Feb. 12, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Notre Dame head coach and 2008 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame Lou Holtz is to visit Tokyo, Japan, from February 18 to 21 to promote the Notre Dame Japan Bowl 2009.
Holtz will take charge of the Notre Dame Football Legends, an alumni team made up of former Fighting Irish football players when they take on the Japanese senior national team at the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome in Japan’s capital city on July 25. The game will be the highlight of an eight-day visit to Tokyo to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Japan American Football Association (JAFA).
On his fleeting visit to Tokyo, coach Holtz will meet with the President and CEO of GE Money Asia Mr. Fujimori, be airlifted by helicopter to US military base Camp Zama, and will visit the Acting Ambassador to Japan Mr. James Zumwalt. As part of a busy schedule, coach Holtz will also be the keynote speaker at the American Chamber of Commerce Japan luncheon, meet with JAFA dignitaries and be hosted at a reception by the Tokyo Notre Dame Alumni Club.
“Coach Holtz told us when he agreed to coach in this game that he would be fully committed to the cause and that is certainly the case, more than five months before we are even due to line up on the football field,” said organizer Patrick Steenberge (ND ’73). The President of Global Football Inc was a quarterback at Notre Dame in the early 70s. He added: “The Japanese media and public will give him a warm welcome when he touches down in Tokyo and they are very excited that he is making this visit. It is an honor to work with the Notre Dame Monogram Club on this worthy project that will further assist their charitable efforts.”
Holtz will cast an eye over the practice facilities at Nihon University that will be home to the ND Football Legends and tour the illustrious Tokyo Dome venue for the game, which has also played host to Major League Baseball games, NFL preseason games and championship boxing fights.
Holtz will hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. local time on Friday, February 20 at the Tokyo Dome, when he will reveal the final members of his coaching staff and the identity of some of the former Notre Dame players who will suit up for the ND Football Legends against Team Japan on July 25.
For more information on the Notre Dame Japan Bowl 2009 visit www.NDJapanBowl.com.
About the Japan American Football Association (JAFA)
JAFA was established in 1935 and celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2009 and currently has 390 teams playing at the corporate semi-professional, university and high school level with more than 18,000 active players. The Japanese football championship game, better known as the Rice Bowl, launched in 1948 as an east versus west all-star game. In 1983, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of American football in Japan, the Rice Bowl changed its format to one that pits the university champion against the corporate-sponsored semi-pro champion to determine the national champion. The annual game takes place during the national New Year’s holiday in January.