Monday, June 28, 2010

1. Former Notre Dame track and field All-American Molly Huddle finished second in the 5,000 meters (15:30.89) Saturday at the 2010 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Meanwhile, Mary Saxer and Patrick Smyth finished third in their events over the weekend. Saxer achieved a lifetime best in the pole vault at 4.50m/14-9, while Smyth took third at 29:18.13 in the 10,000-meter run. Current Irish volunteer coach Mark Hollis (he lives in Elkhart and competed collegiately at Olivet Nazarene in Bourbonnais, Ill.) won the men’s pole vault event at 5.6m/18-4 1/2.

2. The first annual Kelly Open benefitting the Kelly Cares Foundation will be held Monday, July 12, at the Warren Golf Course on the Notre Dame campus. Kelly Cares was established by Brian and Paqui Kelly to support organizations, initiatives and programs that closely align with the goals and values of the Kelly family in three main areas: personal involvement, with emphasis on breast cancer research, prevention, education and awareness; education and institutional advancement; and, community involvement in selected initiatives and projects. The July 12 golf event begins at 10 a.m. with a shotgun start. Team and individual slots as well as sponsorships are available by calling 574-631-4116. The organizing committee includes John Foster (574-631-4116, jfoster2@nd.edu), Rick Peltz (574-532-1000, rpeltz@peltzservices.com) and Greg Hughes (574-631-7246, greg@ndsportsproperties.com).

3. For the third time in four years, a Notre Dame women’s basketball player has helped the United States earn a gold medal in international competition. On Sunday, Fighting Irish incoming freshman guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa.) scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds and added two assists and two steals as Team USA defeated Brazil, 81-38, to claim top honors at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo. McBride, who started all five games for the United States in the tournament, averaged 8.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game with a .500 field-goal percentage (15 for 30) and .846 free-throw percentage (11 for 13). She scored in double figures three times, tied for fourth on the team in scoring, and was third in both free-throw percentage and steals. In addition, she was a strong ballhandler throughout the tournament, with a 1.5 assist/turnover ratio (nine assists, six turnovers), a trait that was never more apparent than in Sunday’s gold-medal game against Brazil, when she played 19 turnover-free minutes for a United States side that uncharacteristically gave the ball away 22 times. By virtue of its top-four finish at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship, the U.S. has qualified for next summer’s FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, which will be held in Chile.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1. Here are tidbits from the National Letter Winner’s Association Conference that concluded Saturday at Notre Dame:
— Thirty-one schools from across the country attended (approximately 70 attendees).
— Irish athletics director Jack Swarbrick addressed the group at the opening session reception Thursday evening.
— Notre Dame Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter and her staff organized the conference.
— At dinner Friday night (at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend) Notre Dame’s Joe Restic and Tim Ellis from Ole Miss talked about the 1977 game when Ole Miss beat the Irish 20-13 in the heat of Oxford — the only loss during that national championship season. The Alabama attendees talked about being upset that # 5 Notre Dame leapfrogged # 2 Alabama after their respective bowl wins. Ellis was the Ole Miss QB and Restic an Irish DB in that Ole Miss game.
— Next year’s conference will be in Tulsa where the Notre Dame contingent will reconnect with Tulsa AD Bubba Cunningham.

2. Three more players with ties to the Notre Dame hockey program were selected Saturday during the second day of the National Hockey League Entry Draft at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Freshman defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) was selected in the second round (60th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks). He was joined by freshman right wing Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) who was chosen in the third round, 80th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rounding out the group was defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.) who was picked by the Anaheim Ducks in the sixth round, 177th overall. Lind signed a national letter of intent in November and will join the Irish for the 2011-12 season. Those three join Riley Sheahan (So., St. Catharine’s, Ont.) and defenseman Jarred Tinordi (Fr., Millersville, Md.) who were selected on Friday night in the first round — Sheahan, 21st by the Detroit Red Wings and Tinordi, 22nd by the Montreal Canadiens. That gives the Irish five players to be selected by NHL teams in this year’s draft, tying the mark set by the 2007 class that also had five players selected — Ian Cole (first round, St. Louis), Teddy Ruth (second round, Washington), Ryan Thang (third round, Nashville), Ben Ryan (fourth round, Nashville) and Brad Phillips (seventh round, Philadelphia). The most players the Irish have ever had selected in one draft was 1975 when seven players were chosen in a draft that had 16 rounds.

The first Notre Dame player to go on Saturday was Johns, as he was selected by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. A 6-3, 215-pound right-shot defenseman who was a teammate of Tinordi and Rust with the USA National Team Developmental Program, Johns is a big, rugged defensemen who brings a physical element to the game. He played in 62 games for the Under-18 team in 2009-10, picking up three goals with 16 assists for 19 points and 67 penalty minutes. He also was a member of the gold-medal winning Under-18 team that won the World Under-18 championship last April in Belarus. In seven games, he recorded two assists with 10 penalty minutes and was +2 for the tournament. He came into the draft ranked 35th among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings.

Rust is a 5-11, 191-pound right wing who has been a member of USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program the last two seasons. As a member of the Under-18 team last year, Rust was sixth on the team in scoring with 26 goals and 26 assists for 52 points in 65 games. He had 24 minutes in penalties while scoring five power-play goals and leading the team in short-handed tallies (2) and game-winning goals (7). In the spring, Rust was a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Under-18 Team that won the World Under-18 championship in Belarus. In seven games, he had four goals and two assists for six points. Ironically, he was ranked 80th among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings and went in that spot. His older brother, Matt, plays for the University of Michigan and was selected in the fourth round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by Florida.

Lind has played the last two seasons for the USHL’s Chicago Steel, seeing action in 55 games last season with six goals and 10 assists for 16 points to go with 76 penalty minutes. He had two power-play goals and a pair of game winners while being +3 for the season. A strong skater with great potential, Lind played in 50 games as a rookie in 2008-09, notching a pair of goals and three assists for five points and 45 penalty minutes. Following his first season, he was chosen to play for the USA Select Under-18 Team that played in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Piestany, Slovakia where he had a goal and an assist in three games as the United States finished fourth. Last November, he was a teammate of incoming Irish freshmen Jeff Costello and David Gerths on the gold-medal winning U.S. Junior Select Team that won the World Jr. A Challenge in Summerside, P.E.I. A 6-3, 200-pound left-shot defenseman, Lind played in all five games and had four penalty minutes. He came into the 2010 NHL Entry Draft ranked 139th by NHL Central Scouting in its final rankings prior to the draft.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1. The two Boston Celtics draft picks – including Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody – met the media Friday in Waltham, Mass. Here is the report from the Boston Globe: “(Celtic GM Danny) Ainge was particularly high on Harangody, a player possibly cut from the same cloth as Leon Powe, Ryan Gomes, and Glen Davis before him. “I think he was a great player in college,” Ainge said of the Notre Dame star who fell to the 52d overall pick. “He had dominant games, and Notre Dame and the Big East, one of the best conferences in the country. He was consistently productive and often dominant in a very tough conference. Like players we’ve drafted before and players who’ve had success, he is a guy that’s proven that he can succeed. We think that he can succeed at this level as well.’ Harangody admitted it was frustrating to fall after such an impressive college career. “I’ve had to deal with that,’ Harangody said. “I put my name in the draft last year, and I’ve heard ever since that I was going to be a second-rounder. That only just motivates me more. I feel like I paid my dues in college. I wasn’t good enough to get into the first round, but I feel like I just have to start all over again and just do the same thing as when I came to college because I wasn’t a big name then.'”

2. Seen on campus Thursday – former Irish men’s basketball coach (and current SMU coach) Matt Doherty, whose son attended the Notre Dame lacrosse camp.

3. Irish men’s tennis coach Bobby Bayliss recently attended a United States Tennis Association player development coaching clinic for 16 top college coaches in Boca Raton, Fla. – as the USTA acknowledges that more and more top-flight players are coming through the college ranks and wants to mesh coaching techniques.

4. Former Irish men’s lacrosse goalie Scott Rodgers was named the Major League Lacrosse rookie of the week. Making just his second career start last Saturday, Toronto goalie Rodgers made five saves in the first half of an 11-9 victory over the Long Island Lizards for the Nationals’ first win of the season. In his first two career games, the number-seven overall pick in the 2010 MLL Draft has allowed 12 goals while making 24 saves. “It’s one of the things where I’m happy that I adjusted to the speed of the game [in the MLL] and the shots well and I didn’t get lit up, but we needed a W and I think that’s what the main goal is right now,” Rodgers said.” You just got to adjust, the games a lot faster, especially with the shot clock,” Rodgers said. “You just got to roll with it.”

5. Two members of the 2010-11 Notre Dame hockey team – sophomore center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) and freshman defenseman Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.) – were selected back-to-back, 21st and 22nd overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft Friday night at the Staples Center. The Detroit Red Wings selected Sheahan with their first pick while the Montreal Canadiens chose Tinordi one pick later.The Irish duo become the third and fourth Notre Dame players selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, joining defenseman Ian Cole in 2007 (18th overall by St. Louis) and sophomore Kyle Palmieri in 2009 (26th overall by Anaheim). This also marks the first time in the 43-year history of the Notre Dame hockey program that the Irish have had two players selected in the opening round of the draft.

Sheahan, who was ranked 22nd in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings among North American skaters, started his collegiate career in 2009-10 with the Irish as one of the youngest players in college hockey. Born Dec. 7, 1991, he played half the season as a 17-year old. With the Irish, he played in all situations, taking a regular shift, playing on the power play and killing penalties. In 37 games, the 6-2, 202-pound center had six goals with 11 assists for 17 points while recording 22 penalty minutes. Three of his goals came on the power play. He was invited to the NHL’s Draft Combine held in Toronto at the end of May.

