, two INT, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble), who had an interception and fumble recovery against Pittsburgh, and added another pick and forced a fumble against USC.

P Joey Hildbold and K Nicholas Setta return, giving the Irish one of the best kicking tandems in the nation. Hildbold, a Ray Guy Award candidate, was voted one of the top three punters in the nation by Street and Smith’s after averaging 40.9 yards a kick in ’00, including 22 inside the 20. Hildbold is 22nd in the nation at 43.6 yards per punt after averaging a career-best 50.5 per kick against Texas A&M. Setta, a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, continues to make improvements after going eight for 14 in his first season as the Irish placekicker, converting on 10 of his 11 field-goal attempts this season and matching his career long with a 47-yarder against Texas A&M. Setta also handles all kickoff duties this season. In the return game, junior All-American Julius Jones handles both kickoff (46th in the nation at 23.36 yards a kick return this season) and punt return (29th in the country at 11.25 yards per return) duties for the Irish, ranking second in school history with 1,357 kickoff return yards. In addition, sophomore cornerback Vontez Duff has returned kicks this season, averaging 22.2 yards on six kickoff returns and going at least 30 yards on three of his six runbacks. Seniors David Givens and Terrance Howard also have experience as kick return specialists. After blocking four punts last season, Notre Dame was once again up to its old tricks when senior CB Shane Walton blocked a Nebraska punt at the beginning of the fourth quarter, eventually leading to Notre Dame’s only touchdown of the game.

OLB Rocky Boiman, FL David Givens, DE Grant Irons and DE Anthony Weaver serve as captains for the 2001 season. All are first-time captains, except Irons who becomes only the 13th two-time captain in Notre Dame history and the first since Ron Powlus did it for the 1996 and ’97 seasons. Other multiple-time captains for the Irish include: Edward Prudhomme (1888-1889), Frank Keough (1893-1894), Jack Mullen (1897,1998 and 1899), Louis (Red) Salmon (1902-1903), Leonard Bahan (1918-1919), Pat Filley (1943-1944), Bob Olson (1968-1969), Bob Crable (1980-1981), Phil Carter (1981-1982), Ned Bolcar (1988-1989) and Ryan Leahy (1994-1995).

NUMBER CHANGES The Irish made three number changes from the 2001 media guide rosters as senior special teams player Chad DeBolt has changed from No. 24 to No. 58, senior snapper John Crowther has switched from No. 56 to No. 53 and freshman TE Matt Root has gone from No. 89 to No. 83.


  • Notre Dame once again plays one of the nation’s toughest schedules as it faces seven teams that appeared in bowl games in 2000 (Nebraska, Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Boston College, Tennessee and Purdue).
  • Three of Notre Dame’s 2001 opponents are currently ranked in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls (Nebraska – 2/1, Tennessee – 6/6 and Stanford – 13/15). Four other teams (Texas A&M, Boston College, Michigan State and Purdue) also received votes in one or both of the major polls this week.
  • Notre Dame’s five road opponents for ’01 so far have combined for a 35-11 (.761) record to date Nebraska (11-0), Texas A&M (7-3), Boston College (6-3), Stanford (6-2) and Purdue (5-3).
  • Prior to the 2001 season, the Irish schedule was voted the sixth toughest out of 116 schools by Sports Illustrated (No. 20/21 UCLA had the fifth toughest schedule according to SI, while Irish opponent USC had the toughest).
  • According to the latest NCAA rankings (as of Nov. 11), Notre Dame has the seventh toughest schedule in the nation. These rankings take into account the cumulative performance of all past Irish opponents during the 2001 season.

