July 14, 2009

Notre Dame, Ind – The final roster of 57 players who take part in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl in the Tokyo Dome against Team Japan on Saturday, July 25, has been confirmed.

There are five former Irish team captains on the Notre Dame Football Legends roster, including 1988 national championship quarterback TONY RICE, defensive tackle MELVIN DANSBY, and linebackers BOBBIE HOWARD, BRANDON HOYTE and MIKE GOOLSBY.

The oldest player on the roster is wide receiver KRIS HAINES, who will celebrate his 52nd birthday two days before he lines up for on the football field again. Haines was Notre Dame’s leading pass receiver with 32 catches for 699 receiving yards in ’78; most of those coming from all-star quarterback Joe Montana. He caught the game-winning touchdown from Montana as time ran out in the ’79 Cotton Bowl vs. Houston (for 35-34 win), capping an amazing comeback after the Irish trailed by 22 points with 12 minutes remaining.

The team’s youngest player at 23-years-old, THOMAS BEMENDERFER, is an offensive guard who was one of four walk-ons who received a scholarship prior to the ’07 season. He played in all 12 regular-season games, as well as the Hawai’i Bowl at center and guard in ’08. He currently lives in Mishawaka, Ind., and plans to attend Indiana University School of Medicine this fall.

To request a word document version of this press release and the Notre Dame Football Legends roster, contact MP@MPrestonSports.com

Among the captains, Rice was the starting quarterback on Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship team and finished fourth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy as senior in ’89. He won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in ’89 as the top quarterback in the country and was the College Player of the Year and a first-team All-America quarterback in ’89. One of three senior captains of the ’89 Notre Dame team, he had a 28-3 record as starting quarterback from 1987 through ’89.

Dansby was one of three captains of Notre Dame’s 1997 football squad that qualified for the Independence Bowl. A standout on the Notre Dame defensive line, recording 201 tackles in his career and starting in 1996 and ’97 campaigns, he was the winner of the 1997 Nick Pietrosante Award (by vote of players) as the Irish player who best exemplified characteristics of late Notre Dame All-America fullback. He played in 41 regular-season games in his Irish career. He now lives in Marietta, Ga., where he is the technical sales consultant for AT&T Wholesale Markets.

Howard was one of three Notre Dame football captains as senior in 1998. He led the team in ’98 with 118 tackles and started 21 games during his four-year career, playing as a regular at inside linebacker in ’97 and ’98. He was the winner of the 1998 Nick Pietrosante Award. He received Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award in both ’97 and ’98. He currently resides in Chicago, Ill., where he is a partnership specialist with the United States Census Bureau

Hoyte was one of two Notre Dame team captains in 2005 season (joining Brady Quinn) and led the Irish squad in tackles in ’05 with 92. He also recorded 16.5 tackles for loss and six sacks that senior season and finished his career with 297 tackles and 36 tackles for loss. He currently lives in Chicago, Ill., where he is a financial analyst for LaSalle Investment Management.

Goolsby was one of four captains of Notre Dame’s 2004 football team that qualified for the Insight Bowl. A two-year inside linebacker starter for Notre Dame in 2002 and 2004 and the leading Irish tackler as a senior in ’04, he played in 47 games in his career and led team with 97 tackles in ’04. He now lives in Chicago, Ill., where he is a collegiate scout for the National Collegiate Scouting (NCSA) while also owning his own company called All Day Inc.

Other notable Notre Dame football alumni on the roster include offensive guard JEREMY AKERS, wide receiver BOBBY BROWN, linebacker DEREK CURRY, offensive lineman BOB MORTON and fullback RAY ZELLARS.

A two-year starter at offensive guard for Notre Dame in 1994 and ’96, Akers played in 30 regular-season games in his career and started 23 times. He was named ’96 second-team All-America by College & Pro Football Newsweekly and helped the Irish average 269.5 yards rushing in ’96, ranking eighth nationally. He currently resides in Redondo Beach, Calif., where he is a self-employed consultant for Capital Real Estate Advisors and serves as vice president of NFL Retired Players of Greater Los Angeles.

Brown was Notre Dame’s leading receiver in both 1997 and 1999 campaigns an made 96 career regular-season pass receptions for Notre Dame during four seasons, leading the Irish with 45 catches in ’97 and then 36 in ’99. He finished his Irish career playing in 37 consecutive games, starting 28 combined regular-season games at wide receiver over his final three seasons. He currently lives in South Orange, N.J., where he is an attorney at law for the Law Office of Braynard O. Brown and has been a member of the bar in New Jersey since 2006.

Curry was a three-year starter at linebacker on the Notre Dame defense from 2002 through 2004 and was the winner of the 2004 Nick Pietrosante Award. He was fifth on the team with 61 tackles in ’04 and tied for second with eight tackles for loss in ’04. He currently lives in Granger, Ind., where he is the director of student ministry for the Granger Community Church.

Morton was a three-year starter on the Notre Dame offensive line in 2003, 04 and ’06 and played in 46 games, while starting 39 of them in his career. He started every game in ’06 on team that finished 10-3 and qualified for a BCS postseason game. He helped lead an offense that averaged 477.3 yards a game in ’04. Morton currently lives in Mishawaka, Ind., where he is the resident director and coordinator of athletic spiritual development for Bethel College.

Zellars was a two-season starting fullback for Notre Dame in 1993 and ’94 and rushed for 1,135 career yards and also caught 28 career passes. He scored 13 career touchdowns, eight rushing and five on pass receptions. He played in 35 career regular-season games, starting on 18 occasions and played on four Notre Dame squads that participated in postseason bowl games

Head coach LOU HOLTZ will implement his game plan during five practices at the LaBar Fields practice facility at the University of Notre Dame from July 16 to 18. The camp kicks off with an 8.30pm Thursday evening practice once all players have arrived and been fitted for equipment. They will hit the practice field again at 10m and 4pm on Friday, July 17, and at 9am and 3pm on Saturday, July 18.

The 100-strong group of Notre Dame Football Legends players, coaches, staff and university representatives will leave South Bend on Sunday, July 19 and will attend a week of practices, sightseeing and media events before facing Team Japan in the Tokyo Dome on Saturday, July 25, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Japan American Football Association (JAFA). The event is endorsed and supported by the Notre Dame Monogram Club.

CBS College Sports Network, the original 24-hour sports network, will broadcast the Notre Dame Japan Bowl to a nationwide audience in the United States on Monday, August 10 (9:00 PM, ET; taped 7/25/09) as part of the Network’s “Countdown to Kickoff Week” programming.

For more information on the Notre Dame Japan Bowl 2009 and the Notre Dame Football Legends, visit www.NDJapanBowl.com. The full roster is also available at that website.