Leprechauns past and future at a Monogram Club pre-game reception

Monogram Club Musings: Stanford Edition

Sept. 27, 2010


media-icon-photogallery.gifStanford Weekend Photo Gallery

This football season, the Monogram Club will begin producing “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 presentations 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.

Stanford Game Notes

The pre-game flag ceremony proved to be out-of-this-world, as Col. Kevin Ford ’82 presented the colors to the Irish guard. Ford a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, is a current NASA astronaut that served as pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in August 2009. The Montpelier, Ind., native graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in aerospace engineering and is no stranger to Notre Dame Stadium, having spent his undergrad years as a drummer in the Irish marching band.

With all the individual sport reunions on campus this weekend, the alumni of the marching band would not be outdone. Former band members from decades past joined the current Irish group on the field during its pre-game show and at halftime.

In addition, alumni on campus for the men’s golf, men’s tennis and cheerleading reunions enjoyed sitting together during the game for some much needed catching up.

Sightings Around Campus

The Muse crossed paths with legendary Irish quarterback Joe Montana ’79 as the four-time Superbowl champion (all with the San Francisco 49ers) made stops on the Irish sideline and in the press box.

Another member of both the Notre Dame and San Francisco families, current 49ers radio play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson `78 served as the host of the Notre Dame Friday football luncheon. In addition to his broadcasting duties with the 49ers, Robinson anchors NBC Sports’ tennis coverage of Wimbledon and the French Open and has acted as a play-by-play commentator in seven-consecutive Olympic Games telecasts for NBC.

Robinson’s wife, Mary `78, is a Monogram winner in field hockey, and the couple has two children that are proud Notre Dame graduates.

Robinson announced short track speed skating during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and was on the call when Apollo Anton Ohno became the most decorated American Winter Olympian of all time. Ohno was spotted on campus this summer as he took part in seminars recruiting Notre Dame business students to Deloitte, one of the largest accounting firms in the world. Deloitte serves as a corporate sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee.

Fresh off his team’s 2010 Stanley Cup victory, Chicago Blackhawks vice president and general manager Stan Bowman ’95 made a number of appearances with the Cup over the weekend and the Muse spoke with Bowman while on the sidelines during the Stanford game.

“It’s the thrill of a lifetime to bring the Cup back here,” Bowman said. “I wasn’t sure we’d be able to pull it off given the schedule, but it’s been something I was hoping we could find the time to do ever since we won the title. Notre Dame meant a lot to me. You grow a lot in your four years here and it was a meaningful part of my life, so I wanted to bring the Cup back here and share it with everybody.”

Bowman started as a scout with the team and in only 10 years worked his way up to his current position with the Blackhawks. As a proud graduate of Notre Dame, Bowman credits the University with teaching him many of the values and career skills that helped him move up in the organization.

“You learn a lot of different things here at Notre Dame,” Bowman said. “You’re pushed academically to overachieve and you have to prepare yourself well, study hard and develop a work ethic. All of those things helped me as I worked my way up with the Blackhawks. It didn’t happen overnight and I think you learn that here that you have to build on things.”

Men’s Tennis, Men’s Golf and Cheerleading Host Reunions

The Stanford weekend marked the biggest individual sport reunion weekend of the fall season, as the men’s golf, tennis and cheerleading programs all held gatherings on campus. The Muse spoke with Monogram winners from each of the sports about the weekend’s events and how it felt to return to campus.

Men’s Golf

Mike LaFrance ’73 returned to campus for the men’s golf reunion and took part in some of the program’s activities. LaFrance, when not spending his time researching his family tree (the Muse shares his fantastic last name), serves as the general manager and head golf professional at The Links at Lily Creek Resort in Jamestown, Ky.

The golf reunion included a meet and greet with the current Irish golf squad, the opportunity to play a round with one of the student-athletes and multiple receptions throughout the weekend.


Two generations of Irish cheerleaders, daughter, Kelly, and mother, Helen, enjoy the pre-game reception.

Many of the cheerleaders on hand for their reunion swung by the Monogram Club pre-game reception, festively joining in when the current Irish squad came in for their weekly power cheer with Monogram winners. The Muse chatted with a few of the cheerleading alumni in between their enjoyment of some of the juiciest pulled pork sandwiches the Monogram Room has seen in quite some time.

Helen McCormack Jenko ’87 especially enjoyed the reception as her daughter, Kelly ’12, has followed in her footsteps as a member of the Irish cheerleading squad and was on hand for the pre-game rally.

“It’s a wild feeling looking at her on the field,” Helen Jenko said. “She’s even doing some of the same rallies that I was doing 20 years ago. It’s actually a cooler feeling watching her do it then even when I did it myself. I can’t even explain how neat it is.”

Kelly Jenko will be cheering at the Notre Dame vs. Army game at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20 and Helen will be on hand, like she usually is, to watch with pride as her daughter represents the Irish on the road.

“This has been my dream for so long,” Kelly said. “I love seeing my mom at every single game, it makes me so happy.”

