June 12, 2005
The Notre Dame Monogram Club recently held its annual June events – highlighted by the popular dinner held in the Joyce Center concourse on June 2. Sixth-year Notre Dame head women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum – fresh off a national championship season – was among a distinguished group of speakers who addressed dinner attendees during the special night.
Excerpts of the comments from Waldrum are included below. Also be sure to check back to the Monogram Club page in the next few days for complete coverage of the June meeting events – including photos, the honorary monogram and the Moose Krause Award presentations, comments from Julie Doyle (the Monogram Club’s first female president) and biographical data on the five new members of the Monogram Club board of directors who will serve through 2008: Dr. Carol Lally-Shields (basketball, ’79), Barbara Mooney (softball, ’89), Dan Rahill (swimming, ’79), Frank Reynolds (football, ’59) and Jim Tyler (cross country, ’86). Katie Neff (volleyball ’04) also has joined the board and will serve out the term (to ’06) of Van Pearcy, who now serves as the Monogram Club secretary. Pearcy fills the spot held previously by Joe Restic, now the Monogram Club’s second vice-president while Marc Kelly has rotated into the first vice-president spot. All of the June meeting articles, photo galleries, etc. ultimately will be linked in one convenient posting on the official Monogram Club website (www.ndmonogramclub.com).
Excerpts from Notre Dame deputy athletic director Missy Conboy’s introduction of Randy Waldrum
Six years ago, we had the unenviable task of replacing Chris Petrucelli, who had coached Notre Dame to its first national championship in 1995. … One individual was particularly outstanding. By the time Randy Waldrum finished the interview process, we were convinced that he just might know more about our team and our University than the guy he had replaced. Since he has joined our staff, Randy’s performance has made the search committee look like a bunch of geniuses.
“Early last year on a visit to the nation’s capital, Randy suffered verbal abuse from the rowdy Georgetown fans, on account of the large hairstyle he was sporting. He promised to allow the team to shave his head if they won the national championship. And when returning to campus after securing the national title, out came the razor and Randy was treated to a televised haircut. It is just now growing out but so far no mullet has reappeared. It is with great pleasure that I introduce the head coach of the Notre Dame 2004 national championship soccer team, Randy Waldrum.”
Excerpts from comments by Notre Dame women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum at the Monogram Club dinner (June, 2005)
“Thank you, I appreciate that introduction and am really excited to be here tonight. It’s an opportunity to share some friendships, see some people we haven’t seen in a while and meet some new people.
“I did want to read something that I think all of us as former athletes can appreciate. It’s called `Success and Excellence’:
” `There are many people, particularly in sports, who think that success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person’s control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually. People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. In contrast, the person that is fascinated by quality is excited when he sees it in others.’
“That is a quote that Joe Paterno said years ago and I’ve always liked it and it’ s been a huge thing that we’ve thought about in developing our program and it’s been a big statement that we’ve thought about in developing our athletes. This University is clearly all about excellence and that’s known throughout the nation and throughout the rest of the world. What we are trying to do with our program is take a small piece of that and get our kids to understand how fortunate they are to be in the situation to attend our University. And we want them to continue to succeed. It’s real easy to win games and have a successful year. It’s quite different year-in and year-out to become successful and win and win and win.
“One of the things I want to do is thank you all for helping us out. We took a preseason trip to Brazil with our team in August and that gave us an extra two weeks of preparation that you normally don’t have in the preseason. The Monogram Club was very helpful in supporting some of that trip financially. It was a great experience culturally for the kids … to really appreciate what they have in life. But more importantly, it was one of those trips that we were able to prepare ourselves for a very difficult schedule at the beginning of the season.
The Monogram Club helped finance the Notre Dame women’s soccer team’s preseason trip to Brazil (2004 season photos by Pete LaFleur).
“We completed our fourth undefeated (regular) season in the history of the program. … When we won the championship here in 1995, there were 167 women’s Division I program. This year, we had 306. It’s very difficult now to go through undefeated.
“We overcame a couple of early obstacles. We lost Mary Boland, one of our Academic All-Americans, in the fourth game to a broken leg. … It was a big loss and she was one of our captains. We had two other top players that were playing for their respective national teams, Katie Thorlakson with Canada and Jen Buczkowski with the U.S. They both decided to forego playing for their country in Thailand for the Youth World Cup, which really says a lot about Notre Dame and how these athletes feel about their team and this institution after they worked for years and years to make their national teams.
