Aug. 31, 2017
By John Heisler
The University of Notre Dame has never had a formal athletic hall of fame.
But, at least from a football standpoint, the closest equivalent now exists as a set of brand-new displays at the south end of Notre Dame Stadium’s redone lower concourse.
Previously there were displays at the various stadium entry gates to recognize consensus All-Americans and Academic All-Americans, national championship teams and coaches, Heisman Trophy winners and Pro Football Hall of Fame members.
When fans now enter Gate C at Notre Dame Stadium (the Frank Leahy Gate at the south end), they’ll find all those displays merged into one area recognizing the most accomplished teams and individuals in Irish football history.
There are adjacent displays to recognize Notre Dame’s 11 consensus national title teams, Irish Heisman Trophy winners, consensus and first-team All-Americans and first- and second-team Academic All-Americans and inductees to the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame. Each plaque is dark blue with stand-off gold lettering. There also are four large video monitors that can be programmed to highlight the various honored groups.
“Our goal is to use that space whenever there are names or teams added to the display as a singular way to recognize those accomplishments, both on the field and in the classroom and both individually and as a team,” says Brant Ust, executive director of the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
“A huge number of fans enter the stadium at that south end, so it’s fitting that that will be one of the first things they see as they enter.”
The football displays also will be the opening stop when tours of Notre Dame Stadium resume later this fall.
All Irish football Monogram Club members have been invited to the Notre Dame-Temple game, and they’ll have a chance Friday night to have a preview of the new displays as Bob Crable’s College Football Hall of Fame plaque is “unveiled” as part of his 2017 induction. The former players will form the pregame tunnel through which the Irish teams runs prior to kickoff Saturday, and then at the end of the first period Crable will be saluted with an on-field presentation of his College Hall of Fame honor.
Large banners featuring photos of All-Americans were removed as part of the Notre Dame Stadium construction update and offered to the individuals featured on the images. The one, for example, highlighting Alan Page’s Pro Football Hall of Fame honor will be on display in the Minneapolis-St. Paul middle school that has been renamed in Page’s honor.