June 22, 2009

1. The Dish neglected to update you on the Major League Baseball Draft two weeks back in which Irish outfielder A.J. Pollock became the highest draft pick ever at Notre Dame (he went 17th overall in the first round to Arizona). Notre Dame seniors Sam Elam and Jeremy Barnes were each selected on the second day — Elam in the eighth round, pick #255 overall, by the New York Yankees, then Barnes in the 11th round, pick #347 overall, by the Philadelphia Phillies. Elam and Barnes, along with first round pick A.J. Pollock, gave the Irish three picks in the draft’s first 11 rounds for the first time since 2004 — when Notre Dame had four players chosen in the first 10 rounds. Notre Dame senior Evan Sharpley was selected on the third day, selected in the 50th round, pick #1,493 overall, by the Seattle Mariners – with Sharpley playing minor-league ball this summer, then returning to campus in time to use his final season of football eligibility. Irish signee Charlie Markson was also taken on day three of the draft. The outfielder from Whitefish Bay, Wis., was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 44th round with pick #1,320 overall.

2. The Dish is no expert on fantasy sports, but when a traditional publication like Sports Illustrated puts out a 168-page, perfect-bound, newsstand-only fantasy football guide, someone on Madison Avenue must believe that fantasy sports are here to stay. So, here’s where former Notre Dame players found themselves in the SI ratings:
— Brady Quinn ranked 23rd on the QB list.
— Anthony Fasano was fifth and John Carlson seventh among TEs. Carlson has so intrigued the fantasy gurus in his one year in the NFL that he rated an entire feature story in the magazine.
— Ryan Grant was 13th and Julius Jones 23rd among the RBs.
— Among 134 defensive players rated, Justin Tuck was 32nd.
— The overall player rating list (325 players) had Grant 20th, Jones 51st, Fasano 78th, Carlson 97th and Quinn 174th.
— Twelve SI writers selected their top draftees and one had Fasano 11th, another had Grant third and a third had Jones seventh.
— In terms of fantasy production in 2008, Grant finished 60th (184.9 points), John Carney 92nd (150), Carlson 138th (125.2), Fasano 166th (104.4) and Jones 172nd (101.4).

3. Notre Dame men’s lacrosse goaltender Scott Rodgers is the 2009 NCAA Division I statistical champion for both goals-against average (6.14 goals allowed per game) and save percentage (.663). In addition, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team is the 2009 NCAA Division I team statistical champion (59 teams) for both scoring defense (6.19 goals per game allowed) and winning percentage (.938 at 15-1). The Irish ranked second in scoring average (plus-4.81), behind only NCAA champion Syracuse.

4. The latest issue of ESPN The Magazine includes a listing of the all-time greatest player (all sports) to wear each number. Notre Dame had three representatives: Joe Montana at #16 (though he wore #3 at Notre Dame), Jerome Bettis at #36 (he wore #6 at Notre Dame) and Tim Brown at #81.

5. Based on Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act information provided through the United States Department of Education, the latest issue of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal lists Notre Dame 14th in overall college athletics revenue produced in 2007-08 at $83,352,439. In terms of football revenue, Notre Dame stood fifth at $59,774,851 (behind Texas, Georgia, Florida and Ohio State – and ahead of Auburn, Michigan, Alabama, Penn State and LSU).

6. If you’re headed to San Antonio in October for Notre Dame’s football game against Washington State, tickets are now on sale to the public.

7. Mark the Sept. 19 Notre Dame home football game against Michigan State. Notre Dame’s newest Hall of Famer Tim Brown will be back that weekend and will be honored at halftime. That contest also is the 60th reunion of the unbeaten ’49 championship team, with other Leahy’s Lads squad members also invited.

June 19, 2009

1. When the 2009 NCAA College World Series began, there were nine individuals with Notre Dame connections with their participating teams competing in Omaha:
* LSU–head coach Paul Mainieri (Irish head coach 1995-2006), associate head coach David Grewe (Irish assistant coach 2003-05), assistant coach Javi Sanchez (Irish infielder/catcher 2002-04), coordinator of baseball operations Ross Brezovsky (Irish infielder/outfielder 2005-08)
* Virginia–head coach Brian O’Connor (Irish pitching coach 1995-2003), assistant coach Eddie Smith (Irish infielder 2005)
* Arizona State–head coach Pat Murphy (Irish head coach 1988-94), director of special projects and external affairs Mike Rooney (Irish outfielder 1991-92)
* North Carolina–senior associate athletics director Larry Gallo (Irish head coach 1981-87)

That group posed for an opening ceremonies photo, along with former Irish assistant Chuck Lennon (1962-67), longtime Irish administrator Roger Valdiserri and former Irish bullpen player/coach Nick Mainieri (2004-05). Current Irish senior associate athletics director Bill Scholl also spent several days watching games in Omaha.

