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    Coach Kelly's Post-Practice Comments - 8.31.11

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    Notre News - 8.31.11

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    jackswarbrick.jpg USA Today - It has been speculated that the Big 12 would look to Notre Dame as its replacement for Texas A&M should the Aggies, as expected, leave the conference.

    Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick wants the school to stay as an independent in football.

    But even though Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick is friends with Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, that doesn't mean his school ready to give up football independence.

    "Our priority - and our clear priority - is maintaining our football independence and continuing to build our relationship with the Big East with our other sports," Swarbrick told the Austin American-Statesman.

    Notre Dame and Texas are have a four-game series scheduled to start in 2015 and include dates in 2016, 2019 and 2020. It will be the first time the schools have met since 1996. But don't expect to see them playing as conference opponents any time soon.

    "I don't know if it would ever be an annual game, but we do want to play more games with Texas and play them in more sports," Swarbrick said. "Both schools are committed to athletic programs that have excellence."

    When the Big Ten announced its plans to explore expansion in December of 2009, Notre Dame was an obvious candidate. Swarbrick says that experience led him to put little weight into what was being reported by the media.

    "One thing I can tell you from what I know last year," Swarbrick said, "almost none of the speculation was accurate."

    Teach Me How To Celtic Chant

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    Notre News - 8.30.11

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    Don't Count Clausen Out Yet

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    helmetclausen.jpgCharlotte Observer - Sometimes it is easy to forget Jimmy Clausen is still around.

    It was only a year ago that Clausen was the rookie quarterback that Carolina Panther fans were excited about in the preseason. Now he has been elbowed out of the way by "Cam Mania" and serves as the Panthers' No. 2 quarterback, both literally and figuratively, to rookie Cam Newton.

    Newton grabs every headline. Every picture. Every TV clip. Our newspaper is as guilty as anyone - I'm as guilty as anyone - of writing about him incessantly. Somehow we missed working Cam into our Hurricane Irene coverage.

    Yet Clausen hasn't gone anywhere. He will likely play a good bit in the Panthers' final exhibition against Pittsburgh Thursday night since his injured leg has started to heal.

    Clausen hasn't had a bad preseason, either. He has a completion percentage 18 points higher than Newton's in the three exhibitions (58.6 to 40.4) and a quarterback rating 15 points higher (72.9 to 57.8). Unnoticed by almost everyone, he is actually doing a few things better than he did last year.

    Clausen thought for a few moments last Thursday night, though, that he might have suffered a severe injury when he got hit in the pocket.

    "I got rolled up on," he said. "I had a thigh bruise, and my knee buckled a little bit. I thought it was a lot worse than it was. It just kind of scared me, to be honest."

    He has been throwing the ball decently in practice the past two days, though. Said coach Ron Rivera Monday of Clausen: "He had the banged-up leg the other day. He got a few reps today and looked pretty good actually. We expect - if Jimmy gets the go-ahead to play - to play him."

    Clausen has kept his head down amid the Cam-fest and concentrated on small signs of progress.

    "Each and every day," Clausen said, "I'm trying to keep getting quicker on my reads and my drops."

    He went 1-9 as a starter in 2010, becoming the symbol of a lost Panthers season. He was battered, jittery and the leader of the NFL's worst offense. Thrown into a situation not of his making, he tried his best but could do nothing to fix it.

    Clausen started the first exhibition this season - throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown but also a TD pass - and has given way to Newton for the past two starts. It's clear the Panthers want Newton to be their regular-season starter in 2011, and given the rookie's big-play capability, I agree with that.

    Give Clausen some credit, though, for doing what he should and preparing like he could play at any minute. Because he might.

    Given the way Newton likes to run with the ball, along with the size and speed of the NFL defenders chasing him, Clausen will undoubtedly get in some real games in 2011.

    Panthers owner Jerry Richardson recently told my Observer colleague Tom Sorensen that he nicknamed Clausen "Doughboy" last season owing to Clausen's physique. Clausen looks less doughy and seems a little calmer in the pocket, although he remains prone to throwing to his safety valve too early.

    The second-year quarterback from Notre Dame has his limitations, to be sure. And if Clausen plays Thursday night - Rivera hasn't announced how long Newton will play, but I'd guess not much more than the first quarter - we will see them again.

    Clausen is not as good as Panthers fans hoped he would be when he became the team's second-round draft pick in 2010, but he's also not as bad as he seemed last season.

    He remains an important part of the Panthers, which is part of the reason Rivera was screaming at some of the offensive line reserves after the play in Cincinnati where Clausen was hurt. So his mild improvement needs to be noted. The backup quarterback will be needed this season.

    Because while Newton is very photogenic, he is far from superhuman.

    5599876.jpegNotre Dame football great Jack Snow ('65) has been respected in many ways.

    During his playing days on the gridiron, he was known by fans and teammates as one of the greatest wide receivers in school history. The Heisman Trophy voters recognized him in 1964, as he finished fifth in the voting after his senior season behind teammate John Huarte. Snow then played professionally for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams from 1965 to 1975.

    Today, Snow is being remembered for another reason. Following his death in January 2006, it was his daughter, Stephanie Snow Gebel, who attempted to find a way to honor her father.

    She decided to create the Jack and J.T. Snow Fund in early 2011 - named after her father and brother - just a few months after her five-year old daughter, Raquel, was diagnosed with Wolfram Syndrome.

    "My father had passed, and I wanted to honor him in some way," Gebel said. "Three weeks after my daughter was diagnosed with Wolfram Syndrome, I met with researchers who were recently denied a grant, which meant there was no money to hold clinics. This is when God told me, 'O.K. kid, here is your chance.' "

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    That would be head baseball coach Mik Aoki, who was spotted fishing the St. Joseph River on Monday morning by South Bend Tribune photographer Santiago Flores.

    Te'o Has First-Round Potential But Dreams Bigger

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    Chicago Sun-Times - Anyone worrying about Manti Te'o becoming distracted by his NFL future heading into his junior season at Notre Dame underestimates the tao of Te'o.

    The All-American candidate doesn't sit around dreaming about the NFL.

    His dreams are bigger than that.

    "Ever since I was young I understood the whole meaning of life isn't how much money you can accumulate, how much fame you experience, it's how many lives you touch, how many faces you bring smiles to," the linebacker said when asked how he envisions himself in 20 years. "I see myself back in Hawaii doing something in the community to improve the lives of young children. Everything I've done is to prepare myself to give back."

    Notre Dame lacks depth at all the offensive skill positions and is so thin at running back that a pair of freshmen can expect meaningful carries. Converted running back Theo Riddick is still learning how to play receiver. The offense is led by Dayne Crist, who has suffered two major knee injuries the past two seasons.

    There are no such concerns for a defense that should rank among the nation's best. The heart of that unit is Te'o. The 6-foot-2, 255- pounder is projected as a high first-round draft pick should he chose to go pro after this season, yet when he talks about making an impact, it has nothing to do with the team-high 133 tackles he made last season.

    "Being a leader," he said, when asked how he can improve. "Being that constant force out there, that guy that no matter what's happening on the field or going on on the sidelines, my teammates can turn to me and I can pick them up. I just want to be that guy they can trust and just try and have an influence on them they haven't had. What I'm trying to say is, I want to have an impact on them beyond football."

    Eight defensive players who started at least eight games last season return. Those players have gained confidence playing in defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's system. It's an athletic group with standouts along the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary, where Harrison Smith returns after making 93 tackles and intercepting seven passes.

    "He's clearly, from our standpoint, our best linebacker," Kelly said. "Now how we compare him to everybody else in the country, we don't spend that much time doing that. I'll let you guys do that. We look at him as a very, very integral part as to what we're doing defensively. He hasn't disappointed any day in terms of how he comes out to practice, his leadership, whether he's having a bad day or not. It never affects the other guys on the field. He just has all those qualities you're looking for."

    The better Te'o and the Irish do this season the more he may be tempted to follow Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen to the NFL. Either way, he'll handle that the same way he made the decision to come to Notre Dame. A devout Mormon, Te'o prays and waits for a sign from above.

    "I love football," he said. "There's no doubt about that but I know life is more than football. Football will provide me with the means to give back. The amount of revenue I get from football and the amount of attention I get from football will hopefully provide me with the stage so people can know what I do -- not for me. I don't want the spotlight for me, but so they'll be influenced to do something like that, to touch somebody else."

    Te'o will never forget the day he and his father spotted a homeless man begging for money by a stoplight in his hometown of Laie. He asked his father why some people were so poor they had to beg. His father said something he'll never forgot: "People like that are here to find out whether or not we'll help."

    From that moment, what Te'o has wanted most, even more than an NFL career, is to help others.

    "People know Hawaii for the tropical beaches but if you go on one side of the island, where I'm from, those beaches are filled with homeless families," he said. "When I leave college and hopefully the connections I make and the education I receive can help guide me through the possibilities and different routes I can go to to have the greatest impact on people."

