Legendary Irish football coach Ara Parseghian stopped by the Friday football reception to greet members of his 1970 team.

Monogram Club Musings: Pittsburgh Edition

Oct. 11, 2010


Pittsburgh Weekend Photo Gallery

This football season, the Monogram Club is producing the “Monogram Club Musings,” a regular online article after 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 mention Monogram Club reunions and activities that occur before, after and during the game. Photo galleries and video clips will also be included.

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.

Sightings Around Campus

Long-time Notre Dame men’s basketball coach and current lead ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps served as the host of the Notre Dame Friday football luncheon. Phelps coached the Irish for 20 seasons from 1971-91, amassing 393 career wins and leading Notre Dame to the 1978 Final Four.

Phelps welcomed former Irish and current Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate to the stage as his first guest. Tate spent his weekend off from the grind of the NFL season on campus, as Seattle had a bye this past Sunday. The former All-American is having a strong rookie campaign with the Seahawks, as Tate has 11 receptions for 115 yards through five games. He has also looked strong on special teams, with eight punt returns for a total of 144 yards, including a 63-yard return against Denver on Sept. 19. Tate has the pleasure of being teammates on the Seahawks with another former Domer, tight end John Carlson ’07.

In addition to guests at the luncheon, the Muse spotted co-host of ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” Mike Golic ’85, at the Friday pep rally at the Irish Green. Golic has two sons, Jake ’13 and Mike, Jr. ’12, on the current Irish football squad.

Pittsburgh Game Notes

The pregame U.S. Air Force flyover was coordinated by 2005 Notre Dame graduate Capt. John J. Harding.

During the game against Pittsburgh, Irish head coach Brian Kelly and the rest of his coaching staff wore articles of clothing from the Adidas Breast Cancer Collection, which is an apparel/headwear line created to support October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Irish student-athletes also wore pink arm and or/wrist bands during the game.

The 1970 Notre Dame football team, which defeated top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, was honored in an on-field presentation during a timeout in the first quarter. A full recap of the team’s reunion is included in the reunions section of the Musings below.

Also in the first quarter, the 2009 Irish women’s soccer team made its way on to the field to be recognized for its run to the NCAA College Cup (equivalent of Final Four) for a fourth-consecutive season. The 2010 squad is currently 13-1 and ranked #5 in the nation.

Individual Sport Reunions

The Pittsburgh weekend was highlighted by the reunion of the 1970 football team and the annual men’s lacrosse reunion weekend. The Muse stopped by the football event in the hospitality village and also swung by the lacrosse festivities at Arlotta Stadium.

1970 Football Reunion

Approximately 65 players, six coaches, 17 student managers, one trainer and several former administrators made the trip to Notre Dame this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1970 football team. The memorable Irish squad compiled an impressive 10-1 record and beat top-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl, ending the Longhorns storied 30-game winning streak.

The team still holds an impressive single-season offensive record, as the Irish amassed a whopping 510.5 yards per game during the special season. The squad was also a strong defensive unit, as the Irish ranked fifth in the country that year in allowing only 220 yards per game to opposing teams.

In addition to the receptions and dinners held throughout the weekend by members of the 1970 team, the squad gathered on Saturday in the hospitality village to celebrate the incredible season and remember those teammates and staff members who have passed on. In attendance at the reunion were head coach Ara Parseghian and co-captains Larry Dinardo ’71 and Tim Kelly ’71.

Parseghian addressed the crowd with his usual charm and reflected on one of his best teams during his 11 seasons as the head coach of the Fighting Irish. He also spoke on how the friendships and rapport between members of the team are some of the strongest he’s seen and how they should always cherish the relationships built during the magical year.

The Muse spoke with a few of the other team members in attendance during the weekend, who reflected on the 1970 season and what they’ve been up to in the 40 years since.

Jim McDonald ’72 served as a manager on the 1971 team and interacted with many of the ’70 team members during his tenure at Notre Dame. McDonald is a South Bend resident and works as a national sales representative for an insulation company. He hosted a party on Thursday night as a kickoff event for the reunion and enjoyed catching up with his old friends.

“We watched the highlight film of the ’70 season and the film from the Cotton Bowl,” McDonald said. “It was great finding out who has grandkids, who’s got kids that are married and what everyone’s been doing since Notre Dame.”

Dennis DePrimio ’72 played offensive guard on the 1970 team and gave a speech during the reunion on Saturday. He lives in Ligonier, Pa. and owns a small business as a contractor and home repair specialist after spending most of his career with IBM.

“As soon as you see anyone that you played with, even after 40 years, you know them instantly,” DePrimio said. “It’s a really cool event and its great to see all of these guys.”

Former All-American defensive tackle Greg Marx ’72 reflected on the star power of his fellow juniors on the team’s defense. Walt Patulski ’72 was the No. 1 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, while Clarence Ellis ’72 and Mike Kadish ’72 were also first round selections in the 1973 NFL Draft. Marx wasn’t too shabby either, as the Northville, Mich. native was selected with the second pick of the second round in 1973. He played two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before returning to Notre Dame to attend law school and serve as a lawyer in the Detroit area.