2001 Notre Dame Opponent UPDATE
The following is a look at Notre Dame opponents’ upcoming games. Since 1977, when the NCAA started rating strength of schedule, Notre Dame’s schedule has been rated the most difficult five times in the last 22 years (1978, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1995) and during the preseason, Sports Illustrated rated the 2001 Irish schedule the sixth toughest in the nation. According to the latest NCAA rankings (as of Oct. 28), Notre Dame’s 2001 schedule ranks as the 10th toughest in the nation. Here’s a look at Notre Dame’s 2001 opponents and how they have fared this season when compared with the 2000 campaign:

Senior DE Anthony Weaver was a second-team preseason All-America choice by Athlon and junior TB Julius Jones also earned second-team recognition from Athlon as a kick returner. Street and Smith’s rated Jones a second-team kickoff returner and senior Grant Irons a second-team defensive end. Weaver was also named the 13th best player in the country according to Mel Kiper’s top 30 players for the 2001 season.

Street and Smith’s listed senior Tony Fisher among running backs, senior Jordan Black among offensive linemen, senior Anthony Weaver among defensive linemen, senior Rocky Boiman among linebackers and junior Joey Hildbold among punters as preseason honorable mention All-America selections. Street & Smith’s also rated Fisher as one of 11 candidates for the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the country and Hildbold as one of three candidates for the Ray Guy Award as the top punter in the nation.

Lindy’s rated junior center Jeff Faine as the number-three center in the country, while The Sporting News had Faine seventh. Lindy’s rated Anthony Weaver 18th and Grant Irons 15th among defensive end, with The Sporting News putting Irons 10th and Weaver 16th. The Sporting News rated Julius Jones 15th among running backs, senior Tom Lopienski 12th among fullbacks, senior Jordan Black 14th among offensive tackles, senior Rocky Boiman 14th among outside linebackers and junior Gerome Sapp 11th among strong safeties.

Athlon rated the Irish running backs as the fourth-best group in the nation. Lindy’s listed the Irish defensive line as eighth best. The Sporting News put Notre Dame’s offensive backfield seventh.

Athlon listed the Notre Dame freshman class as the 12th-best in the country, while Lindy’s had the Irish rookies 14th.

For the second consecutive season, Irish TB Tony Fisher has been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List. The Doak Walker Award, named in honor of the late SMU running back, is given annually to the top running back in the nation.

Junior SS Gerome Sapp was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The Thorpe Award is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.

WEAVER AND FAINE NAMED TO LOMBARDI AWARD WATCH LIST, FAINE TO RIMINGTON TROPHY LIST DE Anthony Weaver and C Jeff Faine, along with 79 other players nationally, were named to the updated Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. Weaver made a strong case for the award against Nebraska with eight tackles, including two for loss, one sack and one forced fumble. The Lombardi Award is given annually to the nation’s top lineman or linebacker. Faine was also one of 15 players named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s top center.

All six of Notre Dame’s home football games for 2001 are sold out, with demand for tickets to the Oct. 13 Notre Dame-West Virginia game ranking highest in the history of Notre Dame Stadium. The sellouts are based on demand from contributing alumni (contributions to the University of $100 or more in the previous calendar year earn alumni the ability to apply for two tickets to any home or away contests), with approximately 33,000 tickets per home game available via a game-by-game lottery system. The Notre Dame ticket office received requests for 59,368 tickets for the West Virginia game, breaking the record of 57,048 from the 1997 Notre Dame-USC game in the first year of the expanded Notre Dame Stadium. Demand for the 2001 West Virginia game was based on parents of current Notre Dame students being guaranteed four tickets for that contest — plus contributing alumni having the opportunity to apply for four tickets instead of the usual two, based on its designation as an alumni family game. Other high demand games for 2001 included Michigan State (48,404 requests based on senior alumni designation that guarantees two tickets to all alumni out of school 35 or more years third all-time in terms of demand), USC (47,127 requested, seventh all-time) and Tennessee (43,843 requests). There also were nearly 17,000 requests for tickets to the Sept. 8 road game at Nebraska. Notre Dame received 4,000 tickets for that contest, which attracted a Memorial Stadium-record 78,118 fans. The six guaranteed sellouts for 2001 mean the final home game in ’01 on Nov. 17 against Navy will mark the 161st consecutive sellout at Notre Dame Stadium and the 209th in the last 210 home games.

Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 135 of its previous 157 games. Each of the first 10 regular-season games involving Notre Dame during the ’98 seasonand the first 11 in ’99was played in front of a sellout crowd. The first five games of 2000 were played before capacity crowds and nine of 12 overall, and the first eight contests in ’01 have all been sold out.

Besides being sellouts, seven of Notre Dame’s eight games this year have come in front of stadium record crowds. The Irish played in front of 78,118 fans at Nebraska, welcomed Notre Dame Stadium-record crowds of 80,795 for the Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia , USC and Tennessee games, and took the field before 87,206 at Texas A&M, setting a Kyle Field, Big 12 Conference and state of Texas record in the process.

Knute Rockne owns the best career winning percentage among Notre Dame coaches in games decided by seven or fewer points, at 21-1-5 (.870). Among Irish coaches with 14-plus ?close games,? the other top winning percentages in tight games belong to Elmer Layden (22-7-3, .734), Frank Leahy (17-5-8, .700), Ara Parseghian (13-6-4, .652), Dan Devine (15-9-1, .620), Bob Davie (14-11, .560) and Lou Holtz (20-18-2, .525).

Notre Dame has earned the 2001 American Football Coaches Association’s Academic Achievement Award, which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Memphis.

Notre Dame recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its football squad when all 20 members of its freshman class of 1995 earned a degree. Vanderbilt also recorded a 100 percent rate to share the 2001 award with Notre Dame.

Notre Dame won the award for the sixth time (previously in 1982,1983, 1984-tie, 1988, 1991). Notre Dame’s six awards are second most behind the 10 won by Duke University.

Notre Dame also has earned honorable mention status 14 times.

The 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award will be presented to Notre Dame and Vanderbilt at the AFCA Kickoff Luncheon during the Association’s 2002 convention in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the 2001 AFCA Academic Achievement Award, the 2000 Notre Dame football squad had its most successful semesters in the classroom in the history of the program, based on final grades from the 2001 spring semester and the 2000 fall semester. In the spring, Notre Dame finished with a combined team grade-point average of 2.75, the highest combined GPA on record, besting the previous high of 2.67 set during the 2000 fall semester.

Notre Dame has three athletes who are two-sport standouts with the Irish:

  • Cornerback Shane Walton is less than three years removed from earning all-BIG EAST honors as a freshman forward on the ’98 Irish men’s soccer team. Walton entered the 2000 season as Notre Dame’s starter at right cornerback and finished with 29 tackles, one tackle for a loss, two interceptions including a 60-yard INT return for a touchdown against Purdue’s Drew Brees and three passes deflected. Walton joined the Irish football squad in the spring of ’99 and saw action in three games in the secondary during the ’99 season. He played in nine games overall with 61 appearances on special teams, earning his second Notre Dame monogram in as many years and in as many sports. This season, Walton ranks sixth on the team with 30 tackles (second among Irish DBs) and leads the squad with four pass breakups. He also blocked a punt against Nebraska to set up an Irish TD, and picked off a pass against Pittsburgh to help keep the high-powered Panther offense in check.
  • Walk-on Chad DeBolt made 72 special teams appearances in including a season-high 13 vs. USC and was one of just four walkons on the usual travel list. He recovered a blocked punt vs. Rutgers and blocked a punt vs. USC both of which led to Irish TDs. This season, he has made 55 special teams appearances and also charted one tackle against Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Boston College. DeBolt also stars for the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team which advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 2001. The Waterloo, N.Y., native played in all 16 games for the Irish in ’01 recording one goal, while scooping up 60 ground balls. For his career, he has one goal and 118 ground balls.
  • Kicker Nicholas Setta, who finished sixth at the Illinois state track and field meet in the high jump and was the top hurdler in the state, competed for Irish head coach Joe Piane and the Notre Dame track and field program last winter. Setta ran middle distance for the Irish and competed at the 2001 BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championships. On the gridiron, Setta has connected on 25 of his 26 placement kicks this season (10 FG, 15 PATs), stretching his streak of consecutive PATs made to 47, the fourth-longest in school history. He also tied his career best with a 47-yard field goal at Texas A&M and has made all six of his field goal attempts from 40 yards or more in 2001.