    What Makes Notre Dame Special

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    Chicago Tribune - In Golden Tate's final two seasons at Notre Dame (2008-09), the Seattle Seahawks receiver caught 110 passes for 1,983 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 18 yards per catch.

    "Man, I honestly try not to think about it because it's almost bittersweet. Every day life, it's not like every other college, it's almost like a fantasy world.

    "What I remembered the most was just on game days, man - from the time you got off the bus to go to the basilica until the night when you leave the stadium, it's just something I don't think anyone can really experience unless you're at Notre Dame. Waking up, eating breakfast, going to the basilica, getting you some Jesus in your life, walking probably half a mile to the stadium with tons and tons and tons of people wearing my jersey and The Shirt and just cheering. Finally getting to the stadium and then you go out to warmup and you can see Touchdown Jesus, you can see what you see in "Rudy." You want to respect and represent the university and the tradition they have every time you stepped foot on the field.

    "It never got old. It never got old. Every single game we played when I was there, it was sold out. Every time I'd walk from the basilica to the stadium, you got that tingle in your body. You wanted to play right now, because you have people flying and driving from all over the country, coming to see the Irish play. Some people, it'd be their first time they'd never forget. I always thought about it like that."

    CCHA Catches Up With Joe Rogers

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    Hear It From Hicks

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    Football fans have grown accustomed to the rich voice of NBC's Tom Hammond calling the shots from the Notre Dame pressbox. With Hammond covering the World Track and Field Championships in South Korea, his replacement for the first Irish home game will be Dan Hicks (@DanHicksNBC).

    Hicks wore the headset for one of the most memorable calls in Summer Olympics history when the U.S. 4x100 free relay squad rallied from behind to capture the gold medal in Beijing.

    The action gets good around the 5:00 and the money sound bite comes at 5:42 - when Hicks loses all objectivity and says, "Who's talking now?!"

    One can only wonder what he'll come up with when Notre Dame scores its first touchdown of the 2011 campaign.

    Classic. Almost Gus Johnson-esque.

    South Sudan Welcomes Playing for Peace

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    Irish UNDerground checks in with Kevin Dugan from the world's newest nation - South Sudan.

    Juba, South Sudan - Amid the dusty dirt roads of Juba, South Sudan, there is an echoing message of unity, peace and joy being delivered. The message is coming from all angles; via the national newspapers, television, radio and believe it or not, mobile DJs driving through the streets. All channels of communication are spreading the good news, whether the media platform is South Sudan TV or via Land Cruisers equipped with generators and audio systems to communicate to the thousands of internally displaced people in temporary housing throughout Juba.

    The message: Come out and support South Sudan basketball through Notre Dame's Playing for Peace basketball initiative that has arrived in South Sudan, the world's newest nation.

    The initiative, started by the Notre Dame men's lacrosse and men's basketball teams has been taken to South Sudan by Kevin Dugan, manager of youth and community programs for the Notre Dame athletics department. Dugan is on location in South Sudan for 10 days of international sports development work. South Sudan just received its independence and now faces an incredible challenge of nation building while uniting a region of the world that is heavily divided among tribal and ethnic lines.

    Following independence, Dugan began consulting with Catholic Relief Services, the South Sudan Basketball Federation (SSBF) and the South Sudan Demobilization and Demilitarization and Reintegration Commission (SSDDRC) on how to best execute the event. On the ground there has been an incredible collaboration between the community, church and government partners to turn the Playing for Peace Championships into a powerful and symbolic event in South Sudan.

    It has been an exciting and hectic week for Dugan; he has had an emerging world experience in sports marketing that has proved to be invaluable.

    "Pulling this event together with the local community has been pure inspiration. People here in South Sudan have so much hope in the future of their new nation, but along with that, there is an absolute incredible atmosphere of excitement surrounding the future of basketball in this country," said Dugan. "It has been a crazy week of non-stop event planning, meetings and interviews. I've been flying around the streets of Juba on the back of a motorcycle from government offices, to the South Sudan TV station, to the radio station to the print shop to meet with NGOs to basketball practice."

    There is no wonder Playing for Peace is getting so much attention right now (the championship game will be broadcast on South Sudan TV.) It brings together the two things that people in South Sudan love to talk about right now, peace and basketball.

    "The grassroots effort of basketball players, the church, government officials and the media has been incredible," said Dugan. "This event is going to be a perfect example of the way sports can be used as a form of social and human development in the emerging world."

    A few brief notes on Dugan's visit to East Africa:

    - Sports and peace building: Dugan has been working with SSDDRC to work on a sports program to aid in the reintegration of former SPLA Child Soldiers. Sports are an incredible emotional release and outlet for these children. Dugan has been working with SSDDRC staff to share the fundamentals of the successful "Take 10" program that is run through the Robinson Center as well as the Play Like A Champion educational program run out the Institute for Educational Initiatives. The biggest problem for the SSDDRC is former child combatants with idle time on their hands, when these kids have nothing to do they tend to find trouble or try to rejoin the army. The SSDDRC would love to see these kids spending their free time on the soccer pitch or the basketball courts.

    - Commitment to women's sports: Upon achieving independence, the first new initiative of the SSBF was to formalize a women's basketball program. Dugan has been joining with SSBF officials to run the first ever girls' basketball clinics in South Sudan and the Playing for Peace basketball championship will feature a women's basketball exhibition game.

    - Working with the global church: While South Sudan is the world's newest nation, the Catholic University of South Sudan is the world's newest university. Dugan will be speaking at the mass of the Holy Spirit to kick start the new school year at the CUOSS. He is also working with Brother Jorge Fayad to organize the first ever sports day at the university. The Catholic University of South Sudan Sports Day will run parallel to the Playing for Peace Championships and create a sports festival atmosphere in Juba this Saturday.

    - African History in Uganda: Prior to travelling to South Sudan, Dugan spent two weeks in Uganda were his Fields of Growth organization orchestrated the first ever lacrosse national championships on African soil. In an event that was featured on national radio, in the newspapers and on East African TV, the Kampala Panthers of the Uganda Lacrosse Union took home the victory in the first annual King's Cup.

    - Much has already been done, but the main event took place August 27 at the Juba 1 Basketball Court. The Playing for Peace Championships will take the spirit of last December's event at Notre Dame to the front lines of Juba, South Sudan. There was a six-team tournament and championship, youth basketball clinic, women's exhibition game, slam dunk contest, three-point contest, traditional dancers, DJ and a message of peace and unity through sports.

    Gold Members

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    Samardzija Ready for Fresh Start With Cubs

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    jeffz.jpgNBC Sports - Before we kick off an actual game week, our friends at Comcast Sportsnet in Chicago had a good update on former Irish wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, looking for a fresh start with the Cubs after general manager Jim Hendry was relieved of his duties after nine years at the helm of a team looking for its first World Series in 103 years.

    If Samardzija's track record of performances after major firings is any indicator, the Cubs might be ready for a breakout season from a pitcher that walked away from a football career when the Cubs offered him a guaranteed five-year, ten million dollar contract.

    More from Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com:

    Jeff Samardzija thought back to the fallout at Notre Dame after Charlie Weis replaced Tyrone Willingham. Now someone else will be deciding on those club options for 2012 and 2013, and judging whether he might be built for the rotation.

    "We're all playing for a tryout right now," Samardzija said. "We don't know who the new GM is going to be. We don't know what's going to happen next year. But we're all playing for whoever the new guy's going to be.

    "We want to play hard and we want to play every game like it's the most important game of the season from here on out. Because I'm sure whoever it is - whoever's getting close to be (the guy) - is watching right now and really keeping a close eye on this team."

    After only two full seasons in the minors, Samardzija made his first appearance in the big leagues in 2008 as a 23-year old, and after spending time between the farm and the show the past few years, he's spent all of 2011 in the majors, putting together a good season out of the bullpen.

    Still, Irish fans can't help but wonder what might have been if Samardzija chose football after an All-American career that saw the Shark score an incredible 27 touchdowns in his final two seasons after Charlie Weis took over for Tyrone Willingham.

    Looking back at the 2006 draft class, Santonio Holmes was the first wide receiver taken, going 25th to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Interestingly enough, the next receiver taken was by Charlie Weis' old team, when the New England Patriots took Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson in the second round. (He's yet to score a professional touchdown.) Other first day picks (at least, back before they messed up the draft) were Sinorice Moss from Miami, Greg Jennings from Western Michigan, and Travis Wilson out of Oklahoma, Derek Hagan out of Arizona State, Brandon Williams from Wisconsin, Maurice Stovall out of Notre Dame and Willie Reid from Florida State.

    It's tough to know when Samardzija would've gone without seeing what he'd have run in the forty, but looking at the production from this group, only Holmes and Jennings have truly distinguished themselves in the NFL, and you've got to think that Shark's hands and the way he could go up and get a ball would have him making a pretty good living on Sundays as well.

    If You're Not Pumped Up After Watching This ...