“I really believe that as coaches we learn something new every day, the game is always evolving and I really learned some lessons with the team this year. … When we played Portland (in the NCAA quarterfinals), we worked real hard that week and were really worried about how to prepare for Christine Sinclair. Everybody said you have to man-mark her, you can’t leave her free. So we trained all week with a couple of different systems and (ND men’s soccer coach) Bobby Clark called me the night before the game and I asked his opinion and he said that he kind of believes in staying with what gets you there and it might be too many changes. Long story short, the best decision was no-decision and we felt we were the better team. We went on and won that game, 3-1. So, Bobby, thanks for the advise, I think sometimes we have to bounce things off one another.
Randy Waldrum and his coaching staff made several key adjustments and decisions during the 2004 national championship run.
“(In the championship game), we did the one thing that we all never want to see: we actually scored on ourselves and went down 1-0 with about 30 minutes left to go. They had a TV timeout with 20 minutes left and for us the timing was good. And when they came in, the look in the girls’ faces was this aura of `Everything is fine, we will get our chance.’ And sure enough, with about 15 minutes left we got a penalty kick which we converted to tie the game. We think we’ve got things in hand but then with about four minutes left in the game we give away a penalty kick, it’s like shooting a free-throw in basketball and they are made about 95% of the time. But fortunately for us Erika Bohn came up huge and made a big-time save that will be something that in the soccer annals here will become legendary.
“The game went into overtime and then penalty kicks. The funny thing about it, I had decided at the TV timeout that I wasn’t going to address the own-goal and we were going to continue on with the game and I think that was a good decision. We had been practicing our penalty kicks for a month so I knew who the five shooters were going to be and then the next five. But the moment we got onto the field and I started looking at the first five girls who were going to shoot, I could see in some of their eyes that this pressure was a little different than taking it in practice.
“Sarah Haplenny, one of our seniors, was like a little kid the whole time, tapping me on the shoulder: `I want to go #2, put me #2, I can go 2.’ Sarah hadn’t played a minute in the whole championship game and was going to be one of 10 people to shoot if it got that deep but in my order she was probably going to be #10. She said, `Put me #2. I’ll make it, I promise.’ And I tried to walk away from her, to ignore her. …
Sarah Halpenny had played sparingly in the 2004 season and had not seen any game time in the NCAA title game before nailing a key penalty kick that helped deliver the shootout win over UCLA.
“As I started to get the order, there was this big uncertainty among the group about who is going where and who felt comfortable. And the order I had was not going to be the order they were comfortable with. So I did something I’ve never done before and I said, `Here, you guys figure out what the order is.’ And as I’m walking away, I’m thinking I might be the dumbest coach in America.
They sorted it out and Katie (Thorlakson) missed and UCLA made their kick and then Sarah gets her wish and she goes second. Now Sarah hasn’t touched the ball, hasn’t warmed and hasn’t been in a pressure situation. But she just nails it, just as confident as she said she would. We get to the five penalty kicks and it’s still tied. We go to #6 and Jill Krivacek steps up. She is one of those players that if she would have had time to think about it, she would never have been able to walk up there but it happened so fast and she nailed it and then Erika Bohn saved their sixth kick and that’s how we won the national championship.
“One of the things that we talked to the kids afterwards was that we still had one penalty kick to take on the way home. This happened the first week in December and finals were the next week. We really came back and emphasized hitting the books and finishing out the academics very well. With 28 girls, we ended the semester with a 3.4 team GPA, which was amazing and is one of our highest ever. When we talked earlier about the difference between excellence and success, that’s what we want to do.
“I found right after we won it, it’s not what defines you. It’s not what defines what we are about as a program. I want to be that type of program that influences young people and it will mean more to me at the end of the day if our kids walk away and say, `I learned life lessons from coach. I learned what it took to be really committed to something.’
The Monogram Club provided the women’s soccer team’s sparkling 2004 national championship rings.
“Lastly, I really want to thank the Monogram Club. You provided us all with absolutely beautiful rings that will be with us for the rest of our lives. It’s not as big as the rings that coach Weis has but I’m as much proud of it as I’m sure you are for your Super Bowl rings and I know you’ll be equally proud when you get your first one here at Notre Dame.
“We’ve got a great men’s program and a great women’s program here at Notre Dame. If you haven’t had a chance to see us, come out and I think you’ll get really excited about soccer here at Notre Dame. Thank you and Go Irish!”