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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1. A sculpture of former University of Notre Damefootball coach Dan Devine, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and coach of the 1977 Irish national championship team, will be dedicated Friday, Oct. 7 (the day before Notre Dame’s home football game against Air Force), at Notre Dame Stadium. The dedication will take place at Notre Dame Stadium’s Gate A, which in 2010 was designated the Devine gate when the sculptures of Knute Rockne (north tunnel), Ara Parseghian (Gate B), Frank Leahy (Gate C) and Lou Holtz (Gate D) were re-located outside the stadium walls. Rockne, Parseghian, Leahy, Holtz and Devine are the five former Irish football coaches all of them Hall of Fame inductees ÃÆ’Ã € ‘ ¯ ¿ ½ who have won one or more national titles at Notre Dame. Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna created the sculpture. He also created the Rockne, Leahy, Holtz and Parseghian sculptures at Note Dame Stadium, the Moose Krause sculpture east of Notre Dame Stadium and the Knute Rockne sculpture at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend, Ind. The sculpture has been funded by donations from Devine’s former players, coaches, and staff members, and a longtime University benefactor. Notre Dame’s head football coach from 1975-80, Devine served as head coach of the 1977 consensus national title team and also won two of the most dramatic postseason bowl games in Irish annals the 1978 Cotton Bowl victory over top-rated Texas and the ’79 Cotton Bowl triumph over Houston that featured a stirring second-half comeback from a 34-12 deficit. As head coach at Arizona State from 1955-1957, Devine accumulated a 27-3-1 record. From 1958-1970, he guided Missouri to a 93-37-7 mark. Among his achievements at Missouri were victories in the 1961 Orange Bowl, ’62 Bluebonnet Bowl, ’66 Sugar Bowl and ’68 Gator Bowl. He served as head coach and general manager of the NFL Green Bay Packers from 1971-1974 before his arrival at Notre Dame in 1975. His Irish teams won the 1976 Gator Bowl, ’78 Cotton Bowl and ’79 Cotton Bowl and his six seasons in South Bend produced a combined 53-16-1 mark (.764). His ’77 team achieved notoriety when it switched from blue jerseys to green just prior to a noteworthy home win over fifth-ranked USC and his ’80 team sealed a Sugar Bowl invitation with a late-season road triumph over Bear Bryant-coached Alabama. Devine resigned prior to his final season in South Bend in 1980 and later became executive director of the Arizona State Sun Angel Foundation in Phoenix. In 1992, Devine returned to Missouri as athletic director and then retired at the end of the 1993-94 academic year. He was elected into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 with an overall collegiate mark of 173-57-9. Born in Augusta, Wis., Devine (a Minnesota-Duluth graduate) died in 2002 at age 77.

2. The Notre Dame women’s basketball team will tip off the 2011-12 season by competing in two high-profile tournaments, head coach Muffet McGraw announced Monday. The Fighting Irish open up with their fourth appearance in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where they could play as many as four games, before heading to the Caribbean for the second time in three years, this time visiting the Bahamas to participate in the Junkanoo Jam. Notre Dame already has learned its first-round opponent for the Preseason WNIT, as the tournament’s operator and manager, Triple Crown Sports, announced in June that the Fighting Irish would play host to Mid-American Conference foe Akron in its tournament opener at 7 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Nov. 11, inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The Zips posted a 14-16 record last season (6-10 in the MAC East Division), but lose just one starter off that club while returning five of their top six scorers from the 2010-11 campaign. Should Notre Dame defeat Akron in its Preseason WNIT opener, it would move on to face the winner of the Indiana State-Detroit first-round contest that will be played in Terre Haute, Ind., also on Nov. 11. That Preseason WNIT quarterfinal game likely would take place on Nov. 13 (time to be determined), with Notre Dame expected to play host to that game as well. On the other hand, an opening-round loss to Akron would drop the Fighting Irish into the consolation bracket, with matchups and sites to be determined at a later date. The tournament semifinals are slated for Nov. 16-17, with Notre Dame also expected to serve as a host site if it advances to that round. The Preseason WNIT title game is scheduled for Nov. 20 at a campus site to be determined.Other notable teams competing in this year’s tournament include reigning Big 12 Conference champion and 2011 NCAA Elite Eight participant Baylor, last year’s Pac-12 Conference runner-up (and NCAA Championship second-round qualifier) UCLA, and longtime America East Conference power Hartford. Following the Preseason WNIT, Notre Dame will play a tournament on Thanksgiving weekend for the third consecutive year, as the Fighting Irish head to Freeport, Bahamas (located on Grand Bahama Island), for the first time in school history to compete in the Junkanoo Jam, hosted by Basketball Travelers. Notre Dame will take on USC in the opening round of the tournament on Nov. 25 (time to be determined) at St. Georges High School. The other first-round contest will see perennial powerhouse Duke and reigning Big South Conference champion Gardner-Webb square off, with the winners and losers matching up on Nov. 26.