What They Are Saying About Riley Sheahan:
NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee on Sheahan:
“He’s so mature for a kid his age — I’m overwhelmed with that. He’s equally good in all three zones and goes to the front of the net. He’s very conscious in the defensive zone and down behind the net in the defensive corner — he makes certain his team isn’t outnumbered. In the neutral zone, he makes all kinds of things happen but will get back and turn a transition if needed.”

Red Line Report 2010 Draft Guide on Sheahan:
“Has a great combination of size, puck skills and hockey sense. Strong two-way center plays a very mature, advanced game and is defensively sound. … Excellent anticipation and has an innate sense for reading the play and understanding game situations. Uses size to protect the puck with leverage and carry defenders to net. Deftly gives/receives passes. Soft hands with excellent vision and imaginative playmaking touch.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Jeff Jackson on Sheahan:
“Without question he achieved quite a bit (as a freshman) for the youngest player in college hockey. He was 17 years old and was playing up against 20-year-old players on a regular basis in practice and games, and he did extremely well. He was a freshman that came in and played a regular role in both our power play and penalty kill situation, so he was an important part of our team. He’s a very responsible player, very smart, and because of that I could use him in almost any situation. He’s more than a defensive forward; I know he can do quite a bit more offensively, and we’ll be relying on that in the future.”

After waiting close to three hours for Sheahan to be selected, Irish hockey fans had to wait about 15 minutes for Tinordi to be the second Notre Dame player selected.
To get Tinordi, Montreal made a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes to move up five spots from 27th to 22nd to make the pick. In selecting Tinordi, the Canadiens get a 6-5, 202-pound left-shot defenseman who served as captain of the USA Under-18 team last season and is a two-year member of the USA Hockey National Team Developmental Program. He also is the son of former NHL defenseman Mark Tinordi who played 12 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals.

A strong, tough, physical defenseman, Tinordi played in 65 games for the Under-18 Team, scoring six goals with 11 assists for 17 points and 105 minutes in penalties. A member of the gold-medal winning Under-18 Team in the spring, Tinordi had a goal and an assist in seven games and was +8 at the World Under-18 Championships. He was ranked 38th among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings.

What They Are Saying About Jarred Tinordi:
NHL Central Scouting’s Jack Barzee on Tinordi:
“He skates very well for a big guy. He has an excellent shot from the point. He’s a pretty smart player. The head’s there, the hands are there, the shot’s there, the skating ability is there. He’s got a real, real cannon for a shot.”

U.S. Under-18 head coach Kurt Kleinendorst on Tinordi:
“For Jarred to be at his best, he just needs to be steady. He’s very intelligent, keeps himself in good position and is capable of making the first pass. And that should and probably always will be the foundation of what will bring out the most in his game.”

Red Line Report 2010 Draft Guide on Tinordi:
“Massive stay-at-home rearguard with excellent character, bloodlines, and leadership. Dependable, shutdown defender, always thinks defense-first, and his crease coverage is among the best of this class – colossal frame and nasty disposition form an impenetrable barrier between opponents and his goalie. Readily protects teammates and will drop the gloves. Reads and reacts to plays well at the defensive end. Effectively closes his man off to the wall and staples him there. Only has one gear, but shows functional mobility for a big man. Uses long stick/reach to break up lots of passes. Settles things down when team gets in trouble in its own end. Difficult to beat in 1-on-1 situations down low in puck battles or off the rush.”

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft resumes today at 1:00 p.m. EDT with rounds two through seven. Notre Dame has four other players who signed national letters-of-intent last November. That group includes incoming freshman defenseman Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) who was ranked 35th by NHL Central Scouting; incoming freshman forward Bryan Rust (Fr., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), ranked 80th among North American skaters; defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.), ranked 139th and forward T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.) who was ranked 210th.

One other Notre Dame note from the 2010 NHL Draft came when former Irish player Victor Oreskovich – who played a year and a half for the Irish from 2004-06 – and a member of the Florida Panthers organization was part of a trade that sent him to the Vancouver Canucks.

6. Emily Tubert of Burbank, Calif., who is playing in the finals of the United States Golf Association Women’s Amateur Pubic Links Championships today at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course, joined her father in stopping by Arlotta Stadium to watch the Irish lacrosse camp on Monday night. Headed to Arkansas as a freshman this fall, Tubert chatted with Lis Corrigan, wife of Irish lacrosse coach Kevin, about life and facilities at Notre Dame.

Friday, June 25, 2010

1. Former Notre Dame linebacker and grad assistant football coach Tom “Rock” Roggeman was laid to rest this morning following a funeral mass at St. Pius X Church in Granger, Ind. Among those former Irish coaches in attendance were Skip Holtz (Roggeman was on his staff at East Carolina – Skip is now starting his first year as head coach at South Florida) and his wife Jen, Ron Cooper (former Eastern Michigan, Louisville and Alabama A&M head coach where Rock was on his staff — now on staff at LSU) and former Irish grad assistant Brian White (he and Roggeman coached together at UNLV – White is now tight ends coach at Florida). Former Irish players who attended either the Thursday night visitation or the Friday funeral included Greg Hudson (he served as a pallbearer), Jerry Weinle, Mike Richerson, Tom Doerger, Van Pearcy, Tom Murphy, Mike Golic, Joe Bars, Mike Perrino and Joe Johnson, as well as former Irish baseball captain Rick Chryst. Roggeman played in only three varsity games with the Irish — but it’s hard to recall anyone who approached his job with more emotion and passion. The original scholarship offer to come to Notre Dame brought tears to his eyes. Roggeman’s father Tom Sr. was a high school legend in South Bend as head football coach at Washington High School where he won 75 games combined from 1959-69. Rock’s father is now retired and lives in the South Bend area. A memorial fund in Rock’s name has been established through the University. Rock’s coaching career included stops at Notre Dame, Murray State, UNLV, Eastern Michigan, Louisville, Alabama A&M and Alabama State, and East Carolina.

2. Here’s what the Boston Globe said today about Luke Harangody — “He was a dominant Big East player for the last few years,” Celtic general manager Danny Ainge said. “Luke is one of those guys kind of like a (Ryan) Gomes or a Leon Powe, where if they’re still available are proven players that everybody discards because they might have a little flaw. But time will tell.” . . . Three-time All-American Luke Harangody (Schererville, Ind.) was selected by the Boston Celtics as the 52nd pick overall in the second round of the 2010 National Basketball Association Draft. Harangody becomes the first player since Ryan Humphrey in 2002 and the third player under head coach Mike Brey to be chosen in the NBA draft. Troy Murphy was the first-ever NBA pick under Brey as he was taken 14th overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2001 draft. Humphrey was selected a year later as the 19th overall pick by the Utah Jazz. Harangody was one of 11 BIG EAST players taken in the draft. Four players were drafted in the first round: Wesley Johnson of Syracuse (4th overall pick by Minnesota); Greg Monroe of Georgetown (9th overall pick by Detroit); Dominique Jones of USF (25th overall pick by Memphis); and Lazar Hayward of Marquette (30th pick overall by Washington).

3. Softball head coach Deanna Gumpf recently announced the addition of three student-athletes who will continue their academic and athletic careers at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2010. Florida natives Monica Torres and Chloe Saganowich will join California’s Lauren Stuhr on the Irish roster for the 2011 season. Laura Winter, another California product, became the first official member of the class last fall.

The Saganowich File: Four-time varsity letter winner at St. Petersburg Catholic (Fla.) under tutelage of coach Tom Fabian … positioned at shortstop and pitcher … has more than 50 wins in her career, including 20-win, 240-strikeout seasons in 2008 and 2009 … honored as an ESPN Rise-Top Ten Player to Watch … listed among the decorated athletes in the Adidas Top 100 prep players ranking … led team to four straight conference championships … team captain her senior year … named all-conference, all-city and all-state throughout her entire prep career … three-time team MVP … led team in home runs in each of her four seasons at St. Petersburg … in addition, led county in home runs for three straight seasons (2008-2010) … had an astounding .557 batting average in her junior season … member of the Spanish Honor Society, National Honor Society, SADD and student government … named an All-American Scholar during her junior year … born April 18, 1992, in Tampa, Fla. … daughter of Lara and Jerry Saganowich.

The Torres File:

Two-sport athlete at Florida’s Winter Springs (softball and cross Country) … with softball coach Mark Huaman at the helm, received four varsity letters while playing in the outfield … team captain her senior year … three-time all-conference honoree … named to the all-county team her sophomore season … batted .333 with 11 RBI her junior campaign … while participating in cross-country her senior year, ran a personal best 22:15 over the 5K distance … member of the English Honor Society, National Honor Society and the African Sky Organization during her prep career … born November 11, 1991, in New Brunswick, N.J. … daughter of Anne Prucha and Hector Torres.

The Stuhr File: Prepped at Huntington Beach (Calif.) … led her team to a conference title as a sophomore under the leadership of coach Jeff Forsberg … four-year varsity starter … team captain junior and senior season … led team her senior season in batting average (.424), slugging percentage (.612), hits (35), runs scored (22) and stolen bases (16) … received conference and offensive player of the year award in 2008 … Coaches Choice of the Year Award recipient … played for 16U Firecrackers and finished eighth at 2009 Nationals … setter on the volleyball team for two years … guided team to back to back conference titles in 2007 and 2008 … active in National Honor Society, Model United Nations and ASB-Student body … born May 15, 1992, in Long Beach, Calif. … daughter of Patti and Greg Stuhr … father, Greg (’81), was on first men’s club volleyball team at Notre Dame … grandfather, George (’49), was captain of Irish golf team … mother, Patti, played volleyball at Stanford.

