'66 team member Tom Nash is greeted by junior linebacker Manti T'eo and former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Friday's pep rally (photo by Mike Bennett)

Monogram Club Musings: Michigan State Edition

Sept. 19, 2011


media-icon-photogallery.gifMichigan State Weekend Event Photo Gallery

This football season, the Monogram Club will continue to produce the “Monogram Club Musings,” a regular online article following each home football game. The publication will fill Monogram winners in on Club events throughout the season, provide information on alumni and prominent figures that return to campus for the game, and highlight Monogram Club presentations and activities that occur during the weekend.

If you can’t make it to campus, but would like to update the Monogram Club on what you’ve been up to, please send an email to mlafranc@nd.edu and “The Muse” will include it in an upcoming edition.

This past weekend, the Monogram Club’s mission of “bridging the gap between legend and legacy” took center stage, as members of the 1966 national championship football team returned to campus to celebrate the 45th anniversary of their historic season and witnessed the current Irish squad upset 15th-ranked Michigan State Saturday in Notre Dame Stadium. The 1966 team famously played to a tie with the Spartans in the penultimate game of the season before throttling USC, 51-0 en route to the national title.

In addition to the ’66 team reunion, members of the Monogram Club board of directors gathered for the organization’s fall meeting on Friday and attended all of the Monogram Club events throughout the weekend.

Keep reading to hear about all of the famous Irish alumni and fans that made the trek to Our Lady’s University for Saturday’s game – with movie stars, heads of state, and star athletes on hand, this is sure to be one of the most star-studded editions of the Musings in recent memory.

Michigan State Game Notes

– Monogram Club president Dick Nussbaum ’74, ’77 (baseball) and his wife, Mary Pat, presented the national colors during pre-game festivities. The first family of the Monogram Club was joined by three members of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team who led the United States to the gold medal this summer in the World University Games – senior forward Devereaux Peters, senior guard Natalie Novosel and junior guard Skylar Diggins.

– In celebration of the 2010-11 women’s basketball team’s magical run to the 2011 NCAA Final Four, Peters, Novosel and Diggins joined their teammates on the field at halftime to take part in a special recognition ceremony. They were accompanied by head coach Muffet McGraw (honorary), who was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this past June.

– For the second-consecutive game, a pre-game flyover electrified the crowd before the opening kickoff. Saturday’s flyover featured two USAF A-10Cs.

Sightings Around Campus

– Former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ’75 (M.A.) spent the weekend meeting with University brass including president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and football head coach Brian Kelly. She was on campus as a special guest for the Joyce Grants-in-Aid Recognition Weekend, serving as a keynote speaker at the organization’s dinner on Friday. While in South Bend, she also made a stop at Friday’s pep rally and was recognized on the field Saturday during a first quarter timeout.

Rice earned her master’s degree in political science from Notre Dame before beginning her political career in 1977 as a State Department intern in President Jimmy Carter’s administration.

The highlight of Rice’s weekend on campus may have been at the Warren Golf Course, where she stepped up to her shot and sunk an improbable hole-in-one while playing alongside coach McGraw. Way to go, Dr. Rice!

– The Muse spotted members of one of Hollywood’s most buzzed-about families on the field prior to the contest against the Spartans, as actor Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez, were in South Bend to promote their new film, “The Way.” In addition to being a huge Fighting Irish football fan, Sheen famously portrayed one of Notre Dame’s most prominent fictional alumni, President Josiah Bartlet, on “The West Wing.” There was no double-crossing President Bartlet when it came toNotre Dame football.

– NFL veterans Ricky Watters ’90 and Jerome Bettis ’93 checked in at the Monogram Club’s Friday football reception at the Schivarelli Players’ Lounge. Bettis and Watters spent some quality time catching up with former teammate and all-around good guy Reggie Brooks ’93. The trio formed one of the most intimidating Notre Dame backfields in recent memory during the 1989 season, which culminated for the Irish with a 21-6 win over top-ranked Colorado in the Orange Bowl.

– Former Notre Dame Bengal Bout champion Mike Lee ’09 won a unanimous four-round decision Friday night over Jacob Stiers of Kansas City, Kan., in front of 3,296 fans at Purcell Pavilion. The event benefited both the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the Robinson Community Learning Center. Notre Dame alumnus and super fan Regis Philbin ’53 emceed the main event.

– NASCAR driver Kurt Busch attended the game while in town for the GEICO 400 at the nearby Chicagoland Speedway. Busch works with former Irish football walk-on defensive back Chris Ham in the marketing arena. A 1995 Notre Dame graduate in business, Ham lives in Winston-Salem, N.C., and is president of his own consulting firm as well as director of motorsports for Lennox Motorsports.

– During Friday’s Monogram Club fall board meeting, the organization welcomed five new directors that will serve on the board until 2014. The group includes Chris Stevens ’74 (basketball), Byron Spruell ’87, `89 (football), Bryan Fenton ’87 (manager), Tom Arkell ’94, ’97 (hockey) and Carolyn Cooper ’06 (volleyball).

1966 National Championship Football Team Reunion

More than 80 members of Notre Dame’s 1966 national championship football team reunited at events throughout the weekend to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the squad’s undefeated campaign (9-0-1).

The group kicked off the festivities on Friday night with a welcome reception and meeting, then headed over to Irish Green and made an appearance on stage at the pep rally much to the delight of the thousands in attendance, including members of the current Notre Dame squad.