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    ... then you must be cheering for the wrong team.

    Notre News - 8.29.11

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    Notre Dame Is An NFL Factory

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    Business Insider - It might come as a small surprise, but no school had more players in the NFL last season than University of Miami. But when it comes to the all-time mark, Miami still has a ways to go before they catch the Fighting Irish.

    According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Notre Dame has produced the most NFL players all-time with 503. Only one other school (Southern California, 438) has more than 400. Meanwhile, Miami is tied for 10th with 272 players reaching the highest level.

    In 2010, Notre Dame was tied for 15th with 24 players in the NFL.

    Here is a look at the schools that have sent the most players to the NFL (all-time) ...

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    A Tie-Dye Cupcake Can Change the World

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    Huffington Post - When Lindsay Brown, a junior at the University of Notre Dame, decided to host a bake sale in her dorm last year to fundraise for girls' education at the Kopila Valley Children's School, she had no idea that she was launching a movement. But her success, raising $900 with her soccer teammates to sponsor three girls in Nepal, did just that. Bake sale fundraisers are nothing new, of course ... until you throw some food coloring into the mix.

    Lindsay's change-the-world cupcakes are tie-dyed, which we found at She's the First makes them utterly irresistible. She's the First is a non-profit that partners with the most underserved but impactful schools in the developing world and empowers American youth to creatively fundraise for girls' sponsorships. We focus on girls because of the 130 million youth who are out of school around the globe, 70 percent of them are girls. The girls we sponsor are typically the first in their families to graduate primary or secondary school.

    When Lindsay shared her cupcake story and photos on our blog, other students started asking for the recipe... before long, these cupcakes were popping up everywhere, even in YouTube videos.

    She's the First now declares November 1-8, 2011 a Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off, raising a call to action for 200+ high schools and colleges to host their own tie-dye bake sales to sponsor girls' education with us. You can see the bake sale sign-ups start to sprinkle our Google Map at shesthefirst.org/cupcakes.

    The story of the first tie-dye cupcake fundraiser for She's the First isn't over yet -- it gets even sweeter. This summer, Lindsay received a grant from Notre Dame to travel to Nepal, to meet the students she had sponsored with cupcakes. She also wanted to create an all-girls soccer team that would be "an extension of the classroom," as she says, and teach them leadership, self-confidence, and assertiveness. I'm so proud of her project, because at She's the First, when we choose sponsorship programs to partner with, we look for those that have extracurricular activities such as sports. The mentorship inherent in athletics or the arts is one of the most effective ways to prevent a girl from falling into the traps of pregnancy or early marriage, which would get in the way of her graduation.

    Lindsay documented her trip on Tumblr, and although it's hard to beat her final post -- announcing that the girls won their first soccer game 5-0! -- my favorite post was hands-down about the birthdays of Nisha and Sunju.

    Little did we know, but Lindsay had packed baking supplies along with her soccer balls, and she taught the Kopila Valley kids how to make the very same tie-dye cupcakes that sponsored their education. For them, it satisfied more than their sweet tooth. She blogged: "our two friends who are pilots for the world food programme are pretty much the only people in surkhet with a working oven so we drove over to their house to bake the cupcakes. it was a really big deal for the girls, they've only been in a car a few times(i even had to show them how to open the door) and when i asked if they had ever used an oven before they said they've only seen one in a movie!"

    Lindsay Brown, the Kopila Valley children and the 24-year-old founder of their home and school, Maggie Doyne, have the kind of intertwined story that I feel like I would see in a movie, too. But these real-life stories are actually all around us -- and She's the First pulls them together in one place. You can become the next chapter.

    "Like" her video to help her earn a spot at the Google Zeitgeist Americas 2011, where she'll take a series of master classes and meet some of the world's most powerful players and greatest minds. Because when a girl starts changing the world with cupcakes when she's 20, you have no idea what's next.

    Encourage the young women in your life to sign up to host a tie-dye cupcake bake sale at their school, too: shesthefirst.org/cupcakes. I know there are many more Lindsay Brown's out there, and each one of them also has a girl -- or three! -- on the other side of the world whom she can impact.

    Let's show the world what a cupcake is really made of.

    Live Chat - Volleyball vs. Butler

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    Notre Dame eyes a clean sweep of the Shamrock Invitational at 1:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday during its home meeting with Butler.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Live Chat - Women's Soccer at Duke

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    After a hard-fought 2-1 overtime loss at North Carolina Friday night, the Irish women's soccer team looks to get back on the winning track today with a 1:00 p.m. (ET) contest at Duke.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.


    Live Chat - Men's Soccer vs. Indiana

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    Notre Dame will open its 35th season of varsity soccer when the Fighting Irish play host to instate rival Indiana on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Kickoff between the ninth-ranked Irish and the No. 15 Hoosiers is slated for 7:30 p.m. (ET). Get interactive with Irish UNDerground and voice your opinion during today's live chat.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Live Chat - Volleyball vs. Idaho

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    Day two of the Shamrock Invitational pits Notre Dame against Idaho Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. (ET). Notre Dame won its season-opening game last night against Eastern Michigan, 3-1. Get interactive with Irish UNDerground and voice your opinion during today's live chat.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Our Team, Our Story - First Day of Classes

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    When Did Ringo Starr Begin To Slick Back His Hair?

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    Live Chat - Women's Soccer at North Carolina

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    It'll be Goliath vs. Goliath when Notre Dame and North Carolina take to the pitch Friday evening in Chapel Hill. Two of the most dominating college programs in the women's soccer world go head-to-head at 7:00 p.m. (ET).

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Live Chat - Volleyball vs. Eastern Michigan

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    Friday marks the season opener for Notre Dame when the volleyball squad faces Eastern Michigan at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on the first day of the Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion. Get interactive with Irish UNDerground and voice your opinion during today's live chat.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Tickets ... Tickets ... Who Needs Tickets?

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    A limited number of tickets for Notre Dame's home football game versus South Florida on Sept. 3 at Notre Dame Stadium will go on sale to the public at 8:30 a.m. (ET) on Monday (Aug. 29) through the Notre Dame Athletics Ticket Office.

    The sale is a result of South Florida returning a portion of its ticket allotment and a small quantity of tickets remaining from the annual Notre Dame student sale. Tickets are contiguous; limits and availability are to be determined.

    In addition, very limited quantities of tickets remain on sale for the 2011 Irish home games against Navy (Oct. 29) and Boston College (Nov. 19).

    Tickets are $70 each for South Florida and Navy and $80 each for Boston College. Purchases can be made at the Notre Dame Ticket Office located at the Purcell Pavilion, by calling 574.631.7356 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or by visiting und.com/tickets. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Service charges will apply.

    Also, be the first to know about football ticket releases and other special offers and deals. Follow @NDtix on Twitter and get the latest updates directly from the Notre Dame Ticket Office.

    Following Flynt - Peanuts, Popcorn, Cold Drinks

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    Hot Dog.jpgFrom pregame tailgates and Knights of Columbus steak sandwiches to post-game candlelight dinners and family outings to Rocco's (or Bruno's, or Barnaby's, or Polito's ... whichever you prefer), Notre Dame fall Saturdays are almost as much about food as they are about football.

    For those fans whose Notre Dame weekends are not complete without at least one of the aforementioned dining experiences, the game usually provides a break from the Thanksgiving-like feasting that goes on each week. Save the occasional pretzel, popcorn or soda, those four hours when the Irish are on the field offer some recovery time before the next meal.

    In May, however, the University announced a partnership that may change your food gameplan for football Saturdays. (side note: Six of my friends and I did a marketing project about tailgating last season. I know how much effort many of you put into creating your menu and planning your tailgate. From what I saw, and tasted, your time was well spent.) 

    Centerplate, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, will take over food services operations in Notre Dame Stadium and other campus athletic venues. With these delicious additions to the stadium menu, it might take some extra self-discipline to pass up on a halftime trip to the concession stand. The company has approximately 250 North American sports, entertainment and convention venue clients and the company has provided food services for 12 Super Bowls, 20 World Series and more than 100 bowl games. 

    Here in Indiana, the company has worked with the Indianapolis Colts and Lucas Oil Stadium, the host site for Super Bowl XLVI (2012). In years past, non-profit groups have worked in many of the stadium concession areas. A great example of the University's commitment to the community, the Centerplate partnership will continue to provide volunteer organizations with an opportunity to raise money.

    Among the improvements to Notre Dame Stadium's concession stand offerings will be prime rib and grilled chicken breast sandwiches, Irish and barbeque nachos, South Bend Chocolate Company creations and a variety of other new food and drink options. These and many other options will make their debut in Notre Dame Stadium soon, so take a pass on that brat at your tailgate and try something new when you see the Irish in action this season.

    - Josh Flynt

    Caption Contest

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    Where da gold at?!?


    NBC, Eurosport Extend Notre Dame T.V. Rights Deal

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    cheer.jpgNBC Sports and the Eurosport group have extended their international television rights agreement for exclusive broadcast rights to 2011 and 2012 Notre Dame Football home games across Europe and Asia.