4. For the fourth consecutive season, Notre Dame will meet Connecticut in a home-and-home series during the 2010-11 BIG EAST men’s basketball regular season. The conference regular-season matrix for the upcoming campaign was released on Thursday. In addition to the Huskies, the Irish also are slated to play Marquette and St. John’s twice next season. The ’10-’11 season will mark the fourth year since expansion to 16 teams that the Conference will employ an 18-game regular-season slate with all teams playing each at least once and three opponents twice (home and away). Notre Dame’s single-game home opponents at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center for the upcoming season will be Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova. The nine-game road slate also will feature visits to DePaul, Pittsburgh, Providence, USF, Syracuse and West Virginia.

5. University of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his wife Paqui co-hosted Football 101 Thursday from 5:00-10:00 p.m. on Notre Dame’s campus. Football 101 gave women at least 21 years old an opportunity to meet the Notre Dame football coaching staff, learn fun facts about Fighting Irish football and enjoy an upscale taste of South Bend. Participants also got a behind-the-scenes look at Notre Dame Stadium and the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Admission to the event was $104 per person and paid registration included admission to all evening activities and a souvenir pink adidas Notre Dame football jersey. The event was limited to 300 participants. Proceeds benefitted breast cancer prevention, awareness and early detection initiatives. Following check-in, a reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. took place inside the Notre Dame Stadium locker room. Drinks and snacks were provided and patrons were able to meet Notre Dame’s coaching staff and browse through items for the evening’s raffle and auction. At 7:00 p.m. participants exited the locker room, slapped the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign, on their way to the tunnel before running out onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium. Once on the field, the Fighting Irish coaching staff taught the basics of football form and technique. Football 101 then moved to the Guglielmino Athletics Complex at 7:45 p.m. to learn the basic X’s and O’s with the coaches in the position meeting rooms and learned more about how missed blocks and route-running can make the difference between a sack and a touchdown. The evening concluded with a fashion show of athletic gear and football equipment from 9:30-10:00 p.m. with former Notre Dame football player and current ESPN radio and television personality Mike Golic serving as Master of Ceremonies.

6. The National Hockey League will hold its annual Entry Draft this weekend in Los Angeles, Calif., at the Staples Center. The first round of the draft will be tonight, starting at 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised by Versus in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada. Rounds 2-7 will be held on Saturday, beginning at 1:00 p.m. (EDT) and will be televised on the NHL Network. If NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings hold up, no fewer than six players with ties to the University of Notre Dame could hear their names called with sophomore center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharines, Ont.) and freshmen defensemen Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) and Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.) all possibly going in the first round on Friday night. Sheahan, a 6-2, 200-pound center, was ranked 22nd among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings. Johns, a 6-3, 215-pound defenseman, was second among Irish players in the rankings as he was ranked 35th among North Americans. Tinordi, a 6-5, 202-pound blueliner, who teamed with Johns on the USA Under-18 team this season, was ranked 38th on the list of North American skaters. All three players have appeared at various spots in mock drafts done by NHL scouts, NHL.com and various publications leading up to this weekend. Notre Dame has had just two players in the program’s 43-year history selected in the first round – defenseman Ian Cole in 2007 (18th overall by St. Louis) and sophomore Kyle Palmieri in 2009 (26th overall by Anaheim).

Joining Sheahan, Johns and Tinordi on Central Scoutings’ list are forward Matt Rust (Fr., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), defenseman Kevin Lind (Homer Glen, Ill.) and forward T.J. Tynan (Orland Park, Ill.). Rust is a 5-11, 191-pound right wing who was a teammate of Johns and Tinordi on the USA Under-18 team last season. He was ranked 80th among North American skaters by the NHL. Lind is a 6-3, 200-pound blueliner who was a member of the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Chicago Steel in the 2009-10 season. Central Scouting ranks the left-shot defenseman at 139 among North American players. Rounding out the group is Tynan, a 5-9, 160-pound center who played last year for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. The high-scoring center was ranked 210th overall among the players rated by the National Hockey League. Lind and Tynan are expected to join the Irish for the 2011-12 season but signed national letters-of-intent in November of 2009. Two other incoming freshmen – Jeff Costello (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Anders Lee (Edina, Minn.) – were both drafted in the 2009 entry draft. The Ottawa Senators selected Costello in the fifth round, 146th overall and the New York Islanders made Lee a sixth-round pick, 152nd overall last season.Since 1969, teams in the National Hockey League have drafted 60 Notre Dame players. Going into this weekend’s entry draft, the Irish roster includes seven players that have heard their names called in either the 2007, 2008 or 2009 drafts.

7. Fighting Irish women’s golfers Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta) were each ousted in Round of 32 match play action at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship (WAPL) on Thursday afternoon at Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course. Zhang, who was seeded seventh after two rounds of stroke play, dropped a tough match to Ellen Mueller of Bartlesville, Okla. Mueller took a 2-up lead for most of the day, but Zhang closed the gap before ultimately losing 2 and 1. Huffer, the 34th seed, played a riveting match versus second-seeded Martina Gavier of Argentina. Huffer had been 2-up on the back nine, but a charge by Gavier led to an all-square score through 17 holes. The duo then each earned pars on the 18th to move the match to extra holes. On the second playoff hole, both players hit the green with their approach shots. Huffer, who was above the hole, just missed a 20-foot birdie attempt leaving the door open for Gavier, who calmly converted a 15-footer from the left fringe for the win. Irish fans can now look forward to catching Zhang in action at the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, as she becomes the first Irish player to tee it up at the marquee event. She is one of 30 amateurs currently slated to take part. The Open will be played on July 5 through the 11 at the Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. July 5, 6 and 7 will feature practice rounds, while first-round action gets underway July 8.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

1. The Notre Dame men’s soccer team announced three changes to its 2010 schedule. Among those are two matches that will be televised. Notre Dame’s home game against Providence, which originally was scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2, will take place at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 3 at Alumni Stadium. The match will be part of a doubleheader as the Irish women will face St. John’s at noon. Both contests will be aired live on CBS College Sports. The Fighting Irish will face Connecticut on Fox Soccer Channel at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Oct. 22 in Storrs, Conn. That match originally was slated for Saturday, Oct. 23. As a result of that schedule change, Notre Dame’s road match at Seton Hall now will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 19 instead of Wednesday, Oct. 20.

2. Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Manti Te’o has been named to the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, announced by the Football Writers Association of America on Monday. The award is given to the nation’s top defensive player at the Charlotte Touchdown Club annual awards banquet. Te’o, one of 74 players announced to the preseason watch list, played in all 12 games last season. He started 10 contests and recorded the third-most tackles ever by a Notre Dame freshman. Te’o ranked fourth on team with 63 stops. He added 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack and one pass breakup. Te’o became a full-time starter in fifth game of season against Washington and proceeded to register 57 tackles over last eight games, which was the second most of any player on the squad over the stretch. He recorded 10 tackles against both Washington, his first career start, and in the season finale at Stanford. Players may be added or deleted to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List during the season. Each week during the 2010 season, the FWAA will choose a Defensive Player of the Week. If that player is not on the Watch List, he automatically will be added. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on November 18. The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be on Dec. 6 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Besides the 2010 winner being announced, the banquet will also celebrate the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, presented by CSX Intermodal. Defensive tackle Mike McCoy, a standout for Notre Dame, is being honored from the FWAA’s 1969 All-America team.

3. University of Notre Dame junior offensive guard Trevor Robinson has been named to the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch List, announced by the Football Writers Association of America on Monday. The award is given to the nation’s top interior lineman at The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9. Robinson, one of 63 players announced to the preseason watch list, started 11 games at right guard last season (missing the Navy contest due to injury). He has seen action in 22 games over his career, including 14 as a starter. In 2008, Robinson became just fifth freshman to start on Notre Dame’s offensive line since 1972. The FWAA will consider other players for the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch List and will also delete players as the season progresses. The FWAA All-America Committee will select three finalists in late November and eventually the overall winner. The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football. The Outland Trophy is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century. The 2010 winner will be announced on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9. The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be on Jan. 13 in Omaha, Neb.

4. Who’s an attendee this week at the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse camp on campus? Patrick Kelly, son of Notre Dame’s new football coach.

5. Check out the hole south of the Joyce Center where the new Notre Dame hockey facility is going up. There’s already substantial structural work happening on the foundation.

6. A recent ESPN.com survey of NFL drafts for the last 30 years (1979-2009) – it awarded points for eventual NFL MVPs, all-pro and Pro Bowl appearances – had Notre Dame ranked seventh nationally in points, noting that names like Joe Montana, Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis helped that total.

7. The St. Joe Valley chapter of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame last month inducted former Irish head coach Lou Holtz, former Mishawaka Marian and Notre Dame player Tom Murphy and South Bend area sportscaster Bob Nagle.

8. The University’s service recognition dinner last month listed lots of athletics employees with anniversaries based on years of service:

10 years – Tim Ferguson (Joyce Center), Julia Kennedy (Joyce Center), Matt Lewandowski (Rockne Memorial), Stephen Poland (Joyce Center), Stephanie Reed (men’s basketball), Joy Schosker (football), Henry Scroope (football equipment), Janice Tabb (business office).

15 years – Janusz Bednarski (fencing), Bernie Cafarelli (sports information), Anita Garner (Joyce Center), Ann Karwoski (football), Jennifer Phillips (RecSports), Steve Roberts (Rockne Memorial), Dennis Stachowski (Rockne Memorial), David Studer (Rockne Memorial), Sandy Young (business office).

20 years – Tim Collins (football), John Harness (Rockne Memorial), Jay Louderback (women’s tennis), Maureen McNamara (community relations), Bill Scholl (community relations), John Wensits (Rolf’s Center), Judy Zook (ticket office).

25 years – Christian Horwarth (Joyce Center), Jerome Whitaker (grounds).

30 years – Martha Anton (concessions), Olay Malaythong (Joyce Center), Skip Meyer (sports medicine), Jim Murphy (Joyce Center crowd control), Bob Waddick (Joyce Center).