3. Almost exactly nine months after winning its third NCAA national championship, Notre Dame will open the defense of its title Tuesday when itplays host to Big Ten Conference newcomer Nebraska at noon (ET) inside Alumni Stadium (game has now been moved to Irish practice field due to heavy rainslast night). It will be the first of two exhibition matches for the Fighting Irish this season, with Notre Dame set to travel to Maple City, Mich., on Friday for its annual preseason clash with Virginia (1 p.m. ET, Myles Kimmerly Park). The Fighting Irish return 18 veterans, including seven starters from last year’s squad that posted a 21-2-2 record (9-0-2 in the BIG EAST Conference), culminating with a six-match run through the NCAA Championshipwhen Notre Dame outscored its opponents by a 15-1 margin. During exhibitionplay, the Fighting Irish have registered an 8-3-2 record in the Randy Waldrum era (1999-present), with a 4-0-1 mark at home. Notre Dame will be playing a preseason match at Alumni Stadium for the first time, with its last home exhibition coming on Aug. 12, 2008, when the Fighting Irish downed Memphis, 3-1 at old Alumni Field. Nebraska also has seven starters returning from its 2010 club that went 13-7-1 (5-4-1 in its final Big 12 Conference season). The Huskers also are playing their exhibition opener Tuesday, with another preseason match slated at South Dakota State on Friday night.

Monday, August 8, 2011

1. The Notre Dame men’s and women’s soccer teams will hold the 2011 “Meet The Teams” barbecue and fan appreciation event from 4-6 p.m. (ET) Saturday (Aug. 13) at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend. This free annual event, which has become a favorite of fans and teams alike, will feature free food for the first 500 persons in attendance. In addition, members of both teams will be on hand to sign autographs and take pictures, and fans will even have the chance to get their picture taken with the 2010 women’s soccer NCAA national championship trophy. Some of the Fighting Irish student-athletes also will be available to compete in pick-up games and skills challenges, and there will be other activities for younger fans, including face painting and balloon animals. The “Meet The Teams” barbecue will take place as part of the kickoff to the 2011 Notre Dame soccer season. The defending national champion Fighting Irish women start things off, getting their season underway at noon (ET) Tuesday with an exhibition match against Nebraska at Alumni Stadium (free admission). Following a second preseason match at 1 p.m. (ET) Friday against Virginia up in Maple City, Mich., the Notre Dame women open the 2011 regular season at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 19 when they play host to Wisconsin at Alumni Stadium. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame men will play three exhibition matches, the first two on the road (7 p.m. ET Aug. 16 at Xavier; 6 p.m. ET Aug. 18 at Butler) before making their home debut at 7 p.m. (ET) Aug. 22 against Creighton at Alumni Stadium. That match serves as the annual Fighting Irish preseason contest to benefit Grassroot Soccer — admission to that match is free, but donations will be accepted at the gate for Grassroot Soccer, an international AIDS awareness and education organization that reaches youth in Africa through soccer clinics. Dr. Tommy Clark, the son of Notre Dame head coach Bobby Clark, is the founder and CEO of the organization.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

1. Football practice number one is in the books at Notre Dame – and it came on a late afternoon that ranged from steamy and humid to a downright downpour of rain. The temperature was 81 and the humidity 75 when the Irish took the field a little after three o’clock. The Irish practiced in shorts and new adidas practice jerseys that featuredthree stripes on each shoulder. Ten minutes into the workout the rain began pouring down, but the skies had cleared an hour later. The La Bar practice complex debuted an audio system with a wireless microphone that assistant coach Mike Elston used to direct some special-team drills. Music accompanied several late practice periods – with selections ranging from the Victory March to Boston band Dropkick Murphys to several others maybe only the players could identify. The media contingent present included an ESPN video crew led by Joe Schad and espn.com college writer Brian Bennett. After practice Irish coach Brian Kelly kidded that if today’s first practice hadn’t been an improvement on the 2010 version he would be sitting in his office instead of appearing at a press conference. Here are several snippets from Kelly’s remarks:

“The first day is always evaluated based on where we’ve come from. Our guys know what to do. There was a lot more efficiency out there today. We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of finishing plays but we’re a lot furtherahead than we were last year.

“We have to be able to push each other and not cross the line where we lose somebody.

“What we want is the ability to control the tempo (on offense). You can’t start slow if you want to play fast.”

On the Irish newcomers – “We needed to add size and length and speed and clearly we have that. Now we need to refine it. But there’s no mistaking the size and athleticism.”