    Beginning with Notre Dame's first game of the season against South Florida on Sept. 3, all Notre Dame Football home games will be broadcast throughout Europe exclusively on Eurosport 2. In addition, Eurosport has the exclusive TV rights in the 15 countries where Eurosport Asia Pacific is distributed.

    Eurosport's continued cooperation with NBC Sports enables viewers to enjoy premium sports events across Europe. Eurosport and NBC Sports have a longstanding partnership initiated by agreements with Apparent Gravity Media in 2006.

    Q&A With Debbie Brown

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    Volleyball head coach Debbie Brown recently took a few minutes to answer a few questions with Irish UNDerground. Brown and the Irish start the 2011 season this weekend (Aug. 26-28) while playing host to the Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.

    --

    What does being a coach at Notre Dame mean to you?

    In coaching at Notre Dame, the number one priority for me is to offer a great experience to our student-athletes.

    That certainly is going to include winning and doing well on the court, as well as in the classroom. We want to be a nationally competitive program, and that is certainly the core of my philosophy. I need to be sensitive to the academic demands here at the University. That being said, we're confident that our student-athletes are going to be prepared for anything beyond college, have great job offers or multiple choices for graduate school. I want them to be able to look back on their time here and say, "that was a great experience."

    Notre Dame offers so much in terms of campus life, spirituality, academic excellence and athletic traditions. It's truly a blessing to be able to work here and to be able to offer a great experience to our student-athletes.

    You've taken your teams to foreign countries and dozens of states. At each stop, you make it a point to visit a hospital, take in a Broadway show or attend a local sporting event, just to name a few activities. Why is this important to you?

    Taking in the culture of an area and experiencing everything it has to offer has always been something very important to me. Part of that stems from the fact that when I was younger, volleyball afforded me to travel the world as a player and see things not everyone has a chance to see.

    However, we didn't always have the opportunity to take in the sights and learn as much about them as I had wished. I understood that at times it was not possible given the nature of our trips, but you lose so much if you don't try to take advantage of those things. It's all part of the education. 

    Now, every time we travel we look for opportunities to do those things and expose our program to what the world has to offer. Even something like avoiding chain restaurants and eating at local spots are all a part of experiencing new things. But we never let the extracurricular activities take away from the competition aspect of the trip.

    abromaitis.usa.mug.jpg A member of the USA Men's Basketball Team, Tim Abromaitis checked in regularly with Irish UNDerground from the World University Games in Shenzen, China. Now back on campus, Abromaitis shares his final entry recapping a memorable summer with Team USA.

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    8.24.11 - Hello again America! I arrived back in South Bend last night around midnight after another long round of travel. I'm quickly getting reacquainted with the English language so I can refrain from writing this in Chinese and confusing all of my monolingual readers like I had planned. Hopefully that also means my quality of writing will be higher, which would be good timing for me with classes already starting back up at Notre Dame.

    My trip to Shenzhen was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and all of my teammates on Team USA. Unfortunately, the basketball part didn't turn out as well as we would have liked, as we ended up coming in fifth place in the tournament. We lost our quarterfinals game against Lithuania before winning our last two consolation games against Romania and Germany. Nothing seemed to go right for us in the game we lost, and my foul trouble certainly didn't help the cause. Fortunately, that game was followed by solid performances both personally and collectively in the two days after that. Overall, we ended up 7-1, which actually turned out to be the best record in the tournament.

    Personally, getting a chance to play for great coaches and with great teammates was something that will help me out immensely in my last year at Notre Dame. I was able to work on my game with and against some of the top players in college around the world, and picked up helpful tools in the process. Once I get over this jet lag, I'll be ready to go - I'm already anxious for the season to get here.

    I won't soon forget the unique features of China that I will never witness in the United States. Even though I think Americans are generally a friendly bunch, I don't think we'll ever be able to match the reception that we received in Shenzhen. By the end of the trip I had even received a letter to my room from a fan in the city that had paid extra to get it shipped into the athlete village area. It was on military love note stationary with a blushing military cartoon character on the front with "LOVE" cut into the side of the card. Unfortunately for me it was from someone named Tobey. It's amazing that even with five million women in the city the odds weren't on my side. However, Tobey did show me how to write my name in Chinese, which might take years of practice for me to actually memorize.

    I would be surprised if I have many more chances to make such a memorable trip in the future with any other team. I am extremely lucky to have been a part of such an amazing journey over the last month because of the fact that I can (sometimes) help my team make an inflated ball go through a metal rim. I really appreciate the opportunity given to me by USA Basketball, and the fact that everybody reading this followed me through the experience.

    Can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces in the stands at our games this year! Go Irish!

    --

    8.17.11 - Yo! No, Yao! What's up Irish fans? Back at it with another report from the spot where I landed when I finished digging my hole in the middle of South Bend - Shenzhen, China.

    A couple more good days here in the sweltering heat that Shenzhen experiences for the summer. We can't even walk 200 feet to the dining hall without breaking a sweat. That's one reason why I'm thankful we didn't have to go there tonight for dinner and made a trip to Pizza Hut instead.

    Another is the high quality food that the Pizza Hut had to offer. Instead of a typical American take-out Pizza Hut, this was a somewhat classy sit-down restaurant with food that made us feel right at home. I downed an appetizer sampler, seven slices of pizza, an ice cream dessert and four strawberry smoothies (thanks USA Basketball, sorry T-Ro (our strength coach (aka the DFG).

    My eating performance ranks right up there with our hot dog eating contest from earlier this summer.

    Kelly Speaks To the Media - 8.24.11

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    Notre Notes - 8.24.11

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    Irish Connection - 8.24.11

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    Irish Set for First Home Primetime Game In 21 Years

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    NBC Sports Group will air a combined 28 college football games on NBC and VERSUS this season, featuring No. 16 Notre Dame and top-ranked teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West and Ivy League conferences. The increased coverage includes a new live studio show out of 30 Rock for all games on both NBC and VERSUS; the first home primetime Notre Dame game in more than 20 years on NBC; new on-air commentators, including College Football Hall of Famer Doug Flutie; a quadruple-header featuring several ranked teams on November 12; and a new one-hour college football show on VERSUS on Monday nights this fall.

    Coverage begins on NBC when Notre Dame faces South Florida Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. (ET).

    NBC will air seven Notre Dame games this season, including the first Fighting Irish home primetime game in 21 years when they host No. 25 USC on Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

    VERSUS, to be re-branded the NBC Sports Network on January 2, will bring the look and feel of NBC Sports production to all its college football coverage and will feature other notable games this season.

    "Whether it's a Notre Dame, Mountain West, Pac-12 or Ivy League game and regardless of whether it airs on NBC or VERSUS, college football fans can expect coverage consistent with the NBC Sports brand," said Sam Flood, executive producer for NBC Sports and VERSUS.

    NBC will once again team play-by-play commentator Tom Hammond with analyst Mike Mayock and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan. NBC's Dan Hicks will handle play-by-play for the first Notre Dame game of the season while Hammond is covering the World Track and Field Championships from Daegu, South Korea.

    NBC Sports Group will air four games across all the college football properties it covers on Nov. 12. VERSUS will kick off the day with an Ivy League game featuring Penn at Harvard at noon (ET), immediately followed by a showdown between TCU at Boise State. NBC will then air Notre Dame as they host Maryland in primetime at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in an off-site home game from FedEx Field in Landover, Md. (the second primetime Notre Dame game of the season). VERSUS will end the quadruple-header with live coverage of a Pac-12 game at 10:30 p.m. (ET).

    Monday nights will see VERSUS introduce a new one-hour show titled College Football Talk with a large portion of the show devoted to Notre Dame Football news.

    For the second consecutive season, all of NBC's Notre Dame games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com. "Notre Dame Extra" will feature a simulcast of the broadcast feed in full HD quality plus one additional online-only bonus camera. The video player will include picture-in-picture capability and full DVR functionality, allowing the user to pause the live video and even review plays in "slo-mo."

    New features for this season include live in-game tweets from sideline reporter Alex Flanagan and a live in-game chat from Inside the Irish blogger Keith Arnold. Additionally, fans can also watch live coverage of the Notre Dame and visiting teams' bands at halftime, in-game highlights, as well as a live, online-only postgame footage that will include head coach Brian Kelly's press conference.

    iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can get complete NBC Sports coverage of the Notre Dame 2011 college football season with the Notre Dame Central apps. Users can get free, live access to every NBC Sports broadcast of Notre Dame football games. Plus, the app includes live scores, news, video highlights and much more. The iPhone and iPad updates for the 2011 season will be available prior to the Sept. 3 season opener against South Florida.

