Oct. 13, 2005
The University of Notre Dame’s record seven winners of the Heisman Trophy are now honored at Gate B of Notre Dame Stadium, as part of a multi-year plan to theme the five entrance gates to Notre Dame’s home football facility. These additions – and future enhancements to the other stadium gates – are funded by the Notre Dame Monogram Club, the University’s letterwinner organzization that includes more than 3,500 dues-paying members.
Three-by-eight foot replica Heisman Trophies have been added as part of the Gate B display, where pictures of all seven Irish Heisman winners were placed earlier this fall.
There are plans to theme the remaining entry gates at the Stadium — with the intention of creating specific recognition of Notre Dame’s national championships, its All-Americans, its national championship coaches, and its member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The first gate to be completed is the Heisman-themed Gate B.
The honoring of Notre Dame’s Heisman Trophy winners takes the form of seven individual panels installed within existing brick niches of the old stadium wall just inside Gate B. There is one display each for Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Leon Hart, John Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown.
The panels are displayed in chronological order, and they hang in the stadium’s brick niches 20 feet above the concourse. The displays were designed by Rockwell Group of New York and fabricated by Show Motion Inc. of Connecticut. The work was accomplished with the cooperation of the Downtown Athletic Club and the Heisman Trophy Trust.
Each display consists of a three-by-eight-foot aluminum panel, powder-coated in Notre Dame blue and serving as a background for holding an oversized, three-foot-tall replica of the Heisman Trophy.
The Heisman replicas are finished in bronze, cantilevered off of the blue aluminum panels and sculpted from an original Heisman Trophy. The blue panel also features each Heisman Trophy winner’s name and year of award in three-dimensional Notre Dame gold letters, as well as the official Notre Dame interlocking ND logo as a stencil cut out at the top of the panel.
Said David Wilbourne, principal of Rockwell Group, “Notre Dame Stadium is hallowed ground in the landscape of college football, and no other university has as many Heisman Trophy winners as Notre Dame. So our goal was to integrate the honoring of these seven outstanding individuals with the architecture of the Stadium itself.
“The existing brick niches of the old stadium served as perfect frames for the seven Heisman displays and, as they are high above the concourse, we designed the Heisman Trophy replicas to be three feet tall so that they were bigger than life, like the Notre Dame men that they honor.
“Since the Heisman Trophy is one of the most recognized trophies in sports and Notre Dame players have been awarded it seven times, we thought it was appropriate to not only feature the names of the players but also the trophy itself, scaled appropriately for their exterior location, and to integrate the displays into the architecture of the Stadium.”
The Notre Dame Monogram Club is comprised of some 3,500 individuals who have earned the University’s varsity athletic insignia for their athletic or team support endeavors or who have been honorary monogram recipients. The club supports the primary goal of the University: the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of its students and alumni. By providing its members the opportunity to foster and maintain relationships across different sports, generations and geographical locations, the Monogram Club aspires to contribute — through the common bond of sport — to the social and professional enrichment of its members while providing a means for ongoing association with the University. As an integral part of the Notre Dame family, the Monogram Club endeavors to uphold and enrich the great tradition of Notre Dame athletics.
One of the organization’s primary functions continues to be providing aid to children of Monogram Club members to attend Notre Dame, through the Brennan-Boland-Riehle Scholarship Fund. The fund is named in honor of Joe Boland, Rev. Thomas Brennan, C.S.C., and Rev. James Riehle, C.S.C. Monogram Club members donate to the fund and the University handles the principal funds, with interest providing scholarship money. The fund has grown to approximately $3 million, making it one of Notre Dame’s largest endowments. Since the fund’s inception in 1979, there have been 131 recipients whose combined scholarship allocations are nearly $2 million — including 45 sons and daughters of Monogram Club members who attended Notre Dame in 2004-05.