2. Here’s all the former Notre Dame football players and other guests who participated last weekend in the Hannah & Friends gala and golf event at Notre Dame – former players Greg Bell, Steve Beuerlein, Ned Bolcar, Reggie Brooks, Junior Bryant, Jeff Burris, Autry Denson, Marc Edwards, Vagas Ferguson, Oliver Gibson, Mike Golic, Mike Haywood, Jerome Heavens, Carlyle Holiday, Grant Irons, Rocket Ismail, Dave Mitchell, Joe Montana, Allen Pinkett, Tony Rice, Mike Rosenthal, Tim Ryan, Frank Stams, Michael Stonebreaker, Joe Theismann and Chris Zorich; plus current Irish football coaches Charlie Weis, Tony Alford, Corwin Brown, Randy Hart, Rob Ianello, Bernie Parmalee, Brian Polian, Ron Powlus, Kinnon Tatum, Jon Tenuta, Frank Verducci and Bryant Young; along with former Irish head football coach Ara Parseghian, current Irish basketball coach Mike Brey, former Patriot standout Troy Brown, former Irish basketball coach Digger Phelps and Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian. The Dish can’t remember a more distinguished gathering of Irish sports names in recent times.

3. The latest issue of Sporting News (June 22) contains a rating of the top college football units in the country – and the Notre Dame receivers and tight ends are ranked number one. The publication quotes Jimmy Clausen as saying, “Speed, lots and lots of speed. It’s not just Golden (Tate) and Michael (Floyd); our tight ends can run. That’s what we hope can cause a lot of problems for defenses.”

4. Notre Dame’s hockey schedule for 2009-10 includes an Oct. 20 road date at defending NCAA champ Boston University, an Oct. 23 home date with Boston College, a Nov. 22 game against Michigan State in Fort Wayne, Ind., plus Notre Dame’s own Shillelagh Tournament Jan. 2-3 in Hoffman Estates, Ill., with North Dakota, Colgate and Niagara. Notre Dame will be the host school for the March 27-28 NCAA Midwest Regional in Fort Wayne. The Irish also play two games each with Alabama-Huntsville and Providence – as well as four games apiece against both Michigan and Michigan State.

5. When the individual players names are engraved on the Stanley Cup for 2009, one of the Pittsburgh Penguin names will be that of defenseman Mark Eaton, who played for the Irish in 1997-98 (12 goals and 17 assists that year).

6. Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course will be the home of one of six 2010 NCAA men’s golf regionals next May 20-22.

7. Irish hockey goaltender Jordan Pearce has been named a first-team Academic All-American, while winger Erik Condra was a second-team selection. Track and field distance standout Patrick Smyth also was a first-team pick.

8. The 2009 NCAA outdoor track and field championships produced three Notre Dame All-Americans – Mary Saxer (third in pole vault), Jaclyn Espinoza (third in discus) and Patrick Smyth (fourth in 10,000 meters). The Irish women as a team finished 24th, the men 48th.

9. Two members of the 2009-10 Notre Dame hockey team are among a group of 43 hockey players that have been invited to attend the 2009 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp that will be held Aug. 7-15 at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. All participating players are candidates for the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2009 to Jan. 5, 2010, that will be held in Saskatoon and Regina, Sask. Attending the camp are Irish sophomore defensemen Sean Lorenz and incoming freshman forward Kyle Palmieri. Both players are products of USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program. Both players participated in the 2008 Evaluation Camp but did not move on to the national team.

10. Irish sophomore-to-be swimmer Amy Prestinario qualified for the World Championship Trials after swimming the 200 individual medley (long course meter) in 2:19.27 during the Volunteer Senior Invitational June 11-13 at the Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn. Prestinario, who won the event after shaving three seconds off of her preliminary time (2:22.36), now takes part in the national meet held at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. The trials will take place July 7-11.

11. At the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) convention today in Orlando, Notre Dame’s promotions and marketing staff won three gold medals (in the promotional T-shirt design, video board segment, and student promotion categories) and one silver medal (single-day attendance promotion).