On leadership – “There are a lot more guys that know what they are doing. There are more guys who are vocal because they know what to expect.”

On Dayne Crist – “The biggest thing with Dayne is that when you’ve had two knee surgeries you can get protective of your lower body. He was tentative in the spring. But I didn’t see that today – he was aggressive with his body.”

2. Check out the entrances to the Irish fencing gym at Gate 4 of the Joyce Center. There are new banners that read “Tradition of Excellence – Fighting Irish Fencing” and include the years the Irish have won NCAA titles.

3. The latest issue of Lacrosse magazine rates incoming Irishfreshman men’s lacrosse player Conor Doyle the Boys’ High School Player of the Year from 2011. An attackman, Doyle played at Gilman (Md.) and notched 33 goals and 32 assists in ’11 in leading the Greyhounds to the Maryland A conference title. He had two goals and three assists against Calvert Hall in the MIAA title game and finished his career with 80 goals and 62 assists.

4. Allie Murray and Barbara Sullivan, incoming freshmen with the University of Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team, have both played key roles in the United States start at the2011 Under-19 World Championships in Hanover, Germany. The U.S. enters the tournament hoping to claim its fourth-consecutive World Championship title after winning in 1999, 2003 and 2007. The Americans find themselves 2-0 after the first two contests of pool play. The squad opened the tournament Thursday with a convincing 19-5 victory over Japan before pulling out a 13-6 decision against Canada Friday in a match that saw eight different U.S. players tally a goal. Murray, a 5-5 goalkeeper from Exton, Pa., saw action in each of the first two contests, replacing Kelsey Duryea in the second half of both matches. She has compiled seven saves to this point in the tournament. Her high school days saw her play at Downingtown East High School while also playing as a member of the PA Express lacrosse club. Sullivan, a 5-10 defense/midfielder from Garden City, N.Y., has helped lead a stonewall American defense that has allowed only 5.5 goals per game on just 19 shots from the opposition. She played at Garden City High School and was a member of Long Island Yellow Jackets lacrosse club. She is regarded by many as the top defensive recruit in the nation. The U.S. team has three more pool play contests against Haudenosaunee (Saturday), England (Sunday) and Australia (Tuesday) before being seeded for the quarterfinals which take place Wednesday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

1. The Notre Dame hockey team will be well represented at the 2011 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp that will open tomorrow and run through Aug. 13 in Lake Placid, N.Y. Four Irish players will be looking to earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Junior National team that will participate in the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2011, to Jan. 5, 2012, in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Among the 44 invitees to the camp are Notre Dame sophomore defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) along with sophomore forwards Bryan Rust (Novi, Mich.) and T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.). That trio will be joined by freshman defenseman Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.). Johns and Rust will be making their second appearances at the camp while Tynan and Russo will be making their first appearances. The camp, which will take place at Lake Placid’s Olympic Center, will feature practices, intra-squad scrimmages and international games featuring Finland, Sweden and the United States. The U.S. roster has been divided into two teams – USA Blue and USA White – with all four Irish players set to play for the USA Blue squad. All games will be streamed live and on demand at FASTHockey.com.

2. Adam Mena (Holland, Mich.), a rising senior on the Notre Dame men’s soccer team, has been named to the Premier Developmental League (PDL) All-Central Conference Team. Mena, a midfielder/forward, netted 14 goals this summer while playing for the Indiana Invaders. Mena was named the PDL Player of the Week on June 23 after netting all four goals in a 4-0 victory over FC London. The Invaders posted a 6-7-3 record this summer and finished fourth in the nine-team Great Lakes Division. Mena is a two-time monogram recipient with the Fighting Irish. He has competed in 36 career games and has tallied three goals. Mena played in all 20 matches last season and scored two goals.

3. Notre Dame volleyball outside hitter Andrea McHugh and the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team fell to China, 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-23) last Sunday in the bronze medal match of the FIVB Women’s Junior World Championships Peru 2011 held in Lima at the Eduardo Dibos Gymnasium. The U.S. team finished fourth with a 4-4 record in the tournament. McHugh contributed court action in the fourth set of the team’s final match. The United States racked up 46 kills on 142 attacks for a .324 average in the contest.

4. The semifinal pairings for the 2011 CBE Classic were announced Thursday and Notre Dame is set to take on Missouri in men’s basketball on Monday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. (EST) at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., in a game that will be televised live on ESPN2. The second contest of the doubleheader will feature Cal and Georgia on ESPN2. The championship and consolation games will be played the following evening on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The second night of the doubleheader begins with the consolation game at 7:45 p.m. (EST) on ESPNU, followed by the championship game on ESPN2. The complete bracket for the opening round games of the CBE Classic will be announced at a later date.

