Nov. 1, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and “The Muse” will include it in an upcoming edition.
This past weekend, the Monogram Club held its usual slate of events before members descended upon Notre Dame Stadium to watch the Irish handle Navy, 56-14. The Muse also spent some time with a number of Notre Dame legends at the men’s basketball program’s annual reunion Saturday in the Joyce Center.
Keep reading to find out more!
Navy Game Notes
– Pre-game festivities featured a flyover by two Navy F/A-18 Hornets to the delight of the 80,795 fans in attendance.
– A moment of silence was held in Xavier Murphy’s honor prior to the game. Murphy was a senior student manager for the football team in 2010 and was an intern for the team this year. He lost his battle with leukemia on Oct. 11. The Notre Dame football team will continue to honor Murphy with a decal on its helmets throughout the 2011 season.
– The Notre Dame Marching Band spelled out “Regis” during its halftime ceremony to congratulate Regis Philbin – an honorary Monogram recipient – on his upcoming retirement. Congratulations, Regis!
– Saturday’s Navy-themed safety announcement from 2010 honorary Monogram recipient Sgt. Tim McCarthy: “”Make the drive home smooth sailing – by not going overboard.”
Sightings Around Campus
– It’s always a treat when Johnny Lujack (’48) comes back to South Bend, and this past weekend was no different. The 1947 Heisman Trophy winner took a stroll around campus Saturday before heading down to the field for pre-game festivities. Lujack supplies a never-ending fix of Notre Dame stories and top-notch jokes, and there is rarely a dull moment when the charismatic legend is around.
– NFL senior vice president of public relations Greg Aiello (’74) stopped by the Monogram Club office Saturday morning with his friend and current Monogram Club board member Chris Stevens (’74, basketball). Aiello – the league’s official spokesperson – is a Twitter fiend, with over 30,000 followers who check in with him for NFL news, book recommendations, insider information and more.
– Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine (’03) and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Darrin Walls (’11) spent their NFL bye weekends at their home away from home and cheered on the Irish from the sideline on Saturday. Faine has started all six games for the Bucs this season and is as reliable as they come at the center position – with 108 starts in 108 games over his nine-year career. Now a trusty snapper and blocker for Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman, Faine also spent time in the trenches with Drew Brees from 2006-07 in New Orleans. He began his career with the Cleveland Browns from 2003-05.
– The Muse stopped by the annual Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp tailgate on Saturday morning, headed up by long-time camp veteran and Irish supporter Rick Peltz. Fantasy Camp is a truly unique experience, which completely immerses campers for a week in the life of a Notre Dame football student-athlete each summer. The campers reconnect at a tailgate each fall to rekindle the close friendships that develop over the course of the week.
“You can’t believe the camaraderie you get from a week of playing football with these guys” one camper told the Muse on Saturday. “You literally become brothers, and we keep in touch pretty regularly. There are always emails floating around and somebody is always doing something. You get really close, so it’s really great to come back and see people year after year and find out how they’re doing.”
Matt Carroll (’03) ranks eighth all time at Notre Dame with 1,850 career points.
Men’s Basketball Reunion
More than 70 former players, coaches and staff members celebrated the legacy of the Notre Dame men’s basketball program this past weekend on campus. The festivities began with a Friday night reception in the Jordan Hall of Science to honor long-time supporter and friend of the program Ed O’Rourke. On Saturday afternoon, the action moved to Club Naimoli in the Joyce Center for a pre-game tailgate social.
Notable attendees included Chicago Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson (’83) and two-time NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons Bill Laimbeer (’79). The Irish also welcomed back former All-Americans Bob Arnzen (’69), David Rivers (’88), and Dick Rosenthal (’54), who served as director of athletics at the University from 1987-94.
The Muse learned a lot about the history of Notre Dame basketball from the former players in attendance and enjoyed some great conversation with a number of Irish legends.
