Sept. 14, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. – Members of the University of Notre Dame’s 1949 national championship football team – considered one of the greatest in the history of college football — will hold their 60th reunion this weekend in conjunction with the Sept. 19 Notre Dame-Michigan State football game at Notre Dame Stadium.
Members of all the Irish team from the late 1940s have been invited, and 25 members of those teams will be back on campus and will be honored at the first timeout of the game on Saturday.
Leahy’s Lads returnees this weekend include Tom Carter, Bob Dolmetsch, Jack Fallon (starting RT in ’48), John Frampton, Bill Fischer (starting LG from ’46 through ’48 and ’48 Outland Trophy winner), Walt Grothaus (starting C in ’49), Frank Harty, Bill Higgins, Ed Hudak, Don Huml, Ray Jonardi, Bill Kramer, Jack Landry, Al Lesko, John Lujack (’47 Heisman Trophy-winning QB), Ralph McGehee (starting RT in ’49), Dan Modak, John Panelli (starting FB in ’47 and ’48), Tom Potter, Gerry Ramsberger, Buddy Romano, George Sullivan, Bill Whiteside, Bob Williams (starting QB in ’49) and Martha Johnson (wife of the late Rodney Johnson).
Modak, who now lives in Cortland, Ohio, has organized the weekend of activities.
The ’49 team finished with a perfect 10-0 record, led by captains Leon Hart (he won the Heisman Trophy in ’49) and Jim Martin. The Irish took over the number-one ranking three games into the season and held it the rest of the way.
Notre Dame averaged 36 points per game that season and in seven of the 10 games allowed seven or fewer points. The ’49 season marked the fourth consecutive season in which Notre Dame did not lose a football game (36-0-2 over that stretch).
Big wins that season included a 46-7 victory over #4 Tulane in Notre Dame Stadium, a 34-21 win over #10 Michigan State in East Lansing — and a season-ending 27-20 triumph over SMU in Dallas.