5. Former Notre Dame men’s soccer standout and current Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler and his brother Nick, a rising freshman on the Fighting Irish men’s soccer team, on Wednesday were honored with the inaugural Kevin Gray Award. Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer (MLS) announced Friday the establishment of the Kevin Gray Player of the Year Awards for soccer players in the Kansas City area in honor and memory of the late Kansas City Sports Commission president Kevin Gray. The Kevin Gray Awards consist of honors for both a male and female Youth Player of the Year given to local high school seniors based on their performance in both high school and club soccer throughout the year and an Adult Player of the Year award to be given to a current collegiate or professional player with Kansas City roots. Matt and Nick Besler hail from Overland Park, Kan. Matt received the Kevin Gray Adult Player of the Year Award, while Nick was named the Youth Male Player of the Year. Caroline Gray copped the Youth Female Player of the Year Award. A selection committee of coaches involved in high school, club, college and professional soccer in Kansas City voted on the awards.

6. Two match times for the 2011 Notre Dame men’s soccer season have been changed. The games affected are the exhibition contest at Butler and the home regular-season showdown against Louisville. The Notre Dame-Butler exhibition match now will kick off at 6 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 18 in Indianapolis, Ind. The game originally was scheduled for 7 p.m. The Fighting Irish now will face Louisville at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 24 at Alumni Stadium. Fox Soccer Channel will broadcast the game live. The match originally was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

7. With a tweet of his whistle on Wednesday morning, 13th-year Notre Dame head women’s soccer coach Randy Waldrum called his team together and officially kicked off its first preseason practice of the 2011 season. Following their annual fitness test (affectionately known as “The Cooper”), the Fighting Irish took the pitch inside the Loftus Sports Center (necessitated by overnight thunderstorms in the area) for a spirited two-hour training session that will become a twice-daily staple for the 18 veterans and seven newcomers (six freshmen and a sophomore transfer) during the next two weeks. “I was pleased with what I saw out there this morning, both during the fitness test and in training,” Waldrum said. “The fitness results were extremely positive for a lot of different players, which is a great sign, and I thought the newcomers were able to get a pretty solid understanding of some of the drills and concepts we threw at them on the first day. Our training schedule is pretty compacted because, even with two-a-days and the exhibition games, we don’t have all that much time to get the newcomers up to speed as far as our system goes and see how they integrate with the returning players. It will be an ongoing development in the next couple of weeks, but there was a lot to be excited about for our first training session of the year.” The defending national champions will play a pair of exhibition matches in early August during the run-up to the start of the regular season. Next Tuesday (Aug. 9), the Fighting Irish will welcome the Big Ten Conference’s newest member, Nebraska, to Alumni Stadium for a noon (ET) preseason clash, with the contest set to be webcast live and free of charge at www.UND.com (as will all home matches this season that are not scheduled for commercial television coverage). Three days later, Notre Dame travels to Myles Kimmerly Park in Maple City, Mich., for its annual exhibition match against Virginia at the Cavaliers’ preseason training site — that contest is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. (ET), with admission being free for both preseason matches.

8. Fresh off its longest winning streak to close a season since 1992 and rout of Miami (Fla.) in the2010 Hyundai Sun Bowl, the University of Notre Dame football team was ranked18th in the USA Today preseason coaches’ poll Thursday. It marked the highest preseason ranking for the Irish in the coaches’ poll since 2006 when Notre Dame opened tied for No. 3. In addition to the victory over the Hurricanes, the Irish registered a convincing 28-3 victory over 15th-ranked Utah. The triumph was Notre Dame’s largest over an Associated Press top 20 opponent in 14 years. The Irish then closed the regular season by snapping an eight-game losing streak to archrival USC. Second year head coach Brian Kelly also became the first Notre Dame football coach to record a bowl victory in his first season on the Irish sidelines. The Irish open practice Saturday and feature 50 monogram winners and 20 combined starters (players that started at least seven games) from offense, defense and special teams. Nine starters on offense return, including four of five offensive linemen and every skill-position player except running back (Cierre Wood started five games in 2010). Notre Dame lost only one player from each level of the defense as eight starters are back from a unit that was much improved in `10. The Irish special teams are buoyed by the return of senior PK David Ruffer, as well as the punter and long snapper enter their third year together. The Irish had 10 different players appear on watch lists this summer. Junior LB Manti Te’o made the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi and Nagurski watch lists. Senior WR Michael Floyd made the Biletnikoff, Maxwell and Walter Camp watch lists. Wood made the Doak Walker, junior TE Tyler Eifert made the Mackey, junior OT Zack Martin made the Outland, senior S Harrison Smith made the Nagurski and Thorpe, senior LB Darius Fleming made the Butkus, Ruffer made the Groza, senior C Braxston Cave made the Rimington and senior QB Dayne Crist made the Maxwell and O’Brien. Alabama (13) and Arkansas (12) are the only two schools with more players on watch lists. Notre Dame was tied withOklahoma and Texas A&M. The Irish open the 2011 campaign at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 3 against USF at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame faces a pair of foes ranked among the top 25 – No. 6 Stanford and No. 17 Michigan State. The Irish also play Michigan, Air Force, USF and Pittsburgh — all of whom received votes.