    Daily Dish - 8.24.11

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    - Powerful WLS-AM 890 in Chicago will continue as the radio home for the Notre Dame football and men's basketball games for the next three years ... the new agreement involves a collaboration between IMG College and Notre Dame Sports Properties - with IMG owning the Notre Dame football radio rights and NDSP running the Notre Dame men's basketball radio network ... IMG College has controlled Notre Dame's football radio rights since 2008 ... the agreement means WLS will carry all Notre Dame football games live, at least 25 Irish men's basketball games live plus any postseason contests, as well as the one-hour Jack Swarbrick Radio Show that airs Saturday mornings for 30 weeks from September to April ... the Notre Dame/WLS announcement is a continuation of a previous five-year relationship that has seen WLS carry Irish football and men's basketball contests in the Chicago market since 2006.

    - Season and individual tickets are now on sale for the upcoming Notre Dame volleyball campaign, as the Fighting Irish will take the court at Purcell Pavilion for 13 regular-season home contests ... Notre Dame, Saint Mary's and Holy Cross students receive free admission with a valid student ID ... Notre Dame faculty, staff and their immediate family also receive free admission for regular season matches with a current Notre Dame ID ... call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at 574.631.7356 or visit und.com/tickets for more information.

    - Fencer Courtney Hurley and her sister Kelley Hurley, a former fencer for the Irish, helped the United States women's epee team capture the silver medal at the World University Games ... the medal represents the second of the season in international competition for the Hurley's and the U.S. women's epee team ... the Hurley sisters also represented well in the individual epee draw, as each earned atop-16 finish ... three other Irish fencers also represented the United States at the Games, as Ariel DeSmet competed in men's foil, Hayley Reese competed in women's foil and Lian Osier took to the strip in women's sabre.

    - Kelcy Tefft has been named assistant coach for the women's tennis team ... Tefft returns to the school where she played her collegiate tennis after serving as assistant coach for two years with Tulsa ... Tefft enjoyed one of the most accomplished careers during her playing days at Notre Dame ... she finished her career as a two-time All-America selection, two-time NCAA Singles Championship participant, two-time NCAA Doubles Championship participant, 2007 ITA National Indoor doubles champion, 2009 ITA National and Midwest Region Senior Player of the Year and 2009 BIG EAST Player of the Year ... a native of Enid, Okla., Tefft earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and computer applications from Notre Dame in 2009.

    - The Brian Kelly Radio Show begins Sept. 1, and Notre Dame football fans can watch the show live on the Notre Dame campus or at und.com ... Kelly will appear at all 12 shows at Legends of Notre Dame on the campus, just south of Notre Dame Stadium ... the show will air from 7-8 p.m. (ET) ... audio outlets include WSBT 960 (South Bend), WXNT 1430 (Indianapolis), and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio ... hosted by Jack Nolan, the Brian Kelly Radio Show is a production of Notre Dame Sports Properties and Fighting Irish Digital Media.

    Seriously, Do These Videos Ever Get Old?

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    Answer: No.

    A Few New Faces On Campus

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    Dike Takes Long Road Back From Injury

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    MLSsoccer.com - When Bright Dike's Achilles tendon ruptured in a Portland Timbers preseason match against Ventura County in February, the MLS rookie forward entered uncharted territory.

    There's only so much a player can do to prepare for such a devastating injury, but Dike - who scored his first MLS goal in last Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City - had spent relatively little time on the trainers' table during his career. The preseason that started with such promise turned into a long and arduous road back to full health.

    "It's really tough," Dike said. "It's amazing how many things you have to work on. I wasn't able to walk. I had to learn to walk again. Learn to jump. Learn how to grasp the ground with my toes. Your whole leg, you have to retrain the movement."

    In 2010, Dike was the second-leading scorer on the then-USSF Division 2 Timbers with 10 tallies, but the injury sustained against Ventura County denied him a chance at an easy transition to MLS. He had surgery three days after sustaining the injury, and has been working his way back ever since.

    "It's a long process," said the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Dike, who is built like a running back but starred on the pitch rather than the gridiron at Notre Dame, leading the Big East Conference in scoring as a junior and senior. "And it keeps going. Even now, it's like I'm doing a preseason during the season. I'm doing extra running, extra touches, so many extra things after practices to get back to where I was and I can be."

    He made his Timbers debut in a July 7 friendly against Club America, a remarkably quick comeback from such an injury.

    "I think he has the potential to play at this level, it's just a matter of getting him back to full fitness," Timbers head coach John Spencer said. "He's a big, big strong boy. I don't think I've seen anybody strike the ball as hard as he does in my whole time in the game. So we feel he definitely has a bright future here, no pun intended. It was a big injury for a player like him with such explosive movement."

    The work paid off for Dike, albeit in a bad moment for the team, when he came on in the 66th minute against Sporting. In the 81st minute, Dike drove a shot past diving goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen after Rodney Wallace found him on a pass across the penalty box.

    "It was great to get that first goal," Dike said. "I really only enjoyed it for five seconds, and then it was back to try to pull some goals back. You know, hopefully there's more to come. And hopefully I can score some that will actually be more enjoyable. It feels good to be getting more and more playing time and getting my legs back."

    Dike is nowhere near full fitness but is a long way from the sobering moment when he questioned whether he'd ever play the game he loves again. He said soccer has been his life for so long that he can't imagine doing anything else.

    "For me, I've never been injured for more than a couple weeks," he said. "So for me to be out for months ... that's something that I've never even imagined about myself. I'm just ready to play."

    Daily Dish - 8.23.11

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    - Once the drama ended at noon today when Brian Kelly named Dayne Crist the starting Irish quarterback, Kelly took time to discuss several other items relative to his second Notre Dame season at the helm of the Irish squad: the Irish called off practice today, the first day of classes at the University ... tomorrow the squad begins its prep for South Florida ... the Irish finished off fall camp yesterday with an ice cream sundae bar after dinner ... "We have a starting quarterback, we have the health of our team and we have a great mindset." ... "Last year at this time I didn't really know Dayne. Some of those things take time. It's more about how he has matured in terms of understanding my expectations." ... Kelly held one-on-one meetings yesterday with the two quarterbacks to inform them of the decision ... "Tommy (Rees) will be prepared - he knows what he can do." ... DaVaris Daniels, Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III are all expected to play special-team roles, and Troy Niklas also is pushing for playing time ... Chris Watt will start ahead of Andrew Nuss at left guard, and Dan Fox will start ahead of Carlo Calabrese at inside linebacker ... there's no differentiation between the #3 and #4 quarterbacks, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson ... Kyle Brindza will handle kickoffs ... "You demand toughness and if you don't get it, the young man is going to know." ... "Cierre (Wood) is the featured guy (at running back), and Jonas (Gray) has a role - he'll give Cierre a blow. Jonas' role will be based on his production."

    - The USA Men's World University Games Basketball Team wrapped up play at the World University Games in Shenzen, China, as the U.S. squad posted an 86-83 victory over Germany to finish in fifth place ... Tim Abromaitis finished with three points and four rebounds in the tournament's final outing ... in the eight games overall, Abromaitis averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds as the U.S. squad finished with the tournament's best record and a 7-1 mark.

    - Three women's basketball players - Skylar Diggins, Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters - are among a group of 25 players who have been named to the 2011-12 preseason "Wade Watch" list for the State Farm Wade Trophy (given annually to the NCAA Division I Player of the Year), it was announced Tuesday by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA).

    - Ninth-ranked Notre Dame played No. 6 Creighton to a 2-2 draw in exhibition men's soccer action on Monday night in front of 2,444 fans at Alumni Stadium ... the Irish staged two comebacks as Brendan King and Aaron Maund both netted equalizers ... Notre Dame scored on its only two shot-on-goal attempts of the evening.

    - Aaron Maund and Dillon Powers have earned preseason All-America honors from Soccer America ... the duo is among 25 standouts that earned the recognition.

    Kelly Announces Starting Quarterback

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    Survey says: Dayne Crist.

    "I expect him to be the starter for 13 weeks." - Brian Kelly

    Huddle Takes the Long View

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    huddle.jpg ESPN.com - In winning the 5,000 meters at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June, Molly Huddle earned her first national title on the track -- and her first world championship team berth. But since that dominant performance in late June, Huddle hasn't been training. Instead, she has been resting an injured foot, unsure how fit she'll be when she toes the line next Wednesday, the day before her 27th birthday, at the worlds in Daegu, South Korea.

    Outwardly, Huddle seems unfazed, emanating a quiet confidence she's honed since she became a professional distance runner in 2007, when she graduated from the Notre Dame as a nine-time All American. A year ago, she broke the American record in the 5,000 by running 14:44.76 at a race in Belgium. The time bested Shalane Flanagan's previous record by .04 seconds -- an impressive feat, considering Flanagan is the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters. In a single season, Huddle took an astounding 32 seconds off of her best time in the event.

