Sept. 13, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
For Sgt. Tim McCarthy, the fourth quarter of the Sept. 11 football game versus Michigan began much in the same way it has during every Notre Dame home contest since 1960.
The long-time member of the Indiana State Police Department reached the public address microphone in Notre Dame Stadium and simply said, “May I have your attention please.”
More than 80,795 fans roared, then immediately fell silent, eagerly awaiting McCarthy’s witty, yet important remarks about the dangers of drunken driving. After the announcement concluded, the crowd cheered in approval and McCarthy turned to leave to watch the remainder of the game.
What followed this usual routine, however, was unlike anything the Notre Dame legend had ever experienced in his 50 years in the press box.
Notre Dame Associate Athletics Director Mike Danch approached McCarthy in the public address booth and asked him to step outside for a word.
Once in the hallway, there waiting for McCarthy to arrive was his wife, Carole, son, Tim, daughter, Colleen, and son-in-law, Lennie. Monogram Club Executive Director Beth Hunter joined the family members soon after and announced that McCarthy had been awarded an honorary Monogram for his contributions to Notre Dame football and the community of South Bend.
“Tim McCarthy’s safety announcement has become a Notre Dame football tradition that rivals the team’s march to the stadium and the singing of the alma mater at the end of each game,” Hunter said. “Our Club felt that awarding Tim with an honorary Monogram was the best way to express to him how much he means to the Notre Dame community.”
Monogram Club president Joe Restic fitted McCarthy with his Monogram blazer
McCarthy, who had trouble finding words for how he was feeling, paused for a moment and then reflected on the honor.
“I’m overwhelmed, speechless really,” McCarthy said. “I never expected this, it’s a great honor. I’ve certainly enjoyed my experience with the University of Notre Dame. What really surprised me was that they were able to conceal all this from me, and I’m an old state police detective. I should have known better!”
Also present for the McCarthy ceremony were Monogram Club executive committee members Joe Restic ’79 (president), Dick Nussbaum ’74 (first vice president), Haley Scott-DeMaria ’95 (second vice president), the Hon. M Marc Kelly `82 (past president) and Marty Allen `59 (advisor). After the sergeant received his honorary Monogram scroll, Restic presented and fitted McCarthy with his Monogram blazer and Scott-DeMaria recited a quip similar to McCarthy’s, expressing the Club’s gratitude for all that he’s done for Notre Dame.
McCarthy began making his legendary announcements in 1960, deciding fans would be more inclined to listen to the safety message if he jazzed it up with a humorous line. Former Notre Dame athletics director Moose Krause loved the idea, and asked McCarthy to continue the service during each home football game. Now, more than 50 years later, the tradition continues to live on, more popular than ever before.
“The fans want to know what the quip’s going to be, and as a result, they listen to the real meat of the safety announcement,” McCarthy said. “That’s what I wanted to do and it just worked out. It was a gimmick that worked.”
McCarthy is the third Notre Dame icon to earn an honorary Monogram in 2010, joining Irish women’s lacrosse head coach Tracy Coyne and long-time Notre Dame basketball supporter Phil Singleton.