Pat Garrity was the first Notre Dame player feted into an ACC Legends Class.

Notre Dame Great Pat Garrity Joins 2014 ACC Men's Basketball Legends Class

April 4, 2014


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Pat Garrity, one of the most accomplished student-athletes on and off the basketball court in the University of Notre Dame’s illustrious athletic history, joined the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Legends Class March 15 in Greensboro, N.C. Garrity joined an individual from each of the other 14 ACC institutions honored at a brunch that morning at the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel in Greensboro. Then, the 15 honorees were introduced at halftime of the first semifinal game that afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Joining Garrity at the event were his son Henry, his parents and two sisters. Representing Notre Dame were senior associate athletics director John Heisler, assistant athletics director and outgoing Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter, incoming Monogram Club executive director Brant Ust, Notre Dame Sports Properties president Scott Correira, current Monogram Club board member Lance Legree and former board member Kerrie (Wagner) Debbs.

Included in this year’s class were two members of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary basketball team, nine former All-Americans, seven former all-ACC selections, eight former first-round NBA Draft selections, three players who led their teams to four ACC Championships and players who led their teams to an NCAA title and one NIT Championship.

Garrity starred for the Irish from 1994-98 and started all 111 games during his Notre Dame career. The Monument, Colo., native stands fifth on the all-time Notre Dame scoring list with 2,035 points, one of just seven players in school history to score more than 2,000 points. He also finished with 776 rebounds and is one of just four players in school history with more than 2,000 points and 700 rebounds. Garrity was the first Irish player to be named BIG EAST Player of the Year when he earned the award in ’97 after leading the Irish with 21.0 points and 7.4 rebounds. He capped off his senior season by averaging 24.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in league play and was named the BIG EAST/Aeropostale Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In his final season, Garrity earned All-America recognition from the Associated Press, Sporting News and Basketball Weekly.

A two-time GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Garrity was named the national Academic All-American of the Year for men’s basketball in 1998 and had a 3.659 overall grade point average during his eight semesters at Notre Dame. He graduated from the University with a degree in pre-professional studies from the College of Science.

Following graduation, he was selected as the 19th pick overall in the ’98 NBA draft. Garrity appeared in 513 games for Orlando, second-most in franchise history, and 552 overall during his NBA career with both the Magic and Phoenix Suns. He averaged 7.3 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Garrity also earned an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2011.

In addition to Garrity, the other members of the 2014 ACC Basketball Legends Class included:

 Former Virginia head coach Terry Holland, who guided the Cavaliers to a pair of NCAA Final Four Appearances in a 16-year career in Charlottesville that included an NIT Championship, 13 post-season berths and nine NCAA Tournament invitations.

 Former Syracuse sharpshooting guard Dave Bing, who was a consensus All-America for the Orange and a seven-time NBA All-Star while earning selection to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

 Maryland’s John Lucas. one of the great overall athletes in ACC history who captured the ACC’s McKevlin Award in 1976 as the league’s top overall athlete after earning first-team All-America honors in both basketball and tennis.

 North Carolina State’s Julius Hodge who earned ACC Basketball Player of the Year honors for the Wolfpack in 2004.

 Boston College’s Jack Magee, who led BC to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 1958 and also its historic first win over Holy Cross.

 Clemson’s Wayne “Tree” Rollins, who at 7-1 was one of the great defensive intimidators and rebounders in league history.

 Duke’s Gene Banks, one of the key cogs of the Blue Devils’ 1978 Final Four team and one of the most versatile players in league history.

 Florida State’s Al Thornton, an All-America forward who was a powerful offensive force for the Seminoles and runner-up for ACC Player of the Year in 2007.

 Georgia Tech’s Travis Best, a sweet-shooting point guard who led the Rambling Wreck to two NCAA Tournament and one NIT berth.

 Miami’s Steve Edwards, a multi-talented big guard for the Hurricanes who helped rebuild Miami’s program in the mid 1990s.  North Carolina’s Eric Montross, a powerful pivotman who was a two-time All-America and key player on the Tar Heels’ 1993 National Championship team.  Pittburgh’s Don Hennon, a two-time first-team All-America who is the Panthers all-time leading scorer and a member of the Helms Foundation Basketball Hall of Fame.  Virginia’s Tech’s Bobby Stevens, the author of the Hokies’ famed game-winning shot in the championship of the 1973 National Invitation Tournament against Notre Dame.  Wake Forest all-purpose forward Sam Ivy, a lynchpin of the Demon Deacon teams of the late 1980s.