35 years – Cliff Payne (Joyce Center), Joe Piane (track and cross country)

40 years – Lefty Smith (Loftus Center).

Retirees included Brian Boulac (Joyce Center administration), Charles Slomski (Joyce Center crowd control), John Strickland (grounds), Laurie Wenger (Joyce Center).

One interesting note – Wenger handled sign-painting in the Joyce Center and created the original “Play Like A Champion” sign.

Monday, June 21, 2010

1. The college football preview magazine produced by The Kickoff lists Notre Dame 29th in its preseason poll.

2. Former Notre Dame footballer Rudy Ruettiger recently received an honorary degree and served as graduate commencement speaker at Mercy College (White Plains, N.Y.) where Bill Martinov (he worked in strength and conditioning at Notre Dame from 1987-98) is the executive dean of student services and leadership.

3. Former Notre Dame footballers Brady Quinn and Chinedum Ndukwe were at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend today as part of the Hall’s luncheon legend series. WNDU sports director Jeff Jeffers quizzed the duo on stage following lunch and obtained these nuggets:
— In the offseason Ndukwe has studied both at the Harvard Business School and at Wharton (Penn’s business school).
— Quinn and Ndukwe played 10 years together, from junior high, to high school, through Notre Dame.
— Ndukwe has his own foundation that focuses on youth wellness and recently held a Cincinnati area camp that included Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, as well as former Notre Damers Dan Santucci, Rocky Boiman and Quinn. Ndukwe hopes to take the foundation work beyond Cincinnati, even as far as Nigeria.
— Quinn remembered back in seventh grade when he and Ndukwe were on opposite sides of a punt/punt return drill and Quinn got smacked in the back. Ndukwe said he would have to “see film on that.”
— Quinn on his first three NFL seasons: “It’s a great learning experience, you learn from adversity and from losses. Now in Denver we’ve got a lot of talent, and it’s a great fit because the terminology with Josh McDaniel is similar to Charlie (Weis), and plus we have six Domers there (also Paul Duncan, David Bruton, Kyle McCarthy, Ryan Harris, Eric Olsen).
— Quinn said when the day comes he’s not playing he’ll probably look at going back to law or business school, too.
— Ndukwe said Brandon Marshall is the toughest NFL player to cover and Adrian Peterson is the hardest to tackle (“he’s like a dump truck”)
— Quinn called (Raven DB) Ed Reed his toughest opponent and pointed to Brian Dawkins as an incredible athlete.
— Quinn on current Irish QB Dayne Crist: “I met him as a recruit and I couldn’t be more impressed. I think he’ll be great.”
— On new coach Brian Kelly, Quinn said, “He’s charismatic and he gets the most out of his players.” Added Ndukwe (who got to know Kelly since they were both in Cincinnati): “You’re talking about doing more with less. He’s a good football coach and an even better person.”
— Quinn on what has to happen when there’s a coaching transition: “Your leaders need to step up and buy into the concept.” Added Ndukwe, “Don’t ask questions, just go. Put the blinders on and just go from there.”

4. For the second consecutive season, the two most successful women’s basketball programs in BIG EAST Conference history will match up at least twice, as Notre Dame and Connecticut square off in a home-and-home series that highlights the 2010-11 conference schedule matrix that was released Friday. In addition to the two-time defending NCAA national champion Huskies, the Fighting Irish also will welcome NCAA Championship second-round participants Georgetown and St. John’s, as well as first-round qualifier Rutgers to Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center as part of their 16-game conference slate, which features eight home and eight road contests, with schools playing every other institution once and one team twice.

Notre Dame will play six of its eight conference home games next year against teams that advanced to the postseason in ’09-’10, led by Connecticut, Georgetown, St. John’s and Rutgers. The other visitors to Purcell Pavilion next season will be: Cincinnati, Louisville (Women’s Basketball Invitational first round), Seton Hall and Syracuse (WNIT quarterfinals).

Likewise, seven of Notre Dame’s eight road contests in BIG EAST play next season will come against ’09-’10 postseason qualifiers. The featured BIG EAST road trip for the Fighting Irish next season will be West Virginia, with the Mountaineers having advanced to the second round of last year’s NCAA Championship before falling to San Diego State. Notre Dame also will travel to DePaul (NCAA first round), Marquette (WNIT second round), Pittsburgh (WNIT first round), Providence (WNIT quarterfinals), South Florida (WNIT first round) and Villanova during the coming year.

The Fighting Irish already have received some early notice from the national media for the upcoming season, with ESPN.com’s Charlie Creme ranking Notre Dame ninth in his article entitled “64 teams to watch in 2010-11”.

5. Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his wife Paqui will co-host Football 101 Thursday from 5:00-10:00 p.m. EDT on Notre Dame’s campus. Football 101 will give women at least 21 years old an opportunity to meet the Notre Dame football coaching staff, learn fun facts about Fighting Irish football and enjoy an upscale taste of South Bend. Participants will also get a behind-the-scenes look at Notre Dame Stadium and the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.

Admission to the event is $104 per person and paid registration includes admission to all evening activities and a souvenir pink adidas Notre Dame football jersey. The event is limited to 300 participants and walk-up registrations will NOT be accepted. Proceeds will benefit breast cancer prevention, awareness and early detection initiatives. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and workout attire as they will participate in a series of light on-the-field drills and instruction provided by the Notre Dame football coaching staff. Following check-in at the north side gate of Notre Dame Stadium (tunnel entrance), a reception from 5:00-7:00 pm will occur inside the Notre Dame Stadium locker room. Drinks and snacks will be provided and patrons will be able to meet Notre Dame’s coaching staff and browse through items for the evening’s raffle and auction. At 7:00 pm, participants will exit the locker room, slapping the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign, on their way to the tunnel before running out onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium. Once on the field, the Fighting Irish coaching staff will teach the basics of football form and technique.

Football 101 moves to the Guglielmino Athletics Complex at 7:45 pm to learn the basic Xs and Os with the coaches in the position meeting rooms and to learn more about how missed blocks and route-running can make the difference between a sack and a touchdown. The evening concludes with a fashion show of athletic gear and football equipment from 9:30-10:00 p.m. with former Notre Dame football player and current ESPN radio and television personality Mike Golic serving as Master of Ceremonies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

1. The Charlotte Touchdown Club Wednesday announced that former University of Notre Dame All-America defensive lineman Mike McCoy is the winner of the 2010 Bronko Nagurski “Legends” Award, which recognizes the “best of the best” of defensive football players from the past 40 years. The award will be presented during the annual Bronko Nagurski Award Banquet Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, at The Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. McCoy was a consensus All-American at Notre Dame where he graduated with a degree in economics. The Packers drafted McCoy as the second overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft. McCoy, originally from Erie, Pa., contributed to the Packers winning the 1972 NFC Central Division, while also leading Green Bay in quarterback sacks in 1973 and 1976. McCoy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Council on Sports for a Drug Free America and by former Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh to the Pennsylvania Council for Physical Fitness. McCoy served as the chaplain of the Atlanta Braves and currently serves on several community outreach boards. The initial “Legends” award, sponsored by CSX Intermodal, was presented in 2007 to players from the 1966 season, the first year the FWAA All-American Teams were separated into defense and offense. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and he FWAA to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player. The Charlotte Touchdown Club also honors local college and high school football players and over the last decade has raised nearly $1,000,000 for student athletic scholarships throughout the Charlotte Metro Area.

2. Notre Dame sophomore center Riley Sheahan (St. Catharine’s, Ont.) is among a group of 41 hockey players selected by Hockey Canada to attend Canada’s National Junior Team Development Camp this coming August in St. John’s, Newfoundland. All participating players are candidates for the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2010 to Jan. 5, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y. Sheahan is among a group of 17 defensemen and 24 forwards born in 1991 or 1992 invited to the camp with goaltenders to be selected following a Hockey Canada goaltending camp to be held in Calgary. He is one of three players on the roster with ties to the NCAA as he is joined by Minnesota-Duluth defenseman Dylan Olsen and Harvard forward Louis LeBlanc. Of the remaining 38 players, 37 play junior hockey in Canada while one is playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL). From this group, 35 players will advance to Canada’s junior team selection camp in December where head coach Dave Cameron and his staff will select the final 22 players that will represent Canada in the World Junior Championships.

3. Four members of the 2010-11 Notre Dame hockey team are among a group of 44 hockey players that have been invited to attend the 2010 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp that will be held in Lake Placid, N.Y., July 30 through Aug. 7. All participating players are candidates for the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2010 to Jan. 5, 2011, in Buffalo, N.Y. Attending the camp from Notre Dame are sophomore right wing Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) along with incoming freshmen forward Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and defensemen Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) and Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.). All four players are products of USA Hockey’s National Team Developmental Program. Palmieri is one of nine returning players from the gold-medal winning 2010 U.S. Junior National Team. The camp, which will take place at Lake Placid’s Olympic Center, will feature practices, intra-squad scrimmages and international games versus Finland and Sweden.

4. Former Notre Dame football standouts Brady Quinn and Chinedum Ndukwe will visit South Bend Memorial Hospital patients Monday in conjunction with their speaking engagement at the 2010 KeyBank Gridiron Legends Luncheon Series presented by the College Football Hall of Fame. Quinn and Ndukwe have a longstanding history and friendship that dates back to the seventh grade when they began playing football together for the first time. The pair went on to play together each year until 2007 when they each were selected by different teams in the NFL draft. Currently, Quinn is a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, and Ndukwe is a safety for the Cincinnati Bengals.

5. Scott Lawler has been named Notre Dame’s interim head coach for baseball. Lawler takes over on an interim basis for Dave Schrage, who was not retained as head baseball coach after four seasons in that position. Lawler — considered one of the top young coaches in the nation and a product of an impressive baseball pedigree — has been Notre Dame’s top assistant over the last four seasons, all under Schrage. He served as the Irish associate head coach each of the last two years.