“I got a chance to shake hands with every one of the 1966 players as they came off the stage for our pep rally on Friday and our team got a chance to interact with them as well,” football head coach Brian Kelly said. “It was a great way to mix our team with Ara Parseghian and his championship team.”

Following a Friday night dinner in the Monogram Room featuring rousing remarks from coach Parseghian, team members reconvened on Saturday and were recognized on the field in a pre-game ceremony. Saturday’s events also included a tour of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex and a post-game reception in Purcell Pavilion’s Club Naimoli.

The 1966 team featured arguably the best defense in Notre Dame history, led by consensus All-Americans Jim Lynch ’67 and Alan Page `67. The Irish gave up a paltry 38 points in 10 games (that’s 3.8 points per game if you’re doing the math at home), including an astounding six shutouts. With a superior defense taking the field each Saturday, the 1966 team won by an average of 32.4 points, the largest margin of victory for any Notre Dame national champion.

The Muse spoke with standout linebacker John Pergine ’68 about the cohesiveness of the defensive unit. Pergine’s nine career interceptions are the most ever by an Irish linebacker.

“There was a lot of camaraderie on the team,” Pergine said. “We had superstars, but nobody that acted like a superstar. There was a lot of respect for one another – we had a bunch of guys that just did their job and worked hard. That’s probably one of the nicest things about this group.”

The Muse heard the word “camaraderie” thrown out a lot by members of team, including by sophomore quarterback Terry Hanratty ’69, who finished sixth in the Heisman trophy balloting after throwing for 1,247 yards and eight scores during the ’66 campaign.

As freshmen weren’t part of the official roster during those days, Hanratty won the starting job as a true rookie, an unenviable position to say the least.

Despite the intimidating circumstances, Hanratty credits the senior leaders on the team – with their words of encouragement and advice – as a big reason for his success during the season.


Former head football coach Ara Parseghian addressed the 1966 team at Friday night’s dinner



The team raced out to an 8-0 start, with the 26-14 season opening victory over eighth-ranked Purdue as the only game in which the Irish won by less than 24 points.

After moving to No. 1 in the national polls late in the season, Notre Dame faced a legendary road test against second-ranked Michigan State on Nov. 19, a contest coined as “The Game of the Century” by media and fans alike.

With consensus All-American tailback Nick Eddy ’67 already out with a shoulder injury, adversity continued to mount for the Irish as Hanratty went down in the first quarter after being sacked by Michigan State defensive lineman Bubba Smith. Fellow sophomore Coley O’Brien `69 replaced Hanratty with the Irish down 10-0, and quickly started the Irish on the comeback trail with a 34-yard touchdown strike to Eddy’s replacement, Bob Gladieux `69.

“I slept very well the night before because I didn’t think I was going to get off the bench,” O’Brien joked.

After the Irish knotted the score at 10 with a fourth quarter field goal, Michigan State missed a field goal attempt to go ahead, and the game ended in a controversial 10-10 tie.

The Irish returned to the locker room with heads hung low, as the team’s national championship hopes seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. But Gladieux and center George Goeddeke `67 both spoke adamantly with the Muse about Parseghian’s post-game speech and how he stressed the importance of going into a hostile environment and avoiding a devastating loss.

“You come to a situation where it’s a big game, and all of a sudden, you’re able to do things you’ve never done before,” Gladieux said. “For me, it was because of the coaching and the leadership of coach Parseghian. He’s just an incredible man.”

“Ara’s motto was that we had no breaking point. He felt that if we kept persisting and doing as well as we could and not quite, we would prevail,” Goeddeke said during Friday’s football luncheon. “That’s what stuck with me in life. You have ups and downs in life, but you rise above those things that affect you in the real world. Those are the life lessons that he taught.”

Parseghian’s words that night in East Lansing motivated the Irish to turn their focus completely on the upcoming USC game, and the result was nothing short of spectacular.

O’Brien threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns as Notre Dame went into the Coliseum and throttled the 10th-ranked Trojans, 51-0.

The rest is history.

“It was a nice combination. We had great senior leadership, an amazing defense, and the offense really started to click as the season continued,” O’Brien said. “We had that magic all the way through the year.”

Pre-Game Reception Alumni News & Notes

Another standing room only crowd of 675 packed the Monogram Room before heading to Notre Dame Stadium to watch the Irish upset the Spartans. The menu continues to impress the Muse, as this weekend’s fare included fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad, and some top-notch cookies.

Here are some of the Monogram winners we caught up with during the afternoon:

Pat Bradley ’88 (swimming) checked in with the Monogram Club from Arlington, Va., where he is an attorney for the Department of Justice.

Green Bay, Wis., native Andrew Farah ’82 (manager) enjoyed the Monogram Club festivities over the weekend. Farah owns an investment firm in Packers country.

Will Zocolla ’81 (lacrosse) works as a lawyer in Memphis, Tenn.

Former Irish swimmer Edmond Veome ’90 is a vice president of marketing in La Grange, Ill.

Michael McDonough ’74 (manager) joined us from Bennington, Vt. where he is the men’s basketball head coach and an assistant athletics director at Southern Vermont College.

Donald Grieve `51 (baseball) made the trip to campus from Yonkers, N.Y., where he is involved with Chevy Motors.

— ND —