    Upon graduation, Huddle said she was "clueless" about the steps she'd have to take to become a professional runner. Had it not been for the guidance of her college coach, she imagines she would have taken her degree in biology and headed to medical school -- she even took the MCAT. Instead, Huddle connected with Ray Treacy, director of track and cross country operations at Providence College and coach of a handful of elite women runners, including Kim Smith, New Zealand's national record-holder in the marathon and half marathon. It wasn't long after Treacy and Huddle's initial meeting that Huddle was moving to Providence, despite the fact that her husband, Canadian middle-distance runner Kurt Benninger, trains in Bloomington with Team Indiana Elite.

    In June, Molly Huddle won the 5,000 at the U.S. championships by more than four seconds.

    Sweet Lou Speaks On USF

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    Notre News - 8.23.11

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    Caption Contest

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    hanzlik_lg.jpgNBA.com - With one honeymoon concluded, another was about to begin.

    Bill Hanzlik and his wife Mary Beth had just returned from Hawaii when he made a phone call to the basketball folks in Seattle. It was July 1992 - long before the age of internet access, e-mail and smart phones - and Hanzlik wanted to see if there was any news while he was on vacation.

    The secretary in the SuperSonics office told Hanzlik that the general manager needed to speak to him. A few moments later, he learned that he had been traded to Denver.

    As someone who firmly believes that things happen for a reason, Hanzlik was thrilled with the news. The Nuggets played an exciting style under coach Doug Moe, and it would be a homecoming for his wife, who grew up in Denver.

    "It was the perfect situation for me," Hanzlik said.

    Men's Soccer Plays Creighton To 2-2 Draw

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    11 Days Until Football's Season Opener

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    Eat Like a Champion Today

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    Centerplate, the largest hospitality partner to North America's premier sports stadiums, announced a series of new menu concepts, service enhancements and fan promotions for the upcoming football season. 
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    In partnership with Notre Dame, Centerplate has made a number of physical upgrades to the stadium to enhance its offerings and increase convenience. In addition to aesthetic improvements to service areas, including new menu boards and signage, the company increased the stadium's cooking capacity with the addition of new grill stands, carving stations and chef-attended action carts on the concourse. 

    Centerplate installed a new point-of-sale system, which will speed service and provide fans greater payment flexibility. 

    Centerplate's chefs have added menu variety with new concepts created specifically for the University such as Irish poppers, Irish nachos, barbecue nachos, burgers and sandwiches of the turkey, grilled chicken breast, prime rib, beef brisket and pork tenderloin varieties. Additional new offerings of chili, hand-made pretzels, foot-long hot dogs, personal pan pizzas, all-you-can-drink fountain drinks

    Centerplate has provided event hospitality services to 15 official U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls, 12 Super Bowls, 20 World Series and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

    For more information, visit centerplate.com.

    Rwanda Youth Day Unites Through Sport and Community

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    ND.edu - The University of Notre Dame hosted Rwanda Youth Day on campus last Friday, bringing more than 120 Rwandans from across the Midwest to campus for a day filled with sports, games and community building.

    dsc_0783_comp.jpg Presented by Notre Dame Athletics, the day started off with remarks from event organizers and a singing of the Rwandan National Anthem--then the games began. Even as storm clouds threatened, attendees played on, facing off in basketball, volleyball and soccer in what one event organizer believes to be the first time two Rwandan teams have faced off at any sport on American soil.

    The event served as an opportunity for Rwandans born in the United States to connect with other Rwandans.

    "Today is a day of Rwanda. When you live in a foreign country, it's not every day that we get to get together," said event organizer Alice Cyusa. "Playing soccer and basketball together, we are united."

    Preparations are already underway to plan next year's Rwanda Youth Day.

    "Sports can be a powerful way to nurture and develop young people while bringing people of all ages together to build community, " said Kevin Dugan, manager of Youth and Community Programs for Notre Dame Athletics. "That is the goal of our Rwandan Youth Day. It's a great opportunity to use the transformative power of sport to build community while also promoting unity among the Rwandan Diaspora here in the Midwest."

    The event is part of a new initiative, Irish Experience Programs, begun by Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. The program aims to use Notre Dame Athletics' key pillars to have a positive influence on young people and to impact the surrounding community.

    This fall, Athletics plans to start a free flag football league called the Irish Experience League, which will be held at the Martin Luther King Center on South Bend's wes tside in conjunction with St. Augustine Parish and the Robinson Community Learning Center.

    For more information about these programs, contact Kevin Dugan at kdugan1@nd.edu.

    Daily Dish - 8.22.11

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    Weekly Sports Schedule - 8.22-8.28

    - As the preseason football rankings continue to roll out, Notre Dame was recently ranked 16th in the Associated Press poll released Saturday morning ... it marked the highest preseason ranking for the Irish in the AP poll since 2006 when they opened No. 2 ... in fact, Notre Dame has not been ranked higher in an AP poll since Dec. 9, 2006, when it was No. 11 .. just over two weeks ago, Notre Dame was ranked No. 18 in the 2011 USA Today preseason coaches' poll .. it marked the 18th time in the last 25 seasons that the Irish have been ranked in the AP preseason balloting, with all but two of those appearances coming in the top 20 ... Notre Dame has appeared in 50 of the possible 62 AP preseason polls dating back to 1950 (the advent of the preseason AP poll), which ranks fourth best all-time ... Ohio State (58), Oklahoma (53) and USC (51) are the only schools with more preseason appearances ... in all, the Irish have appeared in 713 of the possible 1,022 AP polls dating back to the inaugural poll in 1936 ... only the Buckeyes (786) and Michigan (761) have more appearances.

    - Where do a few former Irish football players rank on the Sports Illustrated Fantasy Football 2011 (postlockout edition) draft board? For starters, RB Ryan Grant is 69th and is TE Anthony Fasano 181st ... by position, Jimmy Clausen is 48th among QBs, Grant 28th among RBs, and Fasano 23rd and Kyle Rudolph 36th among TEs ... Rudolph led the Vikings in receiving with three catches for 22 yards in Minnesota's 20-7 preseason win over Seattle over the weekend.

    - Former Irish assistant football coach Paul Shoults died last night in suburban South Bend ... he was the Notre Dame secondary coach for 13 seasons from 1964-76, working under Ara Parseghian for 11 years and under Dan Devine for two ... he was 85 when he died.

    - With play-by-play veteran Tom Hammond and producer Rob Hyland working the World Track and Field Championship in Korea, their slots for the Sept. 3 Notre Dame vs. South Florida football opener on NBC Sports will be filled, respectively, by Dan Hicks and Tommy Roy.

    - Notre Dame athletics youth programming director Kevin Dugan and his Fields of Growth lacrosse program recently were featured in an article in Uganda's Daily Monitor.

    - Former Irish football player Marvin Russell has authored and self-published a new book titled "Linebacker in the Boardroom." Look for an excerpt in a Notre Dame football game program this fall.

    - A story Saturday in the St. Petersburg Times about South Florida football coach Skip Holtz says his father Lou was offered the day off by ESPN to attend the Sept. 3 game at Notre Dame Stadium - but Lou declined "citing the helplessness he feels watching his son's games."

    - The men's soccer team will hold its annual match to benefit Grassroot Soccer today when the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish take to the Alumni Stadium pitch against No. 6 Creighton ... the exhibition showdown is slated for 7:00 p.m. (ET) ... admission to the game is $1 and further donations are welcome ... Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is an international non-governmental organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities against the spread of HIV ... GRS has a special connection to Notre Dame soccer as Dr. Tommy Clark, the eldest son of Irish head coach Bobby Clark, founded the organization ... this marks the eighth season that the Fighting Irish have held a match to benefit GRS.

    - The Irish baseball team will host its annual Alumni Weekend from Sept. 2-3 at Frank Eck Stadium ... the two-day event is highlighted by Saturday's Alumni game.

    - Seen taking swings in the Notre Dame baseball batting cages over the weekend: future MLB Hall of Famer Craig Biggio (his son, Conor, is an Irish freshman).

    - Sarah Dalton has been named an assistant coach for the women's lacrosse program ... Dalton spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for William & Mary under the direction of current Irish head coach Christine Halfpenny ... over her two-year stint at William & Mary, Dalton helped guide the Tribe to two of the most productive seasons offensively in the program's history, as the team's points and goal totals ranked among the school's single-season top-10 lists in each of the two campaigns under her watch.


    Value of a College Football Scholarship

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    clausen.jpg"... Notre Dame football players will likely realize even greater value from their diplomas than other Top 25 schools simply because of the quality and branding associated with those schools."

    Forbes - Despite recent claims that college football players are "oppressed" and "undervalued" relative to the revenues they generate for their universities, I argue using "cost of attendance" and "projected earnings" data that the average "value" of a college football scholarship is in excess of $2 million for student-athletes who (1) play for one of the pre-season Top 25 schools and (2) would not have pursued a college degree if it weren't for their scholarship ...

    To read more of Patrick Rishe's article, click here.