9. Philadelphia media are reporting that former Notre Dame football standout defensive end and current NFL Philadelphia Eagle player Victor Abiamiri tore his right Achilles tendon in practice Wednesday and on Thursday was placed on injured reserve, ending his season. He also missed all of 2010 after microfracture knee surgery. Abiamiri was the Eagles’ second-round 2007 draft selection.

10. With the ice down in the north dome of the Joyce Center, the portable Irish basketball court from Purcell Pavilion currently is laying on the cement while it’s been resurfaced.

11. More than 50 media representatives attended Irish football coach Brian Kelly’s opening media conference at noon today at the Gug – and here are some of Kelly’s opening thoughts on 2011:

“We know our football team so much better (than a year ago). It allows you to get to football.

“I like our depth. We’ve addressed it the last two years in recruiting. With that depth, those (young) guys just need an opportunity.

“All four quarterbacks clearly can compete. We have to look ateverybody’s skill set and maximize the 85 guys on our roster. It comes down to the quarterback’s ability to run the offense at our pace. I’m just like you. Is it Dayne? Is it Tommy? We can make a case for any of them.

“The first 19 practices will be for evaluation. Then we’ll spend two full weeks on South Florida.

“We want our players to have a good feeling about who they are and where they’ve come from. I recognize it (USA Today ranking) is a little because it’s Notre Dame and a little of what we did at the end of last year. But I don’t walk around with my Top 25 T-shirt on.”

Kelly said his team again will have game-day captains in 2011.

Strong points for 2011? Kelly noted offensive line experience and depth, four established offensive playmakers (Floyd, Riddick, Wood, Eifert), experience and depth on the defensive line, three established safeties and two strong corners. He noted, “I like our ingredients, but you need a couple of games to see how we handle game situations.

“You never lose that feeling of winning games consecutively (at the end of 2010). You prepared and you won and that brings confidence. It’s a snowball effect and it starts with winning.

“For Dayne Crist, it starts with ÃÆ’Ã € ‘ ¯ ¿ ½escapability.’ He has to be able to extend some plays. I’m not worried about his (previous) injuries because he can’t be.”

Thursday, August 4, 2011

1. Notre Dame’s summer sports camps in 2011 attracted 10,357 attendees, an all-time record high number (previous high was 10,110 in 2007) and an increase of more than 2,000 compared to 2010.

2. For the first time in the 35-year history of the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, three Fighting Irish players have been selected for the same USA Basketball team. On Wednesday afternoon, USA Basketball announced that Notre Dame rising junior guard Skylar Diggins(South Bend, Ind./Washington), rising senior guard Natalie Novosel (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) and rising fifth-year senior forward Devereaux Peters (Chicago, Ill./Fenwick) all have made the final cut for the 12-player United States World University Games Team, which will compete Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China. The Fighting Irish trio had returned to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Sunday to resume practicing with thesquad, with the understanding that two of the team’s 14 finalists would have to be cut at some point this week by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA’s vice president for Division I women’s basketball. “We are just ecstatic to hear that Skylar, Natalie and Devereaux will be playing for Team USA at the World University Games,” Notre Dame’s Hall of Fame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “It’s obviously a historic day for the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, and it’s a testament to their work ethic, their determination and their desire to compete and be successful. To see the three of them be recognized and rewarded for their hard work, that’s especially gratifying. We’re all looking forward to watching them represent our country with pride and bring home the gold, along with a great deal of international experience for next season.” The now-complete United States World University Games Team is coached by Iowa State University skipper (and former Notre Dame assistant coach) Bill Fennelly, while Duquesne’s Suzie McConnell-Serio and Georgetown’s Terri Williams-Flournoy serving on Fennelly’s staff. Team USA will continuepracticing in Colorado Springs through Sunday night, leaving the following day for China to complete preparations for the World University Games.

3. Former Irish men’sbasketball standouts Chris Quinn and Carlton Scott are headed to play professionally in Russia (BC Khimki in Moscow) and Spain, respectively.

4. The 2010 Notre Dame-Army football game at Yankee Stadium has been nominated for a 2011 SportsTravel Award by SportsTravel magazine.

5. Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) has been named to the 12-man roster that will represent the United States in the 2011 World University Games men’s basketball competition. The team was selected following six days of training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Training camp continues for the team members through Sunday, with two practices each day at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and the team will depart for China Monday. The USA will play an exhibition contest against New Century, a Chinese Basketball Association(CBA) professional team, in Huizho, China, on Aug. 11, before opening WorldUniversity Games play on Aug. 13. In all, 24 countries will compete in the international competition. The USA has been slotted into Pool D, along withFinland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea. The red, white and blue will open play against Mexico at 6 p.m. on Aug. 13 (all times listed are China Standard Time, which is +12 hours from Eastern Time) and will then play Hungary at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 14; South Korea at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; Finland at 6 p.m. on Aug. 17; and Israel at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 18. Following the preliminary round, the top two placed teams from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22. Joining Abromaitis on the roster are: Marcus Denmon (Missouri/Kansas City, Mo.); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.); Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.); JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse/ Philadelphia, Pa.); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.); Greg Mangano (Yale/Orange, Conn.); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy/Beverly Hills, Mich.); and Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.).

6. Notre Dame football practice begins Saturday – and Irish head coach Brian Kelly kicks it all off at noon Friday with a live press conference on und.com.

7. ESPN’s website features a new series called “Yards of Glory” that highlights the most noteworthy college football plays based on yardage up to 100. So far, #88 is Raghib Ismail’s 88-yard kickoff return in 1989 against Michigan (one of two that day), #78 is Elmer Layden’s 78-yard interception return that helped defeat Stanford in the 1925 Rose Bowl – and #70 is George Gipp’s 70-yard TD pass to Norm Barry against Northwestern in 1920 in what would be his last career play.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

1. Wake Forest has hired former Notre Dame men’s basketball assistant coach and longtime New York Knicks coach and front office executive Jeff Nix as its director of men’s basketball operations. Nix brings a wealth of NBA and collegiate coaching experience to the Demon Deacon basketball staff. He spent 15 years in the Knicks organization, serving in a number of roles including eight years as an assistant coach (1992-2000), five years as assistant general manager (2000-05) and two years as the director of scouting (2005-07). Nix boasts 13 years as an assistant coach on the collegiate level, including stops at his alma mater Canisius (1979-81), St.Francis University (1981-84), Loyola University Maryland (1984-85), Xavier (1985-87) and Notre Dame (1987-92). Nix made five NCAA Tournament appearances (1986, 1987 at Xavier; 1988, 1989, 1990 at Notre Dame) and one NIT appearance (1992 at Notre Dame) as an assistant coach. Nix coached four seasons under Digger Phelps, helping the Fighting Irish to three straight NCAA Tournamentappearances. Nix then spent one season at Notre Dame under John MacLeod before making the leap to the professional level to join Pat Riley’s coaching staff with the Knicks. A native of Portville, N.Y., Nix lives in Granger, Ind.

2. Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson has issued a challenge to Fighting Irish hockey fans to vote for him as “the best-dressed man in a kilt” to help raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Michiana for the 2011-12 campaign. As part of McDazzle 2011 “Men in Kilts,” Jackson is participating in the most important fundraising effort that is held for the local Ronald McDonald Family Room. The facility provides a free overnight stay at the Ronald McDonald House Family Room for the parents of critically ill children.The head coach of the Notre Dame hockey team is one of 17 participants that have joined forces in this unique promotion in an effort to raise money andawareness for the Ronald McDonald charities in the South Bend and Mishawakaregion. All Irish fans, and not just hockey fans, can help by casting a vote for Jackson as the best-dressed man in a kilt. The cost of the vote is $50, with all proceeds going to help fund overnight stays for families at one of the three overnight facilities in the South Bend area. Voting has begun and Jackson is counting on all Irish fans to jump on board to help with this cause by casting a vote for him at www.meninkilts.org. Every vote is tax deductible to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana and all the dollars raised locally stay in the Michiana community. Any parent with a hospitalized child under the age of 21 is eligible to use the Ronald McDonald Family Room. Jackson and all of the other 16 “Men in Kilts” celebrities will be part of the McDazzle 2011 festivities on Sept. 22 at the Gillespie Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Ind. For more information on this event, go to rmhcmichiana.org.