Bob Whitmore (’69) spoke with the Muse about the legendary Washington, D.C. pipeline that’s brought elite basketball talent to South Bend over the years, including Austin Carr (’71), Adrian Dantley (’78), current Irish hoopers Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant, and head coach Mike Brey.
Whitmore was one of the first highly-sought Washington players to attend Notre Dame and helped bring the Irish program to prominence in the mid-to-late 60s. He ranks 13th on the all-time Notre Dame scoring list with 1,580 career points.
“One of the reasons why I came to Notre Dame was I wanted the perfect mix between academics, an education in the law and a career in athletics,” Whitmore said. “I went overseas and played for awhile and when I came back, I got into banking and then became a lawyer. So not only did Notre Dame get me prepared for the basketball portion of my life, but it certainly got me prepared for the successes that I had later as well.”
Whitmore played a major role in recruiting a number of Washington, D.C. players during his time with the Irish, including Carr and All-America forward Collis Jones (’71), who pulled down 884 career rebounds and led the Irish in rebounding during the 1969-70 and 1970-71 campaigns.
Jones discussed how Notre Dame basketball offers a unique family atmosphere that prepares student-athletes to lead the program as they become upperclassmen.
“The guys who were ahead of me like Bob Whitmore and Joe Bertrand, those are guys that served as mentors for me during my time here,” Jones said. “I tried doing the same thing with some of the younger guys on the team as I got older – that taught me a lot about coaching youth basketball, which I’ve enjoyed doing later in life.”
Regardless of what era of Notre Dame basketball the reunion attendees represented, each of the players spoke candidly with the Muse about how much they enjoy returning to campus.
Eight-year NBA veteran and current Charlotte Bobcats forward Matt Carroll (’03) – although frustrated by the league’s labor unrest – appreciated the opportunity to make a rare October trip back to Notre Dame. Carroll informed the Muse of the important role Coach Brey played in developing the Horsham, Pa., native into the NBA talent he is today.
“He was a huge part of making my dreams become a reality, and helping me get to that next level as an individual, as a player, and as a man,” Carroll said. “He really put me in a position that when I got to my senior year, I was ready. I was ready to be the leader of the team, and I was ready to accept the challenge. He really does a great job of developing guys and giving them the confidence and the opportunity to excel – that’s what he did for me.”
Carroll is looking forward to following the 2011-12 version of the Irish.
“I got the chance to practice with the guys this weekend and really enjoyed it,” Carroll said. “They have a good core group of guys and guys that like to work hard, along with some young talent. I think as the season goes on they’re going to come together. They’re going to do really well this year and I can’t wait to see it.”
Pre-Game Reception Alumni News & Notes
More than 300 Monogram winners and their guests stopped by the Club’s pregame reception on Saturday morning to enjoy plenty of good food and conversation. Monogram Club staff member and catering extraordinaire Donnetta McClellan picked out a delicious menu of tacos, quesadillas, tortilla chips and guacamole. No word on whether Donnetta was paying tribute to Mexico’s upcoming Day of the Dead celebration or if she just wanted some nachos. We’ll be sure to find out!
Here are some of the Monogram winners we caught up with during the afternoon:
Former football player Michael Boeschenstein (’83) works in software sales in Dallas, Texas.
Winston-Salem, N.C., resident James McGuire (’89, track) enjoyed the Monogram Club festivities held over the weekend. McGuire currently works in sales at Treofan Group.
Kenneth Klappel (’01, ’04, student manager) is a lawyer from Westlake, Ohio.
Amber Grundy (’02, student manager) visited us from Vandalia, Mich., where she is the executive director of the Campfire Youth Development Program.
Former rower Devon Hegeman (’05) is currently working as a high school English teacher in Hoboken, N.J.
Kathleen Lopez (’05, rowing) joined us from Ann Arbor, Mich. where she works for the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Don’t worry, we won’t hold your Wolverine ties against you, Kathleen!
— ND —