6. Fighting Irish women’s golfers Becca Huffer (Denver, Colo.) and Nicole Zhang (Calgary, Alberta) have qualified to play in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship (WAPL), which will be contested on Notre Dame’s Warren Golf Course June 21-26. Huffer just completed her sophomore year, while Zhang is an incoming freshman. Huffer qualified for the prestigious tournament on May 26 when she shot a 77 at the Meadow Hills Golf Club in Aurora, Colo., to finish second and claim one of three qualifying spots from Meadow Hills. Zhang enters the field with an exemption based on her amateur ranking.

7. A number of honors and accolades have recently been dealt to the Notre Dame women’s tennis program coming on the heels of a stellar showing at the NCAA Championships. The Irish doubles tandem of Kristy Frilling and Kali Krisik was named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament team and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced today that Frilling will be a part of its USTA Summer Collegiate Team, which is an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players. Irish assistant coach Julia Scaringe has been tabbed as one of two coaches to steer the USTA Summer Collegiate Team on the women’s end. Krisik also earned an all-tournament distinction in the singles portion of the NCAAs.

8. The latest college football preview magazine, this one from Yahoo! Sports, includes a Q&A with Brian Kelly, a #30 preseason ranking for the Irish, preseason first-team All-America predictions for WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph — and a bowl prediction of Notre Dame vs. Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla..

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1. Enjoy one of the most highly anticipated football games of the fall in VIP style courtesy of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. A raffle will be held by the Monogram Club to enjoy a VIP weekend for the September 11th game between the Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines. If you wish to purchase a VIP Raffle ticket please click here. – only 525 tickets available at $100 each!

2. There’s a digital billboard not far from the Notre Dame campus that fetes legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and notes his connection with South Bend Central High School.

3. Speaking of John Wooden, a story in the Los Angeles Times last week referenced a 1947 golf feat in which Wooden in a single round of golf achieved both a hole in one and a double eagle – and Golf Digest claims that has happened only four times in history. The story says Wooden did this at Chain of Lakes golf course in South Bend (that was an early name for what now is South Bend Country Club).

4. Irish football coach Brian Kelly was in Chicago Monday to speak at a sales luncheon hosted by ISP, Notre Dame’s football radio network. Attendees included Don Criqui and Allen Pinkett who describe the games for ISP. The event was held overlooking the Chicago River at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse. On Friday Kelly will throw out the first pitch at the South Bend Silver Hawks Class A baseball game and also sign autographs.

5. Former Notre Dame football players Brady Quinn, Golden Tate, Tony Rice, Frank Stams, Raghib Ismail, Carlyle Holiday and Chinedum Ndukwe (among others) will be in South Bend Saturday for a Hannah & Friends celebrity golf outing at Blackthorn Golf Club. Then on Monday, former high school and Irish teammates Quinn and Ndukwe speak at Century Center in South Bend at the College Football Hall of Fame Keybank Gridiron Luncheon Legends series.

6. Seventy golfers hit the links June 4 at the Warren Golf Course for the Monogram Club’s 3rd Annual Riehle Open. The tournament, named after longtime executive director of the Monogram Club Rev. Jim Riehle C.S.C. ’49, provided Monogram winners with an opportunity to enjoy each others company on the golf course while paying tribute to the man who meant so much to the Club. “For years Father Riehle was the cornerstone of the Monogram Club,” said executive director Beth Hunter. “This is the perfect way to honor the man who touched the lives of so many Monogram winners.” Each year the Riehle Open bridges the gap between legend and legacy as it brings together Monogram winners from around the country representing a variety of sports and generations. “I traveled here from Dallas to be a part of this,” said Steve Orsini ’78 (football). “I really enjoy the chance to come back and have fun with longtime friends, former teammates and fellow Monogram winners.” Finishing the event in third place with a score of 62 was the team featuring Irish head coaches Joe Piane (track and field) and Susan Holt (women’s golf), along with two members of the Monogram Club Board of Directors, Jim Tyler ’86 (track and field) and Kerrie Wagner ’89 (women’s golf). Former football players from the Dan Devine era, including Pete Johnson ’79, Phil Johnson ’79, Steve Orsini ’78, Doug Becker ’78 and Tom Domin ’79, shot a 13-under par 58 to finish in second place. With a score of 55 the 2010 Riehle Open championship went to the foursome comprised of former Irish golfers Terry Lally ’60, Mike LaFrance ’73, Frank Leyes ’84 and Christie Flanagan ’60 who captured the tournament title for the second consecutive year.

7. For the Sept. 11 home football game, Notre Dame Monogram Club winners from football will form the tunnel as the Irish take on the Michigan Wolverines. To close the 2010 home football season dues-paying Monogram winners from all sports are invited to form the pregame tunnel prior to the Nov. 13 game against Utah.

8. On June 3 the Notre Dame Monogram Club welcomed two new members, as the club presented honorary monograms to longtime basketball supporter Phil Singleton ‘ 60 and current Notre Dame women’s lacrosse head coach Tracy Coyne. This marks the first time the club has awarded an honorary monogram since April 2009. “Phil and Tracy have each played a vital role in the success of Notre Dame athletics,” said Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter. “While their contributions are different, they are both equally important and we are very proud to welcome them into the Monogram Club family.” Following lunch on Thursday afternoon, members of the athletics department staff and the Monogram Club, including women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw, Monogram Club president Joe Restic ’79 and Hunter, gathered at the Warren Golf Course to surprise Singleton with the presentation of his honorary monogram. Singleton, who returned campus to celebrate his 50th reunion, has supported the Irish as a fan for years, and in recent years provided funding to renovate the basketball offices in the Joyce Center. Singleton also annually hosts a golf tournament at Salem Country Club (Mass.) in support of Irish athletics. That same evening, hundreds of Monogram winners along with Notre Dame coaches and administrators gathered for the Monogram Club’s Summer Mass and Cookout. Following Mass in the Rosenthal Atrium of Purcell Pavilion, attendees headed upstairs to the new Club Naimoli for dinner. During the speaking portion of the cookout, Hunter along with honorary Monogram winner and athletics department chaplain Rev. Paul Doyle C.S.C. ’65 presented Coyne with an honorary monogram. As the only head coach in the Notre Dame program’s history, Coyne is 137-89 (.606) and has guided the Irish to six NCAA tournaments (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010) where her teams have advanced to the Final Four once (2006) and the quarterfinals twice (2002, 2009). Coyne, who believed she was in attendance to present an honorary monogram to another member of the staff, was stunned to learn the honor was in fact for her.

9. The Notre Dame Monogram Club will host the 15th Annual National Letterwinners Association Conference on the Notre Dame campus of Notre Dame June 24-26. Representatives from more than 30 universities will gather on the Notre Dame campus for a weekend of fellowship and idea-sharing with other letter-winner organizations from around the country.

10. From June 7-10, the 2010 Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp provided 35 lifelong Notre Dame fans from around the country an opportunity to fulfill their dream of playing football for the Fighting Irish. Fantasy campers were able to use all Notre Dame football facilities while receiving hands-on instruction from head football coach Brian Kelly, his assistant coaches and numerous current and former Irish football players. Camp participants followed the same schedule of events as the current Notre Dame football program, including travel to the South Bend Marriott the night before the Blue-Gold Fantasy Football Game to take part in pregame meetings, meals and fellowship. A portion of the proceeds from the Notre Dame Football Fantasy Camp will benefit the Notre Dame Monogram Club.

11. Two University of Notre Dame men’s lacrosse players were selected during the 2010 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft at Yale University. Goalie Scott Rodgers was taken by the Toronto Nationals with the first pick in the second round (seventh overall selection), while Grant Krebs, a midfielder, went in the eighth round (45th overall pick) to the Boston Cannons. Rodgers (Wantagh, N.Y.) recently was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NCAA Championship as he helped Notre Dame reach the title game of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The fifth-year senior made 53 saves (13.25 per game) and surrendered just 23 goals (5.75 per game) during the four games of the tournament. Rodgers concluded the 2010 campaign ranked first nationally in save percentage (.605) and third in goals-against average (7.56). The two-time All-America honoree finished his stellar Notre Dame career with a 24-6 record to go along with a 6.77 goals-against average and a .642 save percentage. Krebs (Annapolis, Md.) tallied 24 goals during the 2010 campaign. That marked the third straight season that Krebs had scored at least 20 goals. He finished his Notre Dame career with 105 points on 82 goals and 23 assists. Krebs, an All-America selection during his junior and senior seasons, played in 62 career games, including 50 starts, with the Fighting Irish. Rodgers and Krebs were with the Irish in Tokyo during their team’s Japan tour when they learned of their selections.

12. The BIG EAST Conference today announced the 24 winners of the 2009-10 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards, which recognize academic and athletic achievement as well as community service. The Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Awards are given to one student-athlete in each BIG EAST sport based on academic credentials, athletic accolades or performances and volunteer service to the community. Student-athletes who attained junior academic standing and a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.00 are eligible. The winners are chosen by the BIG EAST Faculty Athletics Representative Council. Previously announced was Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis in men’s basketball (he was honored at the BIG EAST Championships in March at Madison Square Garden). Other Notre Dame student-athletes on the list today were Sarah Keithley in rowing and Tyler Davis in men’s tennis. Of the 24 winners, three each came from Notre Dame, Connecticut and Louisville.