FORMER IRISH GREAT DAVE DUERSON Former Notre Dame football All-American Dave Duerson is still extremely involved with the University in a number of capacities. A former team captain, Duerson was named to the Notre Dame Board of Trustees in 2001, and was the winner of the 2001 Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association. The Sorin Award is presented annually to a graduate who has embodied ?the values of Our Lady’s University? in his service to the community. The president of Fair Oaks Farms, Inc., a Wisconsin-based international meat supplier that in 1999 was ranked 64th among Black Enterprise 100 companies, Duerson previously served as a member of the advisory council for the University’s Mendoza College of Business and currently is first vice president of the Notre Dame National Monogram Club (he will serve as president from June 2003-June 2005). He also is a member of the athletic department’s student development mentoring program.

2000-01 NOTRE DAME ATHLETIC RESUME HIGHLIGHTS Notre Dame experienced its most successful season as an athletic department in 2000-01 highlighted with an 11th place Sears Directors’ Cup finish and its fifth consecutive BIG EAST Conference Commissioner Trophy. Here are some highlights from the 2000-01 season:

  • Women’s basketball 2001 NCAA Champions, track and field’s Ryan Shay won the 10,000 meters at the 2001 NCAA Track and Field Championships, fencing was third at NCAAs and two other teams (women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse) advance to the NCAA Final Four
  • Four teams ranked number one at some point in season women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s fencing and baseball
  • 31 athletic All-Americans
  • Sixteen of possible 22 teams achieved national rankings (no polls for men’s and women’s indoor or outdoor track) and ten teams achieved highest ranking in history of program
  • Top NCAA finishes include 1st in women’s basketball, 3rd in men’s and women’s fencing combined, national semifinals in women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse, 9th in men’s cross country
  • Three national players of the year Anne Makinen in women’s soccer, Ruth Riley in women’s basketball, Michelle Dasso in women’s tennis

Notre Dame finished 11th in the final set of sports standings released in the 2000-2001 Sears Directors’ Cup all-sports competition, matching its highest finish ever. Spring NCAA competition earned the Irish points based on their semifinal appearance in men’s lacrosse (75 points), a third-round appearance in women’s tennis (50 points), a second-round showing in men’s tennis (30 points), regional appearances in both softball and baseball (50 and 30 points respectively), and a 21st-place finish in men’s track and field (63 points), giving Notre Dame 764.5 total points for 2000-2001. Winter sports points came from Notre Dame’s NCAA championship in women’s basketball (100 points), a third-place finish in fencing (80 points), a second-round finish in men’s basketball (30 points), a 37th-place finish in women’s swimming (31 points) and a 58th place finish in women’s indoor track and field (23.5 points). Notre Dame earned 202 points during the fall sports season, thanks to the Irish women’s soccer team’s NCAA semifinal finish, the men’s cross country team finishing ninth at the NCAA championships, the football team’s final ranking of 16, plus the volleyball team advancing to the NCAAs . Stanford (1,359 points) won the competition, followed by UCLA, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. In previous years in which the Sears Directors’ Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in 1993-94, 30th in ’94-’95, 11th in ’95-’96, 14th in ’96-’97, tied for 31st in ’97-’98, 25th in ’98-’99 and 21st in 1999-2000.

Notre Dame ranked first and Florida State second in ESPN’s ?College Sports Fan Favorite Football Team? Poll. The Irish pulled in top billing with 7.1 percent, followed by Florida State at 5.4 percent. Michigan (4.7%), Penn State (4.3%) and Ohio State (3.8%) rounded out the top five. Notre Dame and Florida State also were the only two schools named in all four regions listed in the poll.