    Notre News - 8.22.11

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    Football: Myth vs. reality | Has discipline been balanced? | Spond finding his footing
    Daniels brings depth | Talent, attitude converging at right time | Rees relishes QB debate
    New linemen run through first practice | An Irish Aaron | Bruton to hospital with head injury
    Koyack has Tight End U. look | Kelly addresses Miami scandal | Ex-Saint pushes for time
    Performance big recruiting factor | Fearsome freshmen | Irish 16th in AP preseason poll
    Still no answer at QB | Koyack 'Emerging' | McDaniel sees bigger picture
    Golson welcomes slow pace | Calabrese takes criticism to heart
    Special memories for Skip and LouHinton lets players coach | Toma still not satisfied
    Answering camp's questions | Perkins shines in season debut
    Where Riddick goes, thrills follow | #7 more than lucky for Tuitt | Golson starts at full speed
    Who has the edge at QB? | Frosh QB feeling comfortable | Golson turning heads
    First ranking since 2009 | Defense builds swagger | QB decision coming Tuesday
    Frosh ready to contribute | Starting QB announced Tuesday | Fleming hungry

    Men's Basketball: Abro helps U.S. to win | Abromaitis has strong game for U.S. 
    Balanced effort sparks Team USA over Romania | U.S. falls to Lithuania in quarters

    Women's Basketball: Irish trio leads US to win | Golden girls | Irish trio brings back gold
    Diggins leads U.S. past Australia | Diggins seeks another Final Four | Trio leads USA rout

    Hockey: Seniors want Frozen Four return

    Men's Lacrosse: Milone added to staff

    Women's Lacrosse: Dalton named assistant | Halfpenny settles in

    Baseball: Pirates sign Aaron Heilman

    Men's Soccer: Give to Grassroot Soccer | High expectations

    Women's Soccer: Irish shutout Wisconsin | Trio pushes for repeat

    Myth Busters

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    campus.jpgReporters from the South Bend Tribune interviewed Notre Dame officials to examine student conduct and admissions standards for students as a whole, and athletes in particular. The two stories published Sunday separate myth from reality in admissions and provide facts behind some changes in Notre Dame's student handbook, du Lac.

    Here are the links to the two articles:
    Admissions | Student Conduct

    Stepping Stones

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    "If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today." - Lou Holtz

    weber.summit.jpgLike all of Notre Dame's swimmers and divers, Mason Weber put in his fair share of workouts over the summer. However, a bit of his cardio came in the form of a stair climber known as Mount Kilimanjaro. Weber scaled the beast - a mere 19,341 feet above sea level - before heading back to South Bend for the start of classes on Tuesday.

    Swimming for a Cause

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    Swim 4 Freedom, an eight-mile fund-raising swim held annually on Lake Geneva (Wis.) with proceeds going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, recently raised $15,682 at its latest event to help provide full college educations to surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training and provide immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in combat.

    Former Irish swimmer Steele Whowell ('99) is the founder and organizer of Swim 4 Freedom.

    For more information on the event, please visit swim4freedom.org.

    Rivals.com Preseason All-America Teams

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    Rivals.com - Here's one preseason measure in which Alabama didn't have to settle for second place.

    Alabama, the No. 2 team in the Rivals.com preseason rankings, leads the way on our All-America team with six selections. No other school has more than four preseason All-Americans.

    Boise State, Notre Dame and Stanford have four selections each. Stanford and Alabama are the only schools with two first-team and two second-team picks.

    If Notre Dame will enjoy a return to the top of the football world, the Irish may be able to thank its core of three players listed on our second team.

    Manti Te'o and Harrison Smith anchor an Irish defense that allowed 39 points in the final four games. Michael Floyd gives the Irish a Biletnikoff frontrunner and one of the nation's elite offensive talents.

    First Team - Offense
    QB Andrew Luck, Stanford (6-4/235, Jr.)
    RB LaMichael James, Oregon (5-9/185, Jr.)
    RB Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (6-0/231, So.)
    WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (6-1/211, Jr.)
    WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (5-11/187, Sr.)
    WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (6-4/229, Jr.)
    T Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State (6-6/322, Sr.)
    G David DeCastro, Stanford (6-5/307, Jr.)
    C Peter Konz, Wisconsin (6-5/313, Jr.)
    G Ryan Miller, Colorado (6-8/310, Sr.)
    T Nate Potter, Boise State (6-6/300, Sr.)

    First Team - Defense
    E Brandon Jenkins, Florida State (6-3/265, Jr.)
    T Jared Crick, Nebraska (6-6/285, Sr.)
    E Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh (6-2/250, Sr.)
    LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State (6-3/252, Jr.)
    LB Lavonte David, Nebraska (6-1/220, Sr.)
    LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College (6-3/237, Jr.)
    LB Kenny Tate, Maryland (6-4/220, Sr.)
    CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (5-10/170, Jr.)
    CB Chase Minnifield, Virginia (6-0/185, Sr.)
    FS Robert Lester, Alabama (6-2/210, Jr.)
    SS Mark Barron, Alabama (6-2/218, Sr.)

    First Team - Special Teams
    K Blair Walsh, Georgia (5-10/192, Sr.)
    P Jeff Locke, UCLA (6-1/210, Jr.)
    KR Eric Page, Toledo (5-10/180, Jr.)
    PR Cliff Harris, Oregon (5-11/165, Jr.)

    Second Team - Offense
    QB Kellen Moore, Boise State (6-0/191, Sr.)
    RB Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M (5-10/198, Sr.)
    RB Trent Richardson, Alabama (5-11/224, Jr.)
    WR Juron Criner, Arizona (6-4/210, Sr.)
    WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (6-3/224, Sr.)
    TE Michael Egnew, Missouri (6-6/240, Sr.)
    T Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State (6-6/354, Sr.)
    G Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-5/311, Jr.)
    C Michael Brewster, Ohio State (6-5/293, Sr.)
    G Joel Foreman, Michigan State (6-4/310, Sr.)
    T Matt Reynolds, BYU (6-6/305, Sr.)

    Second Team - Defense
    E Vince Browne, Northwestern (6-5/265, Sr.)
    T Billy Winn, Boise State (6-4/295, Sr.)
    E Quinton Coples, North Carolina (6-6/285, Sr.)
    LB Jerry Franklin, Arkansas (6-1/245, Sr.)
    LB Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (6-4/260, Jr.)
    LB Shayne Skov, Stanford (6-3/244, Jr.)
    LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame (6-2/255, Jr.)
    CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska (5-10/205, Sr.)
    CB Keith Tandy, West Virginia (5-10/199, Sr.)
    FS Harrison Smith, Notre Dame (6-2/214, Sr.)
    SS Delano Howell, Stanford (5-11/189, Sr.)

    Second Team - Special Teams
    K Grant Ressel, Missouri (6-2/190, Sr.)
    P Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (6-1/189, Jr.)
    KR Quincy McDuffie, UCF (5-10/175, Jr.)
    PR Damaris Johnson, Tulsa (5-8/170, Sr.)

    Third Team - Offense
    QB Case Keenum, Houston (6-2/210, Sr.)
    RB Montel Harris, Boston College (5-10/207, Sr.)
    RB Doug Martin, Boise State (5-9/215, Sr.)
    WR Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M (6-4/215, Sr.)
    WR Robert Woods, USC (6-1/185, So.)
    TE George Bryan, N.C. State (6-5/265, Sr.)
    T Mike Adams, Ohio State (6-8/308, Sr.)
    G Larry Warford, Kentucky (6-3/340, Jr.)
    C David Molk, Michigan (6-2/288, Sr.)
    G Brandon Washington, Miami (6-4/320, Jr.)
    T Riley Reiff, Iowa (6-6/300, Jr.)

    Third Team - Defense
    E Bruce Irvin, West Virginia (6-3/245, Sr.)
    T Mike Martin, Michigan (6-2/299, Jr.)
    E Devin Taylor, South Carolina (6-7/248, Jr.)
    LB Tank Carder, TCU (6-3/237, Sr.)
    LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma (6-2/233, Sr.)
    LB Sean Spence, Miami (6-0/224, Sr.)
    LB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (6-2/265, Sr.)
    CB Cliff Harris, Oregon (5-11/165, Jr.)
    CB Coryell Judie, Texas A&M (5-11/188, Sr.)
    FS T.J. McDonald, USC (6-3/205, Jr.)
    SS Tony Dye, UCLA (5-11/205, Sr.)

    Third Team - Special Teams
    K David Ruffer, Notre Dame (6-1/193, Sr.)
    P Drew Butler, Georgia (6-2/214, Sr.)
    KR T.Y. Hilton, Florida International (5-10/183, Sr.)
    PR Greg Reid, Florida State (5-8/186, Jr.)

    The Golden (Dome) Girls

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    Aided by a combined 32 points from three Notre Dame players, including 19 points from Skylar Diggins, the United States easily claimed the gold medal at the World University Games with a 101-66 win over Taiwan in the tournament final on Sunday night at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzhen, China.

