Monogram winner Matt McNew '01 (soccer, football) with his family during the Friday football reception.

Monogram Club Musings: Tulsa Edition

Nov. 1, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. –

Tulsa Weekend Event Photo Gallery

This football season, the Monogram Club will begin 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 presentations and activities that occur before, after and during the game.

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.

Although it was a bit of a quiet football weekend on campus for the Tulsa game, the Muse still caught up with some Monogram winners and spoke with employees of the New York Yankees who were on campus prepping for Notre Dame’s Nov. 20 football game versus Army at Yankee Stadium.

Tulsa Game Notes

In tribute to Notre Dame junior and football team videographer Declan Sullivan of Long Grove, Ill., who lost his life this past Wednesday, the Notre Dame (and Tulsa) players wore helmet decals in the shape of a shamrock, with the initials “DS” in the middle. Once the two teams reached the field prior to kickoff, public address announcer Mike Collins asked for a moment of silence observed in Sullivan’s memory, which was followed by a prayer from Notre Dame president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Five military service veterans from the state of Indiana were invited to attend the game in partnership with the Wounded Warriors Project. The organization has a special place in the community of Notre Dame, as Sarah Shay, the sister of Monogram winner Ryan Shay ’02 (track), is a proud supporter of the fund. Ryan Shay died unexpectedly during the New York City marathon in 2007, and Sarah will run the race in his honor this coming Sunday, with all fundraising proceeds benefiting Wounded Warriors. Shay has already raised $13,000 for the organization, which helps injured service members aid and assist each other. She is hoping to reach the $26,000 mark after her run on November 7.

Monogram Club News & Notes

This past Tuesday, Monogram Club board member Terri Vitale ’94, ’95 (tennis) addressed the freshmen class of Irish student-athletes during a welcome dinner in the Notre Dame Stadium press box. Vitale praised the freshmen for their strong academic and athletic high school careers and wished them well for a successful four years in South Bend.

The funeral of long-time Notre Dame tennis coach Tom Fallon `42 was held on Monday, October 29 in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Fallon’s eulogy was given by one of Fallon’s Irish student-athletes, Don Ralph ’61. Ralph commented on the ways the soft-spoken Fallon motivated and mentored his players, always with a kind disposition.

“He was unfailingly generous, thoughtful, polite and considerate of other people,” Ralph said. “He was also humorous and always had an Irish twinkle in his eye. What he taught us was how to be gentlemen, how to work hard, how to control our tempers, how to act as positive representatives of the University, how to treat other people and how to be strong Christian men.”

Fallon compiled a 514-194 (.726) record in his 31 seasons as head coach of Notre Dame, including a perfect 14-0 regular season in 1959 that culminated with a national championship victory. Since current Irish men’s coach Bobby Bayliss took the reigns of the program in 1987-88, the Notre Dame squad generally has opened its fall season with the Tom Fallon Invitational on campus.

Monogram winners and their families attend a weekend reception.

Monogram Club Receptions

Football Lounge

At the Friday night football reception in the Schivarelli Players’ Lounge, the Muse had a good conversation with the Senior Director of Scoreboard and Broadcasting for the New York Yankees, Michael Bonner. Bonner and his colleagues were on hand for the Tulsa game to take in the Notre Dame game day experience in order to replicate it when the Irish come to the Bronx for the Nov. 20 game against Army.

“This is the first college football game that we’ll ever have at the new Yankee Stadium and we really want to do it top notch all the way,” Bonner said. “Whether you’re a fan from South Bend or you’re an alumnus from New York, you’re going to feel like you’re at Notre Dame Stadium. We want to make people feel like they’re at the University of Notre Dame, Bronx campus.”

Also with the Manhattan contingent in South Bend for the weekend, Brandon Mihm, the producer of Yankees On Demand, is a life-long Notre Dame fan and will be responsible for replicating the type of in-game entertainment in the Bronx that is used in Notre Dame Stadium. Mihm will also create some unique elements for the Nov. 20 game, including video highlight packages and other digital features for the scoreboard.

The Muse also found a couple football Monogram winners with some unique stories to share in the players’ lounge.

John Wackowski ’85 (football) played linebacker for the Irish from 1981-85. He always wanted to attend Notre Dame growing up, and after his father passed away from cancer when Wachowski was seven, he made it his goal to attend the University and find a cure in his dad’s memory.

He wrote a letter expressing that goal when he was seven to the Notre Dame administration and to his surprise, Wachowski was invited to spend a weekend in South Bend. He was lucky enough to meet head coach Ara Parseghian and was presented with a Notre Dame football jersey with his peewee football number on it. At the end of the trip, Wachowski and his mother met with then-president Father Hesburgh.

When Wachowski’s mother asked why the University did so much for a small kid from the middle of nowhere, Hesburgh replied, “We knew that letter came from his heart, and that’s what this place is all about. We felt we had to do this for him.”

So for the next 10 years, Wachowski studied hard and eventually got into Notre Dame where he greatly enjoyed his college career. Upon graduating, he spent four years as an officer in the Navy before beginning a business career. Currently, he lives in San Francisco, Calif., where he works as a financial advisor and has five children.

Matt McNew ’01 (soccer, football) is a medical device salesman living in Dallas, Texas. McNew played in 80 career games for the Irish soccer team from 1996-99, posting totals of five goals and four assists. As a fifth-year senior in the fall of 2000, McNew walked on to the football team where he handled kickoff duties for a squad that reached the Fiesta Bowl under head coach Bob Davie. McNew made his first trip back to campus since graduating this weekend.

“The confidence I’ve gained and how this place motivated me to live for the Lord is what I’ve really taken away from my experience at Notre Dame and playing soccer and football,” McNew said.

Pre-Game Reception

A number of Monogram winners checked in with us at the Club’s pre-game reception prior to the Tulsa 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!

Don Grieve ’51 (baseball) is a retired General Motors director living in Wheaton, Ill.

Former student athletic trainer Len Moretti ’69 resides in South Bend, where he is a sales director for AmerisourceBergen. Moretti was excited to learn that trainers from the past few decades will be added to the Ring of Names in Heritage Hall after the first of the year. Congratulations, Len!

Another South Bend resident, 38-year Air Force veteran Pete Sullivan ’69 (student manager, football) spoke with the Muse during the pre-game reception. Sullivan is the proud father of two daughters, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

William O’Connor ’74 (swimming) serves as an attorney living in Hammond, Ind.

Tom Ryan ’87 (golf) owns his own consulting business in Strongsville, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland.

Patrick Bradley ’88 (swimming) scored tickets to the Tulsa game after being the first Monogram winner to correctly answer the Club’s October trivia question on our Facebook page. Bradley became a fan of the page just minutes before the question was posted. So congratulations, Patrick! Bradley is a resident of Arlington, Va. and works as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

— ND —