Jan. 21, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind – Down 11 with under three minutes left in the game, Notre Dame hoops went on a run for the history books. On Jan. 19th 1974, the Fighting Irish scored 12 straight points to knock off top ranked UCLA, 71-70, ending the Bruins NCAA record 88 game winning streak. 35 years after that historic game the coach of the Irish, Digger Phelps is returning to the Joyce Center.
This Saturday, the Monogram winner looks to make a different kind of history. Phelps will lead a new team consisting of Reece Davis, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis to campus, as ESPN broadcasts College Gameday live from the campus of Notre Dame.
“I want 11,400 people here to sellout the Joyce Center for College Gameday, Phelps said, “The largest crowd we ever had for Gameday was 5,000 people a few years ago at Michigan State and I want to blow that out of the water. This is Notre Dame’s chance to tell the country we are ND.”
Each week Gameday travels around the country to showcase the marquee matchup in college basketball. With a veteran lineup that includes seniors Kyle McAlarney and Ryan Ayers to go along with reigning Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody, this is the perfect chance for the show to make its debut at Notre Dame.
“I want the Monogram Club to know that this is my dream come true to have Gameday come to town, because Notre Dame has earned it.” Phelps said, “College campuses are dying to have College Gameday come to town and that is part of the mystique of the show, but this week Gameday gets to show the country the mystique of Notre Dame.”
For 20 years Phelps roamed the sidelines inside the Joyce Center amassing a 393-197 record. On April 15, 1991 Phelps resigned his post as the head coach of the Irish.
Two years after leaving the Notre Dame, Phelps began working for ESPN as a college basketball analyst. While ESPN is located over 700 miles east of South Bend, Phelps decided to keep his home close to the Notre Dame Campus.
Phelps said, “I have a love for this place. I could live anywhere in the country if I wanted to but I just love Notre Dame.”
Even though it has been close to 18 years since Phelps last coached a game at the Joyce Center he continues to be involved with the Monogram Club and Notre Dame athletics.
“The Monogram Club has been an extension of all the great moments in Notre Dame athletic history.” Phelps said, “For all these former players and coaches to have lives that are successful off the court and to see them giving back to Notre Dame and the Monogram Club is special. The Monogram Club is truly like an extended family.”