Former cheerleaders Heather Fisher Walsh ’97 and Kelly Cole Stanko `96 were kind enough to share some of their reunion itinerary with the Muse. Besides cheering in Friday’s pep rally, the reunion also included a reception and auction and plenty of spirit at the football game on Saturday.

Stanko works as a veterinarian in Orlando, Fla., while Walsh lives in Tucson, Ariz. where she practices as a family physician and also assists with sports medicine efforts at the University of Arizona.

Men’s Tennis

Attendees of the men’s tennis reunion showed up in droves at the pre-game reception and the post-game Mass. In addition to receptions on Friday and Saturday, the reunion also included some friendly tennis action.

Among the group at the reunion was legendary Irish tennis head coach Tom Fallon, who is still going strong at age 93. Fallon, who led the Irish to the 1959 national title, coached Notre Dame from 1957-87, posing a 514-194 (.762) all-time record.

One of Fallon’s former players, Jim Bemis ’63, caught up with the Muse during the reception. He fondly recalls trips to Washington, D.C. and all of the Big 10 schools as a member of the tennis team, but will never forget his trip to Annapolis, Md. to play the Naval Academy. After the match with the Midshipmen, the Irish were invited to eat dinner with the cadets. It was a memorable experience, although Bemis admits the Irish left the meal a bit hungry, as they had trouble adjusting to the regimented eating style that the cadets had mastered. After graduating from Notre Dame, Bemis spent his career with a local bank before retiring in Omaha, Neb.

Friday Football Reception

The Muse found a spirited crowd at the Friday football reception this past week and spoke with a few Monogram winners, including three former teammates, about their playing days and life after Notre Dame.

Tom Longo ’66 owns a company that sells print circuit boards and cabling in Wayne, N.J. A defensive back with the Irish from 1963-65, Longo was drafted by the New York Giants and played three seasons in the NFL, making four interceptions in 29 career games. Longo says his time at Notre Dame under Ara Parseghian made the transition into the NFL a much easier experience.

“The caliber of players that we played against at Notre Dame was extraordinary,” Longo said. “Every week you played teams that you knew would produce NFL talent and we had a great coaching staff that really prepared us for the next level. So it actually wasn’t as big a jump from Notre Dame to the NFL as it was from high school to Notre Dame, because I played at such a small high school in New Jersey.”

Longo’s teammate, Rich Sauget ’66 is the president of a real estate development company in his namesake hometown of Sauget, Ill. Sauget married his Notre Dame sweetheart after college and made the trip for the Stanford game this past week with his bride who still looks as good as when he married her! That’s a direct quote.

Phil Sheridan ’66 practices as an attorney living in Glen Rock, N.J. Sheridan captained the Irish as a senior and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1966 before heading to law school. A legacy at Notre Dame, Sheridan’s father, Phil, also played football for the Irish from 1938-40.

Chris Smith ’85, a former Monogram Club board member, played fullback with the Irish from 1981-84 and spent two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before beginning his corporate career. After spending much of his career in sales and the service sector, Smith now works for an organization called Career Athletes in Kansas City that helps current student-athletes make the transition from college to their professional careers.

Smith also has the honor of being the father of Irish senior linebacker Brian Smith, and is thrilled with how his son’s career has gone at Notre Dame.

“I’m very excited and proud to be his father,” Chris said. “I knew a long time ago that he would be the kind of student-athlete that could come to Notre Dame, play and be successful. He’s done all that and more. I couldn’t be more pleased with his success here both on and off the field.

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 Stanford 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!

Former wrestling student manager Dr. Robert Gwadz ’62 works at the National Institute of Health and lives in Bethesda, Md. Gwadz has spent much of his career studying malaria, its course of action, and vaccinations for the disease. Gwadz also appeared in an impressive cameo as a doctor in a Notre Dame advertisement a few years back. Way to represent the Monogram Club on the big stage, Robert!

Richard Boushka ’81 (football), a freshman on the 1977 national championship team, now lives in Houston, Texas where he works as a controller for Logistics Communications.

David Madigan ’81 (fencing) is a proud parent of two children who have ties with the Irish. His daughter is currently a student at St. Mary’s, while his son is a senior at Notre Dame. Madigan resides in Duxbury, Mass. with his wife and is a portfolio manager for Breckenridge Capital Advisors

Brian Dubay ’98 (soccer) has made a career as a finance director and lives in Raleigh, N.C.

Angela (Chapet) Foy ’01 (rowing) is a practicing attorney in Cedarburg, Wis.

Kathleen Graziano ’01 (swimming) works as an engineer in Taunton, Mass. nearby the Muse’s hometown of Bridgewater. We’ll have to schedule a Notre Dame basketball watch party over the holidays, Kathleen!

Meg Henican ’06 (volleyball) currently serves as an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Colorado and is pursuing her MBA while with the Buffaloes.

Rebecca Grove ’07 (swimming) is a CFM Transition Specialist with Accenture in New York City.