Monday, June 14, 2010

1. Former longtime University of Notre Dame football radio play-by-play voice Tony Roberts is one of 16 names on the 2010 ballot for the National Radio Hall of Fame. There are four candidates each in the categories of National-Active, Local or Regional-Active, Local or Regional-Pioneer, and National-Pioneer. Roberts joins Barry Farber (ABC national syndication after stints on WINS, WOR and WMCA in New York), Music and the Spoken Word (featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and the WLS National Barn Dance (debuted in 1924 and introduced country music to the masses) in the National-Pioneer category. Roberts handled play by play for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts on Westwood One from 1980 through 2005. He also did play-by-play work for Indiana University, Navy and the Washington Senators and has done a wide variety of other major sports events. National on-line balloting begins today and runs through Aug. 1 and is open to the public at www.radiohof.org . The 16 nominees were selected by the 24-member steering committee of the Hall of Fame. That committee will meet Aug. 4 to ratify the voting and select the inductees. Inductions will be held Nov. 6 in Chicago – with Westwood One producing a two-hour broadcast at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

2. University of Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly and his wife, Paqui, have made a $250,000 gift to the University in support of endeavors in research, academics and community engagement. The benefaction will directly support three Notre Dame initiatives — cancer research, the Hesburgh Libraries and the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC).

“Paqui and I have decided to partner with the Notre Dame Annual Fund and make this gift to the University in support of some of the programs that are important to us on a personal level,” Coach Kelly said. “It reflects our commitment to seeing Notre Dame succeed, on and off the gridiron.”

In the area of cancer research — the fight against breast cancer is a deeply personal cause for the Kelly family — the gift will benefit the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute, set to open this summer in Notre Dame’s new Harper Hall. The institute will bring together scientists from Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend to collaborate to advance basic and clinical research as it pertains to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. The gift also will provide financial support for the Hesburgh Libraries, which consist of the main Hesburgh Library and 11 subject branches across campus. The funding will enable senior library personnel to identify and purchase the learning and teaching materials most in demand by Notre Dame scholars.

At the RCLC, the gift will underwrite innovative tutoring, violence-prevention, youth entrepreneurship and performing arts projects for adults and children in South Bend’s Northeast Neighborhood. Sponsored by Notre Dame in partnership with local residents, the RCLC serves an estimated 500 youths and adults each week, in addition to another 8,000 children annually through its outreach programs.In conjunction with the gift, Coach Kelly is launching the “Coach Kelly Challenge,” an effort that aims to encourage all members of the Notre Dame family to offer financial support to the University through one of its annual giving programs: the Notre Dame Annual Fund, the MBA and Law School annual funds, and the Rockne Heritage Fund.

“I am proud to be the caretaker of the Notre Dame football program because of the uniqueness of the Notre Dame mission; a faith-based education with excellence in academics, athletics and service,” Coach Kelly said in issuing the challenge. “Notre Dame is changing the world through great discoveries in research, by educating the leaders of tomorrow and by improving our local communities. I ask you to join me in supporting Notre Dame to show your own passion for what matters to you.”

Coach Kelly has set an initial challenge goal of 2,500 new or renewed donors to Notre Dame in time for the Sept. 4 football season opener against Purdue. All donors who respond to the challenge will receive a signature Kelly green Notre Dame monogram lapel pin. Coach Kelly’s gift, as well as all those which support this challenge, will be included in the $1.5 billion “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign. Concluding on June 30, 2011, the campaign is the largest such endeavor in the history of Catholic higher education. For more information or to step up to the challenge, please visit http://coachkellychallenge.nd.edu .

3. For the fifth time in seven years, and the seventh time overall, a Notre Dame women’s basketball player will compete for the United States on the international stage, as incoming freshman guard Kayla McBride (Erie, Pa.) was named to the final 12-member United States U18 National Team, it was announced Sunday afternoon by USA Basketball. McBride also will be the second incoming Fighting Irish cager in as many years to put on the Stars & Stripes, following in the footsteps of rising sophomore guard Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind.), who struck gold last August in Thailand as a co-captain with the USA U19 World Championship Team, earning her third gold medal in as many summers while playing for USA Basketball. McBride made this year’s U18 National Team following six days of intensive trials from June 8-13 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she competed with 26 other players ages 18-and-under (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992). McBride will remain in Colorado Springs for the next two weeks with the rest of Team USA, as it continues training for the eight-team FIBA U18 Americas Championship for Women, which will take place June 23-27 at the USOTC in Colorado Springs. The top four finishers at the tournament will qualify for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Chile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

1. How’s this for a complicated travelogue? This one belongs to recently-graduated Note Dame senior lacrosse goaltender Scott Rodgers:
— Monday, May 31: Rodgers and his Irish teammates play Duke in the NCAA championship game
— Wednesday, June 2: Rodgers and his team leave for a nine-day tour of Japan
— Monday, June 7: Rodgers learns he is a first-round draft pick of the MLL Toronto Nationals while he and his teammates are touring shrines and temples in Kamakura, Japan (actually the draft was held on Sunday in the United States)
Thursday, June 10: Rodgers and his teammates return from Tokyo to New York
Saturday, June 12: Rodgers makes his professional debut with the Nationals, making 19 saves (14 in the first half) and allowing six goals in a 10-9 home loss to Chesapeake

2. Wondering what the preseason magazines are saying about prospects for Brian Kelly’s first Notre Dame football season in 2010?
Here’s what four of them currently on the newsstands are suggesting:

— Wide receiver Michael Floyd joins Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor and Penn State’s Evan Royster on the cover of the national edition
— Unit rankings put Notre Dame’s receivers fourth
— Floyd is a second-team All-American and tight end Kyle Rudolph is a third-team pick
— In rankings of the best coaching jobs in the country, Notre Dame ranks 12th
— Notre Dame in 2010 ranks 26th
— Notre Dame’s incoming recruiting class is rated 19th
— In terms of fantasy football, Floyd ranks 15th overall, Rudolph is 75th, Dayne Crist is 84th. Crist is 21st among QBs, Floyd second among WRs, Rudolph second among TEs. The fantasy mock draft has Floyd 13th, Crist 37th.

Sporting News
— One Midwest edition has Floyd and Kelly on the cover
— Floyd is ranked 21st on the list of the top 25 players nationally
— Rudolph is a first-team All-American, Floyd a second-teamer

— One Midwest edition has Floyd on the cover and he is listed as one of a dozen Heisman candidates
— The Nov. 27 Notre Dame-USC game is listed 10th among the top 12 non-conference games
— Notre Dame is rated 49th
— Floyd and Rudolph are first-team All-Americans and both are #1 in position rankings
— Manti Te’o is rated 12th among inside linebackers
— Notre Dame’s receivers are ranked #1 and Irish linebackers are ranked #10
— Notre Dame’s recruiting class is rated 14th
— In terms of fantasy football, Crist is ninth among QBs, Floyd #1 among WRs, Rudolph #2 among TEs

Phil Steele
— Notre Dame is projected to play Virginia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl
— Rudolph is a first-team All-American, Floyd a second-team pick
— Crist ranks 44th among QBs, Armando Allen 22nd among RBs, Floyd fourth among WRs, Rudolph first among TEs, Duval Kamara 32nd among WRs, Dan Wenger 16th among centers, Chris Stewart eighth and Trevor Robinson 23rd among OGs, Kapron Lewis-Moore 28th and Kerry Neal 60th among DEs, Ian Williams 16th and Ethan Johnson 25th among DTs, Brian Smith 13th and Darius Fleming 19th among OLBs, Robert Blanton 35th and Darrin Walls 72nd among CBs, Harrison Smith 11th among SSs
— Unit rankings have Irish 20th in RBs, seventh in receivers, 18th among LBs, 27th among special teams
— Notre Dame stands third on list of most improved teams for 2010 and fourth on list of surprise teams for 2010
— Notre Dame is rated 16th
— Notre Dame’s incoming freshmen are rated 15th
— Notre Dame’s schedule is rated 17th most difficult

3. Former Notre Dame athletics director Dick Rosenthal was honored Friday by 150 friends and family at Purcell Pavilion at the dedication of the Rosenthal Atrium (the new southern entrance between Gates 8 and 10). Here’s what took place:
— Former Notre Dame president Rev. Monk Malloy, C.S.C., performed the formal dedication.
— There were lots of former administrators on hand, including Phil Faccenda (general counsel), Joe O’Brien (associate athletics director), Mike DeCicco (academic services), Tom Kelly (associate athletics director) and Brian Boulac (assistant athletics director).
— There were plenty of Irish coaches on hand, many of them hired by Rosenthal – Debbie Brown, Tim Welsh, Jay Louderback, Bob Bayliss, Caiming Xie, Muffet McGraw and Tom Hanlon (former golf). Also on hand was current athletics director Jack Swarbrick.
— Speaking on behalf of the Irish coaches was Brown who said she would be “forever greatful for the opportunity you gave me to be here. You did all you could to make more opportunities for women athletes at Notre Dame.”
— Brown talked about winning her first match at Notre Dame against Purdue (Notre Dame’s first volleyball win over Purdue) and the first person she saw after the match was Rosenthal who was maybe more excited than she was. Brown also talked about Louderback coming for his interview and not having dress shoes, so he borrowed a pair from Bayliss that was a size and a half too small.
— There were 13 donors for the project and seven were honored in person Friday – Roy Beck, Duke Downey, Jack Hickey, Jerry Hammes, Old National Bank Foundation, Virginia Schneider (LaCrosse Footwear) and the Cressy Foundation.
— Don Cressy spoke on behalf of the benefactors and talked about how Rosenthal lived across the street from the Cressys and was playing in the NBA while Don was playing basketball at St. Joseph High School. Cressy also mentioned Rosenthal giving him two box seats to a Notre Dame-UCLA football game in 1964 when Don was trying to impress his girlfriend Pat in what Don called “the greatest recruiting effort ever at Notre Dame.” Cressy, who developed University Park Mall in Mishawaka, talked about how Rosenthal made decisions on loans based on trust and character as opposed to financial wherewithal.
— Rosenthal recalled receiving a note from Brown after her interview in which she said her first hope had been to be selected volleyball coach at Stanford but after interviewing at Notre Dame her first hope became Notre Dame.
— St. Louis product Rosenthal recalled being recruited by Ed Hickey, basketball coach at St. Louis University, who told him, “If you go up there (to Notre Dame), you’ll wind up living in that hick town.”
— A handful of Rosenthal teammates attended, including best friend Jack “Junior” Stephens.
— Said Rosenthal: “This is the most memorable day I’ve ever had. I’m embarrassed by it but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”

4. Former Irish men’s basketball coach Digger Phelps had successful prostate cancer surgery last Tuesday in Seattle.

5. Former Notre Dame basketball standout Monty Williams has been named head coach of the NBA New Orleans Hornets. Williams spent the last five seasons as a Portland Trail Blazers assistant and also coached a year in San Antonio. He played 10 seasons in the NBA after being selected in the first round of the ’94 NBA draft. He averaged 22.4 points and 8.4 rebounds as a senior at Notre Dame in 1993-94 after missing two full seasons with a heart issue.