12. As of last Saturday, Notre Dame director of football media relations Brian Hardin is now married to South Bend lawyer Cara Brook.

June 7, 2009

1. Hoping you can keep up with the Joyce Center arena renovation construction? Hard to imagine you can beat University photographer Matt Cashore. He mounted a camera up on the arena catwalk that’s set to snap a new shot of the ongoing work every hour. How those images will be used has yet to be determined. Speaking of construction, the Irish men’s and women’s lacrosse staffs toured their new home to-be, Arlotta Stadium, Wednesday morning.

2. The Dish enjoyed a sneak preview Friday of the new DVD “Echoes Awakened,” which is based on the Jim Dent book “Resurrection: The Miracle Season That Saved Notre Dame” that will be published Sept. 1 by St. Martin’s Press. The book and DVD chronicle Notre Dame’s 1964 football season, the first under Ara Parseghian. Three segments of the DVD were shown as part of a Notre Dame alumni reunion seminar. Among those appearing as interviewees included Parseghian, Tom Pagna, Tony Carey, Bob Meeker, John Huarte, Nick Rassas, Ken Maglicic and Norm Nicola. Brent Musberger narrates the DVD. Among the presenters at the seminar was Carey, who called the ’64 season “the perfect storm” based on that team’s frustration, hunger and talent. The DVD features a prologue by Lou Holtz. It’s produced by Bill Flesher for Videoworkers out of Tulsa, Okla. It’s for sale at the Notre Dame bookstore for $20.

3. One of the members of the NCAA Infractions Committee that heard the Memphis case Saturday in Indianapolis is Notre Dame deputy athletics director Missy Conboy.

4. Seven members of the Irish track and field teams head south this week for the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Arkansas:
— Three-time track All-American Patrick Smyth will compete in the 10,000 meters, after setting an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 28:25.85 at the Stanford Invitational. That time set a new Irish record and currently ranks fifth nationally. The senior from Salt Lake City, Utah earned his most recent All-America honor at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships with an eighth-place finish (8:01.56) in the 3,000 meters. The BIG EAST 10,000-meter champion did not compete at the Mideast Regional meet.
— Senior Mary Saxer garnered a trip to the NCAA outdoors after a fifth-place finish at the regional meet and a record-breaking BIG EAST performance. The Lancaster, N.Y., native broke the BIG EAST Championships pole vault record with a 4.20 meter (13-9 1/4) title-winning vault at the 2009 outdoor meet, before finishing fifth at the NCAA regional competition with a mark of 4.11 meters (13-5 3/4). Saxer earned her first All-America honor at the ’09 NCAA indoors, after finishing ninth in the pole vault with a height of 4.05 meters (13-3 1/2).
— Joanna Schultz will run the 400 meters for the Irish. The ’09 BIG EAST 400-meter outdoor champion finished fifth at the regional meet with a time of 53.32. She finished eighth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 54.09 to earn her first All-America citation.
— Matt Schipper will compete in the pole vault after a fifth-place finish at the Mideast Regional. The Leo, Ind., native won his second straight BIG EAST title at the league’s outdoor meet with a height of 5.25 meters (17-2 3/4). He competed at the ’09 NCAA Indoor Championships, finishing 14th in the pole vault. His vault of 5.30 meters (17-4 1/2) currently ranks 19th nationally.
— Jaclyn Espinoza will be making her third straight trip to the NCAA outdoor meet. She finished 25th in the discus a year ago and recorded a 22nd-place finish in 2007. She finished fifth at the ’09 NCAA Mideast Regional and won her first BIG EAST discus title with a mark of 50.80 meters (166-08).
— Anna Weber finished fifth in the hammer throw at the Mideast Regional to earn a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Her regional mark of 61.20 meters (200-09) crushed her own school record and currently ranks 23rd nationally. She earned all-BIG EAST honors with a throw of 57.94 meters (190-01) and a third-place finish at the league meet.
— Justin Schneider will compete in the decathlon in his first NCAA appearance. He earned all-league honors and finished second at the BIG EAST Championships with 6,842 points.
Events begin Wednesday at 10:30 and continue through Saturday.