3. Season and individual tickets are now on sale for the 2011 Notre Dame men’s soccer season. The Fighting Irish will play nine regular season matches at Alumni Stadium, which is one of the top collegiate soccer facilities in the country. A season pass is $40 for adults and $30 for youth (21 and under)/seniors (55 and older). Kids three years of age and younger are free for all regular season games. A fan pack,which includes four season passes, is $100. Individual game tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth/seniors. Tickets for the Fighting Irish women’s soccer team also are on sale for the same price.There is free admission for Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s/Holy Cross studentswith a valid student ID. Notre Dame faculty and staff also will receive free admission for regular season matches with a current Notre Dame ID. Those offers are void when capacity is reached. To purchase a season pass or single-game tickets, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the tickets page at the official Fighting Irish athletics web site, UND.com (UND.com/tickets) or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows inside the new Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion (entrance via Gate 9). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on game days. For group discount pricing information callRita Baxter in the Notre Dame Ticket Office at (574) 631-4165. For all Notre Dame home soccer matches, fans are encouraged to park in the C1 lot (the main lot located south of Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and just steps away from the main entrance to Alumni Stadium).

4. Junior Notre Dame men’s basketball player Jack Cooley (Glenview, Ill.) will join the East Coast All-Stars as one of 10 collegiate players who will participate in the Four Nations Cup in Tallinn, Estonia, Aug. 5-7. The 6-9, 244-pound forward participated in a two-day training camp at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., before traveling to Estonia for games against teams from Sweden, Georgia and Estonia. The squad will play an exhibition today, before the tournament takes place Aug. 5-7. The exhibition will take place against Vilmsi Spordikekuss, before the squad opens the tournament Friday against Sweden. Game two Friday will be against Georgia, while the tournament concludes with the East Coast All-Stars versus Estonia Sunday. The Four Nations Cup takes place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, which sits on the Baltic Sea. Their respective national teams will represent Sweden, Georgia and Estonia. The East Coast All-Stars (ECA) was founded in the summer of 2006. Comprised of the best college talent in the country, the All-Stars assemble in the New York City area each summer for a two-day training camp. From New York, the team will depart to their European destination for eight days of top-flight competition. In 2007 the ECA’s took on the Dutch National Team (lead by theNBA’s Francisco Elson, of the Seattle Sonics) to open Holland’s brand new 10,000-seat UCF Arena. Some of the best club and national teams in Europe have gone against the All Star’s. The team has competed in Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland. August of 2011 has the All-Stars scheduled to play in multiple events throughout Estonia. Cooley is joined on the squad by a host of BIG EAST and Big Ten players, as well as representatives from the ACC and Big 12. He concluded his sophomore season averaging 3.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, appearing in all 34 contests. Joining Cooley on the roster are Anthony Johnson (Purdue), Matt Gatens (Iowa), Baye Moussa Keita (Syracuse), Brandon Triche (Syracuse), Pe’Shon Howard (Maryland), Rodney McGruder (Kansas State), Bryce Cartwright (Iowa), Mike Bruesewitz (Wisconsin) and Elliott Eliason (Minnesota).

5. University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse head coach Kevin Corrigan has announced the commitment of 10 student-athletes who will join the program beginning in the 2012 season. The newcomers hail from seven different states, including three from Maryland and two from New York. There are two Under Armour All-Americans, attackman Conor Doyle and goalie Conor Kelly, in the talented class. The class features five midfielders, three attackmen, one defenseman and one goalie. “As a whole, this is just a great group of kids that fit with our program here at Notre Dame,” says Corrigan. “They also fit with what we needed as a class and with our team. We have three guys coming in at the attack position who are all really talented and very capable and they offer different skills. We have five guys coming in at the midfield that offer usathleticism and a high lacrosse IQ and different abilities with their size and strength. At defense and in the cage, we just have one kid at each spot butthey are both very, very good.”


Logan Connolly A Davidsonville, Md./St. Mary’s
Will Corrigan M South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s
Conor Doyle A Towson, Md./Gilman
William Gilmartin M Nesconset, N.Y./St. Anthony’s/Lawrenceville
Conor Kelly G St. Davids, Pa./The Haverford School
Connor McCollough M Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield
Jack Near, Jr. M Bronxville, N.Y./Bronxville
Nick Ossello M Wheat Ridge, Colo./Wheat Ridge
Kyle Runyon A Coronado, Calif./Coronado
Henry Williams D/LSM Potomac, Md./Georgetown Prep

6. Seven former University of Notre Dame football players have agreed to NFL free agent contracts in the last week, including RB Armando Allen Jr. (Tampa Bay), RB Robert Hughes (Chicago), LB Kerry Neal (Indianapolis), LB Brian Smith (Cleveland), OG Chris Stewart (New York Jets), DB Darrin Walls (Atlanta) and NG Ian Williams (San Francisco). Since 2007, 40 former Notre Dame football players have either been selected in the NFL Draft or signed with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent.