6. Here’s what Irish offensive lineman Chris Stewart said in a recent interview in the Houston Chronicle on Irish football prospects: “I’m very optimistic. Coach Kelly is an intense individual. It’s been crazy how much things have changed, from the training table to the time we get out of practice. Game room. It’s been very pro-player.”

7. Jack Tate, who founded men’s lacrosse as a Notre Dame club sport back in 1963, died of a heart attack last Monday at LaGuardia Airport in New York. He recently had been in Baltimore to watch the Irish in the NCAA men’s lacrosse finals.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Notre Dame contingent enjoyed its final bountiful buffet breakfast this morning at the Tokyo Prince, with all sorts of fish, miso soup and other Japanese options, in addition to more western choices like sausage, bacon, pancakes and delightful pastries.

The larger group flying Delta to New York left the hotel via bus at 10:30 a.m. The smaller group headed to Chicago carved out two more hours of shopping in the Ginza district, taking a quick, two-stop, 170-yen subway ride. Ginza featured a row of the largest department stores in Japan, plus recent favorite Uniqlo (and an outlet at the Narita airport) – and even an adidas store that sold “Impossible Is Nothing” shirts in Japanese.

Everybody had their own favorite food finds during the trip. Some of those included tasty, hot cinnamon pastries for 100 yen each in the Daimon subway stop; the huge bowl of ramen noodles with spicy bean sprouts in the Narita airport; rice with curry beef stew and an egg on top; and Brendan Moore’s sampling of cooked pigeon eggs during his Japanese home stay.

By 7:30 p.m. EDT the Irish group that flew through Chicago had arrived on campus – and the nine-day, six-game (and six-victory) Notre Dame Oriental lacrosse sojourn had officially come to a close.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another early morning trip – this time involving sumo wrestling – provided one of the highlights of the trip today. The Irish men’s lacrosse players and coaches left the hotel at 6:30 a.m. and took the subway to view about 45 minutes worth of practice involving a stable of some 16 wrestlers. The matches began and ended with lightning quickness, as the combatants fire out at each other with overwhelming force. Irish goalie Scott Rodgers might come the closest of the current Irish to filling the bill in terms of heft, but as one of his teammates offered, “He’s just a puppy compared to those guys.”

With the lacrosse competition concluded, the Irish enjoyed the rest of the day on their own touring around Tokyo – then gathered for dinner at Roti, a Roppongi brasserie. Joining the Irish group were a handful of Notre Dame alumni from Tokyo as well as a number of Japan Lacrosse Association representatives.

The Notre Dame contingent heads home on Thursday, with one flight to New York leaving mid-afternoon and a second flight to Chicago featuring a smaller group of coaches, family and staffers leaving a few hours later.

Just in case you’d like to consider a foreign trip to Japan for lacrosse, the person to contact is JLA director Yusuke Sasaki (YusukeSa@aol.com).

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It was back to the lacrosse field today with something of a “back to the future” theme, as the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team won three games against Japanese college squads — with most of the Irish graduated seniors watching in street clothes.

The Irish took a half-hour bus ride to a massive 10-field complex anchored by the Ota City Baseball Stadium (where a baseball tournament was going on at the same time) on a cloudy, 69-degree afternoon. The lacrosse games were held at a soccer-rugby stadium with artificial turf. Seniors other than goaltender Brendan Moore (he was needed because Colt Power was sick and Scott Rodgers did not dress) watched from the stands. All games were played with orange balls.

In the 1:00 p.m. game against maroon-helmeted Waseda (four 15-minute running time periods), Notre Dame prevailed 11-1, with John Kemp playing the first half and Moore the second in goal. The Irish led 3-1 after one period, 6-1 at half and 7-1 after three periods. Ryan Foley had two goals, as did Patrick Maloney – and Colin Igoe, Steve Murphy, David Earl, Nick Beattie, Taylor Tripucka, Mike Rogers and Max Pfeifer added single goals.

After a 15-minute break, the Irish took on orange-helmeted Hosei and prevailed in that one 12-0 (two 20-miute running time halves), as Igoe notched three goals, Beattie and Sean Rogers two each (also scoring were Zach Brenneman, Patrick Maloney, Ty Kimball, Foley and Andy Will). Kemp and Moore again split the time in the cage. All the games featured two young ladies on the Japanese sideline holding signs with numbers for plays and calling out the strategy.

After another 10-minute break, Notre Dame responded to its toughest assignment of the day by overcoming a 3-1 halftime deficit to defeat Keio (white jerseys, blue and red helmets) 7-3. With three members of the national team on the roster, Keio dominated the opening half. But the Irish scored the only six goals of the second half – as Kimball, Mike Rogers, Igoe, Brenneman, Tripucka and Pfeifer accounted for the scoring (Foley had the only first-half score for Notre Dame). Kemp and Moore again combined in goal.

Once the three games had ended a massive trading session ensued, with the Japanese players willing to trade shirts, pennies, shorts and jackets for anything that said Notre Dame.

Back in the hotel lobby, Irish coach Kevin Corrigan held an impromptu coaching roundtable with a handful of the Japanese coaches. The Irish squad concluded the evening with a pasta dinner at a restaurant adjacent to the hotel.

The Irish contingent didn’t stay for the end of the baseball game Monday night, but woke to find a record-breaking performance has been witnessed. Chibe tied a Pacific League record with 10 straight hits in the 10-run inning that broke up a tight ballgame and enabled Chibe to defeat the homestanding Yakult Swallows 14-2 in front of a very vocal crowd of 16,551 fans. Tae-Kyun Kim had the grand-slam home run that cinched the verdict and Sabuso Omura had a solo home run. Chibe remains in first place (34-20-1) in the Pacific League, while the Swallows are in last place (15-34-2) in the Central League.

About 25 members of the Notre Dame group left the hotel at 6:15 this morning to see the Tokyo fish market. Though the even-earlier-in the-morning fish auction has been scaled back in terms of access to visitors, market spectators were able to wander amidst all sorts of fish and hundreds of vendors in the hectic market scene.

Monday, June 7, 2010

After two straight days of games, the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team returned to the Japan cultural scene today in Tokyo, with a long day that included sightseeing, shopping and baseball.

First, the Irish contingent boarded its bus at 8 a.m. and took the hour-long ride to Kamakura, south of Tokyo and hard by the Pacific Ocean shoreline. The first stop was the Great Buddha, as it’s known, or more properly the Amita-Buddha-Daibutso. It was cast in 1252, stands 13.35 meters high and weighs 121 tons. It cost 20 yen to enter the Buddha, which sits on serene, peaceful grounds surrounded by trees. Next, the Irish walked down the street and up the hill to see the Hase-Dera Temple, which offered a beautiful overhead view of the coastline. There were several places where visitors could purchase wooden votives and write their own messages on the back to leave behind. At the shrine to Bentendo, the goddess of feminine beauty, Sean Rogers posted a votive that read “Lacrosse Makes Friends,” the theme of the week from the Japanese Lacrosse Association, and signed his name. Finally, the bus headed to downtown Kamakura where the squad spent more than two hours wandering the town and having lunch.

After the hour-long trip back to town, the bus parked in the Shibuya area that qualifies as the Rodeo Drive of Tokyo. After two more hours of exploring, the Irish group walked 15 minutes to Jingu Stadium and caught a few innings of the Tokyo Yacult Swallows baseball game against the Chibe Lotte Marine squad. The atmosphere was lively, to say the least, particular because of a huge contingent of crazy loud Chibe fans. Both sets of outfield bleachers were packed with the most vocal fans in the facility. They continually jumped up and down and did wild cheers, especially when their teams made plays. A grand-slam home run by Chibe carried the day. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame players and coaches enjoyed noodles and rice and sausages (and even KFC) at the game, then took the subway five stops back to their Tokyo Prince home.

There were a handful of leftover anecdotes from Irish player home stays with the Japanese players:
— Trever Sipperly stayed in a home with 13 people and ended up taking a team photo with all of them when he left.
— The mother in the home where Max Pfeifer stayed teaches English, so she invited her students to come by and practice with Max.
— Jake Marmul and his Japanese player dropped a younger daughter off at school and the Japanese girl proceeded to parade Jake around the school to show him off.
— Nick Beattie’s host family thought the Irish attackman, who has longish hair, needed a hair dryer. Since no one in the family spoke English, one family member drew a picture of a hair dryer to see if he wanted one to use – he didn’t.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team rolled out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first 15 minutes, then held on thanks mostly to its defense to edge the Japanese National team 7-6 this afternoon in the nightcap of the International Friendship Games at the Edogawa City Stadium in front of more than 6,000 spectators. In the first game the Loyola (Md.) women’s team defeated Japan 13-10.