5. The Dish picked up another college football preview magazine, Phil Steele’s 2009 College Football Preview, and found Notre Dame’s name all over the place:

Jimmy Clausen made the regional cover, along with Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor and Michigan’s Brandon Minor.
The bowl projections suggest Notre Dame and Clemson in the Gator Bowl.
Golden Tate is a first-team All-American, and Sam Young is a second-team pick.
In player ratings (draft eligible players only), Clausen is the #10 QB, Armando Allen the #47 RB, James Aldridge the #54 RB, Tate the #6 WR, Duval Kamara the #22 WR, Mike Ragone the #19 TE, Dan Wenger the #11 center, Chris Stewart the #13 guard, Eric Olsen the #25 guard, Young the #4 tackle. On defense, Ian Williams is the #20 DT, Brian Smith the #14 ILB, Toryan Smith the #53 ILB, Darrin Walls the #15 CB, Raeshon McNeil the #47 CB, Gary Gray the #59 CB, Harrison Smith the #15 FS, Kyle McCarthy the #21 SS. On special tams, Eric Maust is the #17 punter, Allen the #17 kick returner, Tate the #19 punt returner.
In unit rankings, Notre Dame’s QBs were #12, RBs were #17, receivers were #1, OL was #5, LBs were #14, DBs #7, special teams #19.
Irish were listed #4 under surprise teams for ’09.
Notre Dame was listed #7 in Preseason Top 40 (USC #3, Pitt #23, Michigan State #29, Nevada #35).
Notre Dame had 17 first-team selections on ’09 Independent Team, and seven more on second team.
Among top 500 freshmen, Cierre Wood is #4 RB, Theo Riddick #24 RB, Shaq Evans #9 WR, Jake Golic #21 TE, Chris Watt #6 OL, Alex Bullard #28 OL, Zach Martin #32 OL, Tyler Stockton #17 DL, Manti Te’o #1 LB, Zeke Motta #17 LB, Carlo Calabrese #27 LB, Dan Fox #35 LB, E.J. Banks #52 DB. Notre Dame had #7 class overall.
The Power Poll Top 120 has Notre Dame #6.
Toughest Schedule ratings from 2008 had Notre Dame 60th. Ratings for 2009 based solely on opponent winning percentages from last season have Irish 86th at .497 (76-77). Schedule rankings for ’09 list Notre Dame 36th.
Projected Power Plays for ’09 (based on projected yards and points and accounting for strength of opponent) project Notre Dame #9 in pass offense, #11 in total offense, #8 in pass defense. Most improved evaluations put Irish #10 in rushing, #3 in passing, #6 in total offense, #15 in pass defense.

6. The Notre Dame women’s lacrosse team finished the season ranked a best-ever sixth in the nation in the final Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA)/Under Armour preseason poll announced last week. Previously, Notre Dame’s top final rankings came in 2002 and 2006 when the team finished both of those seasons ranked seventh in the nation.

7. Three members of Notre Dame’s 2009 women’s lacrosse team have been selected to play in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association (IWLCA)/Under Armour North-South Senior All-Star game. Seniors Shannon Burke, Jillian Byers and Erin Goodman are among the 43 Division I seniors selected to play in the game that is part of the IWLCA’s Champions’ Cup Tournament that will be played next Saturday in Downington, Pa.

8. Notre Dame’s Ryan Richter last week was named to the Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America Team. The southpaw was one of 20 rookie pitchers and the only from any BIG EAST Conference school to make the squad. Richter posted a 5-2 record and 3.86 ERA in 2009, recording 19 strikeouts and 17 walks in 30.1 innings. He made 13 appearances for the Irish, including three starts. In 10 relief outings, Richter went 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 21.1 innings.

9. Senior midfielder Dillon Powers of Plano Senior High School in Plano, Texas, has been named 2008-09 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. Powers will begin playing for Notre Dame this fall.

10. The two most successful women’s basketball programs in BIG EAST Conference history will match up twice during the 2009-10 season, as Notre Dame and Connecticut square off in a home-and-home series that highlights next year’s conference schedule matrix released last week.

11. Robin Davis returns. A Notre Dame assistant volleyball coach from 2001-2005, Davis returns to that same role after three seasons as head coach at Boise State. He replaces Greg Smith who was named head coach at Toledo.

12. With all but Notre Dame’s track and field teams finished competing, the Dish is already on an every-so-often publishing schedule for the summer. The Dish this week heads to Atlanta for the two-day Sports Video Group College Sports Video Summit – then to Boston for a meeting of conference and network television administrators. At the SVG event in Atlanta, the Global Media Awards for College Sports will be presented Tuesday night. Among the nominees, in the category of Outstanding Promotional Video or Campaign: Colleges, Conferences or Governing Bodies, is “Notre Dame Football Primer 2.0” produced by Notre Dame Sports Properties.