Here’s a Q&A with Garrity reprinted from the ACC Tournament game program:

Q. You are being honored as an ACC Legend. Does that seem a bit surreal?

A. It surely does, especially when you consider that when I first went to school there we were independent. I never imagined 15 or 16 years ago that Notre Dame would be playing teams like Duke, Carolina and Virginia in the ACC. Just for me to come down and be part of the (ACC Legends) weekend is really special.

Q. Did you follow the conference growing up, or maybe even check in once in a while during your time at Notre Dame?

A. I did, of course, because it seemed like two or three of the best teams in college basketball were always ACC teams. I always followed them pretty closely during the regular season, and then, come this time of the year, the ACC Tournament was always the one tournament I tried to watch in addition to the Big East, and whatever else was immediately in front of me.

Q. You obviously brought a lot of basketball talent with you when you went to Notre Dame, but you also had extraordinary classroom accomplishments. Was the university’s academic reputation the main thing that sold you on heading to South Bend?

A. It certainly had a lot to do with the academics. I wasn’t really a highly recruited player coming out of high school, so one of the key criteria for me was to go to a place that was a prestigious academic institution. It was that, and a combination of being reasonably sure that I was going to get a chance to play right away. Those were two of the things that sort of sealed it for me. Plus, at that time, I knew Notre Dame was about to enter the Big East, and it would be exciting to be a part of that inaugural group.

Q. You were from a military family and your father had graduated from Air Force. Did you ever consider going a similar route?

A. When I was younger, I was like everyone else – everyone wants to do what their dad did. But going to a military academy wasn’t the career that I wanted, so pretty early on I realized that I wasn’t going to do that. At the same time, having been around the military culture and having my dad work in the military for a number of years was a big influence on me – obviously the discipline and all of the things that come with that.

Q. In 1997 you became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to be named the Big East Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Given the basketball history of that league and some of others who had played in the league and won that award, how awesome was that for you personally?

A. That was another one of those awards that I couldn’t believe I was getting, especially when you looked at the other guys who had won that it before. It was a really special moments. It was obviously one of the top awards in terms of individual recognition that I’ve ever gotten, so it meant a huge deal to me.

Q. Not every former student-athlete gets this question, but when you graduated from Notre Dame, even as a first-round NBA selection, was pursuing a career other than professional basketball an option? Were you thinking about medical school, research or some other field?

A. Oh, no. With pro basketball as an option, every ounce of my focus, concentration and plan was to try to succeed at that. Probably by my junior and senior years, whether it was the NBA or somewhere else, it was something I put all my efforts into and something I was intent on doing.

Q. You spent 10 years in the NBA, mostly with the Magic, and then made your home in Orlando for a while after you retired from the game. Did it just grow to feel like home there?

A. It did. I only played in two places – I played for Phoenix, and I played for Orlando. The Magic had a terrific group of people in the organization, some of whom are still there. For the fan base, that is the one pro sports team in town, so they support it. It was a terrific place to live and play for all those years.

Q. Your thoughts on Notre Dame’s membership in the ACC – do you see it as a positive move for the university and the athletic program?

A. I thought it made a lot of sense, given what was going on in the Big East, and the massive shift with realignment. If there was one place to go, I think the ACC was it – and not only for basketball. Obviously it was a huge win for basketball, given the level of the competition and the history and the legacy there. But also you have institutions like Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and North Carolina that are really good academic schools. I thought that really fit in with what Notre Dame brought to the table. As evidenced by this year, it’s going to be a tough competition, but I think that being a part of a league that competes at that level will increase Notre Dame’s ability to attract and to draw students who not only want to learn at the highest level academically, but also to compete with some of the greatest and most storied programs in the game.

Q. You have a tie to a previous ACC school, considering you went back and earned an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke. Was that a correspondence course, or did you actually go back to school there?

A. I actually went back and was a real student – I lived there for two years. I had the apartment, the backpack and the whole bit.