7. Three former Notre Dame men’s lacrosse standouts have been listed on Quint Kessenich’s list of the top Major League Lacrosse (MLL) rookies for the 2011 season. Kessenich, an analyst for ESPN and Inside Lacrosse, had David Earl, Kevin Ridgway and Zach Brenneman in his list of the top 35 MLL rookies. All three players garnered All-America honors during their senior campaign and were selected in January’s 2011 MLL Draft. Brenneman, a midfielder, became the highest pick in Notre Dame history as he went fifth overall to the Long Island Lizards. The Hamilton Nationals selected Earl, a midfielder, in the third round (13th overall selection), while Ridgway, a defenseman, also went to Hamilton five picks later. Earl was ranked third on Kessenich’s list, while Ridgway was ninth and Brenneman was 19th. Hamilton attackman Jeremy Boltus from Army topped the list, while Rochester attackman Grant Catalino from Maryland was second. Kessenich on Earl … “The Notre Dame graduate has dazzled with 14 goals in eight games on 34% shooting. He is a great example of a player whose skillset is better suited in the pro game than college. Earl can play defense and can dodge any shorty in the league.” Kessenich on Ridgway … “The lanky Georgetown Prep and Notre Dame alum has dressed six times for the Nationalsthis summer and will be a starter in the league next year with expansion.”Kessenich on Brenneman … “Brenneman has only found the twine on 9% ofhis shots, but he contributes in a lot of other ways for the Lizards. He is an excellent defender and much faster in the open field than people realize. If he cleans up his shot selection, location and technique he could be a future All-Star caliber player…that’s a big if for the No. 5 draft choice.” MLL Championship Weekend will take place Aug. 27-28 in Annapolis, Md. The games can be seen on ESPN2.

8. Irish men’s basketball forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) moved a step closer to earning a spot on the 2011 USA Men’s World University Games Team as he has been chosen as one of 14 finals for the 12-man rosters. Abromaitis was one of 20 college basketball standouts that participated in three days of training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA Men’s Junior National Team Committee made the selections. Thetraining camp continues with two practices each day at the U.S. Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado through Sunday, and the official 12-member roster will be announced prior to Monday when the team departs for China.

9. Julia Scaringe has resigned her position of University of Notre Dame women’s tennis assistant coach, effective immediately, as she will be relocating to the Florida area. She served as an assistant for the Irish for the past three seasons. “I’ve had a very rewarding experience coaching at the University of Notre Dame,” said Scaringe. “I truly enjoyed being a part of the success that the Irish have achieved over the past three years. I leave with great memories and friends as I move on to pursue other coaching and personal opportunities.” Over her three seasons as coach, the Irish have enjoyed tremendous success as a team. The program reached unprecedented height in ’09 and ’10 when they earned back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Championship semifinals while finishing fifth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings both years.

10. Four of Notre Dame’s 22 sports that compete in the BIG EAST Conference were honoredwith the 2010-11 BIG EAST Academic Team Excellence Awards recognizing the highest collective grade-point averages in each conference sport. The Fighting Irish women’s golf (3.582), men’s swimming & diving (3.274), men’s indoor track & field (3.321) and men’s outdoor track & field teams (3.321)were each recipients of the fourth annual awards. In total, 20 of Notre Dame’s 22 teams that compete in the BIG EAST conference earned better than a 3.00 GPA and they averaged a 3.253 cumulative GPA during the recently completed academic year. The Irish women’s golf team paced all Notre Dame teams with a 3.582 mark.

11. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach recently wrote on espn.com about seven college football teams he called “under-the-radar teams which seem to be on the rise heading into the season” and one of those was Notre Dame.

12. Former Notre Dame baseball player and athletics administrator Mike Bobinski, now athletics director at Xavier, has been named chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for 2012-13.

13. The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend will sponsor an exhibit titled “Knute Rockne: The Rest of the Story,” from Sept. 1 through Dec. 4.

14. Former Irish football player Zeke O’Connor continues as executive director of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada that raises money for health care, education and the environment for the Sherpa people in Nepal.

15. The Princeton Review released its latest rankings of colleges and universities recently and had Notre Dame #1 on “Students Pack the Stadiums: How popular are intercollegiate sports?” In that category Notre Dame was ahead of #2 Florida, #3 Penn State, #4 Auburn and #5 Connecticut. Notre Dame also was #2 in the “Everyone Plays Intramural Sports” listing (behind Penn State). Notre Dame was #8 in “2010 Top Entrepreneurial Programs: Undergraduate,” #16 under “Most Beautiful Campus” and #20 under “Best Campus Food.”

16. Former Irish baseball coach Dave Schrage is the new head baseball coach at South Dakota State.

17. Notre Dame director of youth and community programs Kevin Dugan heads to Uganda later this week to head up his Fields of Growth program. Joining him will be Princeton defenseman Chad Wiedmaier, former Virginia All-American John Christmas, two-time Tewaaraton winner Hannah Nielson, Northwestern assistant coach Ann Elliot and Yale junior Daniele Barcak.