Tickets are available for the 2001 Notre Dame Football Kickoff Luncheons in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). The luncheons will be held the same day and time (Friday at noon EST) before every Irish home football game this season. The 2001 Notre Dame Football Luncheons are sponsored by the Notre Dame Athletic Department and the speaking program each week includes a combination of special guests, head coach Bob Davie, members of the coaching staff and members of the Irish squad, in addition to video features. Tickets are $18 each (plus $3 handling charge per order) and are available by calling (219) 272-2870.

All 2001 football pep rallies will be held on Fridays prior to home games in the Joyce Center Arena (south dome), with planned start times of 7:00 p.m.

Notre Dame will take part in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Child Identification Program at Saturday’s game vs. Navy. Following the game, stadium ushers will distribute identification kits to fans as they leave Notre Dame Stadium. The kits give parents a way to take and store their child’s fingerprints in their own home. The card remains in the parents’ possession and can give authorities vital information assist them in their efforts to locate a missing child. The AFCA is coordinating this program at college stadiums nationwide, with more than one million kits expected to be distributed this year.

ABC Sports announced last week that the Dec. 1 game between Notre Dame and Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., will kick off at 4:30 p.m. (EST). The game will be shown as part of a split national telecast, with Oregon-Oregon State also being televised by ABC in the same time slot. The Notre Dame-Purdue game is part of an ABC tripleheader that day with Miami kicking off against Virginia Tech at 1 p.m. (EST)? and the Big XII Conference championship game being shown on the network in prime time. The Notre Dame-Purdue game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15, but was postponed and rescheduled due to the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania earlier that week.

The Naval Academy announced Oct. 10 that PSINet Stadium in Baltimore will play host to the 2002 Notre Dame-Navy game, and Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will play host to the 2004 Notre Dame-Navy contest. It will be the first time the series will be played at PSINet Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Notre Dame and Navy have played five times at Giants Stadium, with the Irish winning all five encounters, including a 38-7 win in their most recent visit in 1992. The Notre Dame-Navy matchup is the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country the two teams will square off for the 75th time this season on Nov. 17 at Notre Dame Stadium.

The 2001 edition of the Notre Dame Media Guide is available for $10 (plus postage and handling) by calling the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore at 219-631-6316. This year’s edition features 480 pages of facts, figures and historical notes about Notre Dame football. The 1981, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999 versions of the media guide were voted best in the nation by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

This season marks the eighth edition of the Notre Dame Football Yearbookan official publication by the University of Notre Dame athletic department. The 1994, ’95, ’96, ’97 and ’98 and 2000 editions were voted best in the nation in the special publications competition sponsored by the College Sports Information Directors of America. The yearbook, published with Host Communications, numbers more than 150 pages, including game action shots of returning Irish players and coaches, plus photo coverage of the Irish award winners and campus scenes. It’s a collector’s item that’s perfect for autographs with an emphasis on outstanding color photography unavailable in any other publication. The yearbook is priced at $8 (plus $4 for postage and handling) and can be ordered by calling 1-800-313-4678 or by writing to: Notre Dame Programs, 904 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY 40505.

A handful of Notre Dame athletic teams will be competing on campus this week. On Tuesday, the defending national champion Irish women’s basketball team will play its final exhibition game against Christian Brothers at 7 p.m. (EST) at the Joyce Center. On Wednesday, the nationally-ranked volleyball team closes out its regular-season home slate against Illinois State at 7 p.m. at the Joyce Center. On Thursday and Friday, the Notre Dame men’s swimming team will be in action, battling Western Ontario (Thurs. at 7 p.m.) and Texas Christian (Fri. at 5 p.m.), with both meets taking place at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Also on Friday, the Irish men’s basketball team will kick off its 2001-02 season against New Hampshire tipoff time from the Joyce Center is 9 p.m. On Sunday, the 15th-ranked Irish women?s basketball team will open its ’01-02 schedule against Valparaiso at 1 p.m. at the Joyce Center prior to the game, Notre Dame will raise its 2001 NCAA Championship banner to the rafters.

Notre Dame also is expected to play host to NCAA women’s soccer action this weekend when the pairings for the 2001 NCAA Tournament are released at 3 p.m. EST Monday.