Marx also waxed nostalgic about Parseghian’s practices, as the legendary Notre Dame coach would often stand on top of scaffolding to get a bird’s eye view of the action on the multiple Irish practice fields. Marx quipped that players would fear being singled out during the scrimmages, as it would sound as if God himself was smiting them from high above.

Also in attendance was Pat Steenberge ’73, a quarterback while with the Irish, who spoke about how great it is to catch up with his former teammates, as he hadn’t seen some of them in the 40 years since the team last gathered. Currently, Steenberge is the president of the Global Sports Group, a sports special events and international travel organization providing the opportunity for young amateur athletes from different countries to compete against one another, while experiencing and learning first-hand about each other’s cultures.

The Granbury, Texas resident is also very active at Notre Dame, as he is the creator the annual football fantasy camp and was one of the chief organizers of the Japan Bowl during the summer of 2009.

Finally, Peter Lenk ’73 was a sophomore manager during the 1970 run and currently lives in Maidens, Va. and worked as a production supervisor for a manufacturing company before retiring. He is the proud father of two Notre Dame graduates.

The current men’s lacrosse team took part in the program’s annual “Steak and Hotdog Game” on Saturday.

Men’s Lacrosse Reunion

The men’s lacrosse program hosted its annual reunion on Saturday, with around 100 alums in attendance. The day featured a tailgate at Arlotta Stadium and a recognition ceremony for the class of 2010, during which a montage of the team’s 2010 Final Four run was showcased.

The reunion kicked off on Saturday morning with the team’s annual “Steak and Hotdog Game,” which has become legendary tradition in the Notre Dame lacrosse program. It is consistently the fiercest scrimmage of the year, as the current Irish squad splits into two teams, chosen by the seniors, with much at “steak.” The Sunday following the game, the team will get together at head coach Kevin Corrigan’s home to watch NFL football and hang out. The winning team enjoys steaks while the losing team has hot dogs.

“I don’t know how long we’ve been doing the game, it’s been at least 15 years,” Corrigan said. “As we let the seniors pick the teams, it’s a way for us to find out what they think of our guys, because they’re drafting to win the game. If we’re doing it right, our guys are having fun and competing as hard as they can at the same time.”

Corrigan was impressed with the alumni turnout this year and appreciates the always-generous support from the program’s graduates.

“Our alums love Notre Dame, they love having played lacrosse here and they love each other more than anything else,” Corrigan said. “They have great friendships, so whether it’s this weekend or any other weekend in the fall, we see them coming back in groups together.

Alums returned from all different eras of Notre Dame lacrosse during the weekend and the Muse spoke with a couple alums that run the gamut of Coach Corrigan’s 24-year tenure as head coach of the Irish.

Tom O’Brien ’93, a midfielder while with Notre Dame, is currently a commodities trader with the Chicago Board of Trade and lives in Elmhurst, Ill. O’Brien followed the 2010 Irish squad closely during its run in the NCAA Tournament.

“The national exposure last spring was fantastic, especially for the Midwest, having a team like Notre Dame go to the finals was really exciting” O’Brien said. “I was a member of Coach Corrigan’s first recruiting class at Notre Dame, so just to see the culmination of the first class to last year’s class was a great thing.”

One of Corrigan’s more recent graduates, Scott Rodgers ’10, also stopped by the tailgate after the Steak/Hotdog game and spoke about his successful rookie year with the Toronto Nationals of Major League Lacrosse. Rodgers will now focus on the indoor lacrosse season, as he was taken with the 15th overall selection in the 2010 National Lacrosse League draft by the Minnesota Swarm. It will be a Notre Dame reunion of sorts for Rodgers, as the team is owned by Irish lacrosse benefactor John Arlotta. Rodgers said his long-term goal is to become a strength & conditioning coach for a Division I school.

“I think last year the tournament and the national championship game set me up well for my professional career,” Rodgers said. “The year we had last year and the support we had from the alumni during the run in the tournament, it’s good to get us all back and catch up.”

Rodgers, a two-time All-America selection (2009-10) in goal for the Irish, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NCAA Championship, as he and the Notre Dame defense allowed only 5.75 goals per game in four tournament contests. The Irish defeated No. 6 Princeton, No. 3 Maryland and No. 7 Cornell before falling to No. 5 Duke in the national title game.

Monogram Club Pre-Game Reception Alumni Notes

A number of Monogram winners checked in with us at the Club’s pre-game reception prior to the Pittsburgh game. If you plan on attending a Fighting Irish football game this season, make sure you check in at the Monogram Club table at the pre-game reception to share with us what you’ve been up to!

Robin Weber ’76 (football) works as a commercial real estate broker in Dallas, Texas.

Lee Ann Banks ’83 (swimming) currently resides in Jericho, Vt., and works as an environmental compliance manager.

Former women’s soccer manager Brian Tierney ’93 is an employee of American Airlines living in Coppell, Texas just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Also from the manager crowd, former golf student manager Jeff Simko ’02 works in the business operations office at Notre Dame. Glad you’re representing the Monogram Club here on campus, Jeff!