Japan’s star attack Mikisuke Sekine (he had five goals against the Irish Saturday in their “friendly” preview match) opened the scoring with a goal a minute in. But the Irish bounced back with four straight tallies – by Nick Beattie, Neal Hicks, Ty Kimball and then Ryan Foley for a 4-1 advantage that Notre Dame never relinquished. Mikisuke added a second goal, then a third by Wataru Tsugu, before Zach Brenneman scored for the Irish with a minute left in the opening half (the teams played four periods of 20 minutes running time each) to make it 5-3 at half. Beattie’s second goal took it to 6-3 for the Irish before a second goal by Wataru made it 6-4. Japan’s Jun Motoshita cut the margin to 6-5 on a man-up conversion with eight minutes left, before Kimball’s second goal for the Irish took it to 7-5 with 5:30 on the clock. Japan’s Shinya Maruyama accounted for the final goal with 12 seconds to go. Scott Rodgers played all the way in goal for Notre Dame.

The stadium featured a carnival atmosphere, with food vendors offering all sorts of Japanese favorites (noodles all the way to hot dogs). There was World Series-like bunting all over the stadium on a mostly sunny 75-degree day. Signage on the field featured Toyota, Konica Minolta and several other sponsors in Japanese. A lacrosse festival featured a variety of lacrosse vendors selling equipment and gear to the mostly youthful crowd.

There was a full band present for the lengthy opening ceremonies at noon that featured a handful of speeches with all four teams on the field standing behind their team placards. By the end of the day, trading of gear meant there were lots of Japanese sporting Irish wear and many of the Irish players wearing Japanese lacrosse items. Local newspaper Asahi Shimbum presented plaques to both American teams prior to the contest. Both national anthems were played. A group of young girls in blue shorts and crazy outfits made all sorts of noise and sing-songy cheers every time the Japan women’s team scored. The Japanese players bowed to the officials as they were introduced. After both games the two coaches were interviewed with live microphones, with translations provided. The games both were taped for television broadcast.

Said Irish coach Kevin Corrigan after the game, “You should be very proud of your Japanese team. They play hard and smart and they should do well at the World Championship in July. This has been a fantastic experience for our players – the people have been so gracious and so helpful. I’d like to thank all the fans who came out today as well as all those who played a part in hosting these games. It’s been wonderful and we look forward to spending a few more days experiencing your country.” Said Japan coach Yoshihiro Okubo, “Notre Dame has a really good defense and we had trouble breaking through.”

The two American teams finished the evening sharing pizza at an outdoor restaurant adjacent to their Tokyo Prince Hotel.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This morning brought plenty of overnight anecdotes from the various home stays by the Notre Dame players and coaches in the homes of the Japanese players. Assistant coach Brian Fisher and his wife Lauren and trainer Mandy Merritt stayed in the vacant Roppongi apartment belonging to German-born Formula Nippon/Super GT driver Andre Lotterer who is racing in Paris for Audi Team Sports Joest. Meanwhile, one Irish player spent the evening with a Japanese player who spoke no English at all (a Japanese phrase book helped), another had a heavy-duty commute to today’s game involving six different trains – and a third made a stop Friday evening at a hot mineral springs.

Everyone met at 10 this morning at Rinkai Field for the first of two games in overcast but pleasant conditions. With graduated seniors on the sidelines, the young Irish took on the Japanese Under-20 team and emerged with a 12-2 victory. The home team wore yellow jerseys that said ’09 East Youth. The game was played on, essentially, a dirt field of volcanic rock – with baseball and soccer games happening on adjacent fields and a ferris wheel nearby. The teams played two 20-minute running time halves (with orange balls), with Colt Power playing in goal in the first half and John Kemp in the second. Nick Beattie and Sean Rogers had two goals each, Eric Keppeler and Max Pfeifer a pair each – and Ryan Foley had three. Andy Will accounted for a single goal. The Japan goals came from Fukazawa and Sone. After the game, the Japanese team did a one-two-three cheer and lifted Irish coach Kevin Corrigan into the air three times. The teams took a joint team photo after the game.

After a quick lunch of Subway turkey sandwiches and Lipton iced tea in cartons, the Irish took a short bus ride over to Edogawa City Track & Field Stadium for a 1 p.m. game against the Japanese National squad. By afternoon it was warm and sunny. The Japanese wore nifty black jerseys with white numbers and royal blue trim, with white shorts and blue helmets. This second game was played on a grass field and involved four 20-minute periods of running time. Huge signs on the far side of the field read “Smarten Up! Be Stronger, Be Tougher, Than Ever!” in both English and Japanese. Four officials, including one female, handled the contest. Most of the seniors returned to action this afternoon.

This time senior Brendan Moore played the first half in goal, with Power handling the third period and Kemp the fourth. The Irish led 3-2 after one period, 5-4 at half, 9-6 after three periods and ended up winning 13-8. Notre Dame won it with three goals from Foley, two each from Zach Brenneman, Rogers, Beattie, Steve Murphy, plus single tallies by Neal Hicks and Pat Cotter.

After the contest the coaching staff and players returned to Rinkai Field for a one-hour clinic for 100 college freshmen. Then it was back to host family homes for a second evening for the Irish players. On Sunday, the Irish again take on the Japanese National team in the International Friendship Games – with opening ceremonies set for noon at the same Edogawa Stadium where at least 7,000 fans are expected to attend. The Loyola women’s team plays at 1 p.m., followed by the Irish at 3 p.m.

Japan has some 20,000 individuals playing lacrosse at the college level, but no youth programs and only a handful of private high school programs.

Friday, June 4, 2010

After a bountiful buffet breakfast (both Western options and traditional Japanese elements) at the hotel, the Notre Dame traveling party spent a day of Japanese culture immersion.

First, the Irish headed to Tower Hall Funabori in Edogawa where they spent the afternoon learning about calligraphy and tea ceremonies. After a quick lunch of sandwiches and lemon iced tea (after everybody took off their shoes), half the team headed to calligraphy class – with the players sitting in three rows with paper and ink in front of them. With Keiichi Takei providing the instruction with a staff of six, the Irish learned to spell out the word Nippon in Japanese characters. The bamboo brushes – some thick, some slender – are key to the process since the brushstroke is critical to the result. The Notre Dame group practiced on rice paper (smooth on the front side, rough on the back), before putting a final version on a heavier piece of souvenir art board. The calligraphers were presented special Notre Dame alumni medallions for their help – and they helped the Irish players add their own names to their boards.

Next came the tradition-rich tea ceremony, with the green tea (and the Japanese sweets that came with it) standing for harmony, tranquility, purity and respect. The group received instruction on specifics of picking up and positioning the tea bowl and how to drink it with the bowl decoration facing the right direction. After you are finished drinking, you use your fingers to wipe the bowl where you drank out of it, then you shift the bowl so the decoration faces out – then you show “appreciation” to the tea bowl. Instruction came from the Edogawa International Friendship Society (check out photos at http://home.cilas.net/~c241371/).

Next the team headed to Edogawa City for a welcome reception, also involving the Loyola (Md.) women’s team that also is participating in the Friendship Games. The mayor of Edogawa City spoke, as did a representative of the Japanese emperor, along with Japan Lacrosse Association president Hiroshi Kimura, and coaches of both the Notre Dame and Loyola teams.

Following the reception, members of the Notre Dame team headed out by train on an individual basis to stay with players and families of the JLA. Several players traveled as many as two hours on the subway to reach their host family homes. Notre Dame players brought their own gifts for host families, as well as the alumni medallions and some Notre Dame lacrosse hats for use at the games themselves.

Among those on the trip from South Bend is Linda O’Leary, whose late husband Rich formerly was both the club and first varsity head men’s lacrosse coach for the Irish. Rich passed away last July.

A longtime Japan resident is former Irish goaltender Rob Simpson. Irish coach Kevin Corrigan and his family stayed with Simpson on Friday night.

Next up on Saturday are games with the Japan Under-20 team as well as one with the Japanese National squad.

And one leftover from Thursday – Irish goaltender Scott Rodgers, who definitely qualifies as outsized in Japan, ran into a couple of sumo wrestlers wearing their robes in a Roppongi club. The Sumo experts thought Rodgers might be a candidate for their area of expertise.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

With the 13-hour time difference from South Bend to Tokyo, the Notre Dame contingent lost half a day on the 12-hour flight from Chicago to Japan. The American flight from Chicago (15 people) arrived about 3:20 p.m. Tokyo time, and almost two hours later the flight from New York (47 people) landed. The two buses headed toward midtown Tokyo as the sun went down on a sunny, 75-degree day – with sights seen out the bus windows ranging from traditional rice paddies to the Tokyo Disney Resort. The delegation from New York was slightly delayed because freshman Bobby Smith’s bag was temporarily headed on a crate to the Philippines before it was intercepted at the Narita Airport. Two lacrosse sticks remained in New York but will arrive in another day. Matt Ciambella is dealing with missing passport issues and will arrive in a few days. Juniors Tom Connor and Ryan Alexander missed the trip because they are starting summer internships.

After checking in at the Tokyo Price, the Irish delegation headed to a open-air welcome reception at Gonpachi, a traditional Japanese eatery in the Roppongi district. The event was sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of Tokyo, with president Bill Moran making welcoming remarks. The Irish party enjoyed a variety of sushi and other traditional Japanese fare. It was safe to say some level of exhaustion set in, with the group having been up for more than 24 hours straight by the time the Irish returned to the hotel.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It’s not even 48 hours after Notre Dame’s appearance in the NCAA men’s lacrosse championship game – and the Irish men’s team is headed for Tokyo.

Most of the players remained on the East Coast after the Monday title game in Baltimore – and then flew to Tokyo at midday today via Delta from New York’s JFK Airport. A small contingent of players, coaches, administrators and families left on an American flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The Irish party will headquarter at the Tokyo Prince Hotel. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Notre Dame players will stay at the homes of their Japanese counterparts. On Saturday the Irish will play the Japan Under-20 team as well as the Japanese National team. On Sunday, the Irish will take part in the International Friendship Games, again taking on the Japanese National squad. Then, on Tuesday, Notre Dame will play two games against local university teams. The Irish lacrosse groups returns to the United States June 10.