    Diggins connected on 6-of-9 shots (including 3-of-4 from three-point range) and added six assists for the United States (6-0). Devereaux Peters registered eight points and six rebounds, while Natalie Novosel chipped in five points while starting alongside Diggins for the sixth consecutive game.

    Sunday's win marks the first time three Notre Dame women's basketball players have won gold medals for the same USA Basketball Team in the same tournament. It also gives the Fighting Irish 10 international gold medalists in the program's 35-year history, with Diggins collecting her third gold in four years (also the 2008 FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship and 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship), and Novosel and Peters picking up their first gold medals in international competition.

    What's more, this is the sixth consecutive time that a Notre Dame women's basketball player (either an alum, current player or incoming freshman) has suited up for a USA Basketball team at an international tournament and come home with the gold medal, a remarkable run of excellence that dates back to 2004 when Ruth Riley ('01) struck gold with the U.S. Olympic Team at the Athens Games.

    Individually, Diggins averaged 12.3 ppg. at this year's World University Games, while also leading all tournament players (regardless of country) in assists (4.8 apg.) and ranking among the top 10 at the event in steals (third with team-high 3.3 spg.) and field goal percentage (10th at .475).

    Peters also had an impressive showing at the World University Games as the leading American scorer off the bench (and fourth overall) with 10.0 points per game. She also was fourth on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg.), and ranked among the top 10 in the entire tournament in field goal percentage (fifth at .560, second-best on team) and blocked shots (ninth with team-high 1.0 bpg.).

    Novosel was one of the "glue" players for the United States, starting all six games in her international debut and doing a bit of everything, winding up with 4.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, the latter total ranking fourth on the team.

    "It's an amazing feeling, and this is the first time I got emotional up there (on the medal stand), with my teammates being up there and just the fact that these games were such a big deal to this team," Diggins said. "I mean, (it's a big deal) every time, but the fact that I haven't done it in a while and that I'm back here, it's a blessing and the biggest honor. To be up there with my (Notre Dame) teammates, with somebody that I'm familiar with, being a bridesmaid in the NCAA Championship, it's good to be the bride in this game. So, I'm glad that we were able to share that moment together."

    "It was just pure giddiness for me (to receive the gold medal)," Novosel added. "It was surreal. As soon as they (put the gold medal around my neck), I was just utterly grateful. I can't imagine what it would have been like without (my two Notre Dame teammates) and to be able to share it with them was a moment I'll never forget."

    "This is just one of those things that you can't explain, you have to experience it to understand," Peters said. "I'm really excited and happy I could do it with my (Notre Dame) teammates. It's a crazy feeling to be able to experience that gold medal being put over your head. It's that much more special because all these knee problems (I've had) have been ridiculous, and to be able to come over here and not only play, but win, it's like going from the lowest low to the highest high."

    Phenomenal Feet

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    leon.jpg

    Starting off on the right foot is a good thing in sports. Ending on the right foot is great. Doing both is even better.

    Notre Dame began its 2011 NCAA title run on the same foot which earned it the hardware in 2010 - more specifically, the hoof of Adriana Leon - to win its 12th straight season opener Friday at Alumni Stadium. Leon, who cashed in the only goal of a 1-0 Women's College Cup win over Stanford last December to help the Irish claim their third national crown, replicated the action when she scored the first goal of the 2011 campaign.

    Leon didn't draw too much attention in the early stages of the game as the Wisconsin defense exerted much of its effort keeping Melissa Henderson at bay. Henderson, who found nearly every inch around - and even on - the goal in the first half, at times drew one, two and three Wisconsin defenders on each touch.

    The Hermann Trophy candidate managed to find Leon for the opening tally which brought an impressive opening-day crowd of 1,713 to its feet late in the first half. After the game head coach Randy Waldrum, who had his doubts as to whether or not a recovering Leon would play tonight due to an injury, recalled jokingly teasing with the sophomore prior to the 2010 title game that she would score the game-winning goal.

    His decision to play her against the Badgers paid off, but his indecision to remind her that she would score the winning goal against once again haunted him.

    "I wish I had done the same before this game and be 2-for-2 in that department," Waldrum said. "It was great to be able to have her out there, and she's going to be one of the players we'll rely on when teams are keying in on Melissa."

    Henderson missed on her first handful of pegs, so she resorted to the dome to score in the 61st minute off a dish from Molly Campbell to give the Irish a 2-0 cushion to put the game in cruise control until the final horn.

    Henderson's importance to this Irish squad is apparent on the field and the stat sheet. In fact, Henderson may boast one of the nation's most impressive stats: Notre Dame is 45-0-2 when Henderson scores a point and 36-0-2 when she connects for a goal.

    Those efforts helped Notre Dame bump to 328-0-1 all-time when claiming a 2-0 lead. The Irish are also unbeaten in their past 305 contest when going ahead 2-0 (dating back to a 3-3 draw with Vanderbilt on Sept. 15, 1991).

    Cashore's Clicks

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    banner.jpg
    Prior to Notre Dame's 3-0 season-opening win over Wisconsin, Melissa Henderson was joined by Jessica Schuveiller and Courtney Barg in unveiling the 2010 NCAA Champions banner at Alumni Stadium. (photo by Matt Cashore)

    Football Practice Report - 8.19.11

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    Live Chat - Women's Soccer vs. Wisconsin

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    After a solid two-match performance in exhibition play last week, No. 1/2 Notre Dame gets things going for real at 5:30 p.m. (ET) when it plays host to Wisconsin at Alumni Stadium. Like all Fighting Irish home matches this season, the contest will be webcast live and free of charge through UND.com.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem.

    Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Following Flynt - Third Time's a Charm for Dupra

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    Former Irish pitcher Brian Dupra is familiar with having his number dialed in the Major League Baseball draft, but twice, he was not quite ready to take the leap into professional baseball.

    In 2007, the Texas Rangers selected him in the 36th round out of Greece Athena High School (N.Y.). However, the 6-foot-3 righty was eager for the college experience and elected to attend Notre Dame.

    Three years later, the Detroit Tigers selected Dupra in the 11th round. Again, Dupra declined the invitation, deciding that the college experience was his cup of tea. He wanted the degree to go with it.

    This past May, he graduated from the College of Arts & Letters with degrees in both sociology and computer applications. A few weeks later, Dupra was selected for a third time, as the Washington Nationals snatched him with the 217th overall pick.

    Dupra has been spending the summer pitching for the Auburn Doubledays, a team in the Short-Season Class A New York-Penn League, located less than 70 miles from his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. He is currently 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA and 31 strikeouts.

    Ryan Miller of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle recently caught up with Dupra to speak with him about his early experiences in the minor leagues.

    - Josh Flynt

    Following Flynt - Quinn Making Great Strides

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    754559.jpegThough many have already plugged Tim Tebow or Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos, it was former Irish quarterback Brady Quinn who turned in the most impressive performance in the team's first preseason game of the year last week. 

    Entering the game in the second half, Quinn led a pair of fourth quarter touchdown drives in a 24-23 loss at Dallas. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 120 yards and threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos a late fourth-quarter lead.

    Thus far, Quinn has still been waiting on the opportunity to make a name for himself in the NFL. Amidst the NFL lockout, the former Coffman High School (Dublin, Ohio) all-conference baseball standout contemplated trying out for the Colorado Rockies. Instead, Quinn dismissed the idea and began working with longtime collegiate quarterbacks coach David Lee to improve his mechanics. 

    Lee, who is confident Quinn is capable of thriving in the league, has worked with several NFL quarterbacks including Tony Romo, Chad Pennington and Eli and Peyton Manning.

    Quinn and fellow Domers - guard Eric Olsen and safeties David Bruton and Kyle McCarthy - play host to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday at 8:30 (ET).

    For more on Quinn's offseason and preseason journey, check out Mike Klis's article in the Denver Post.

    - Josh Flynt

    A Back-to-Back Title Trek Begins

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    81 and Still Flying High

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    25715a.jpgThe Monroe Times - For Tom Hinkes, the 80s are prime time for the sport of pole vaulting.

    Hinkes first began pole vaulting back in high school. Now, just two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday, he has no plans of retiring.

    And Hinkes, who lives in the town of Argyle, is among the best in his age group: He cleared 7 feet, 2 1/2 inches to win the World Masters Athletics Championships pole vault title in the 80- to 84-year-old division in Sacramento, Calif., on July 15.

    He practices pole vaulting at several area high schools, including Monroe. He practices with other pole vaulters at the University of Wisconsin and when he travels to Arizona, he packs his pole and practices at a nearby junior college.

    "They always ask me, 'When are you going to retire?'" he said. "I will rest for a couple of months and then come November or December, I will decide whether I should go back and try it again. I will do it as long as I'm not jeopardizing my health."

    The world record for pole vaulters ages 80 to 84 is 9-0 1/4. Hinkes has cleared 8-0.

    "I would like to think if I stay healthy, I could add 6 more inches to my height," he said. "That would be a big accomplishment."

    He first started pole vaulting with a neighbor in high school at Milwaukee Marquette.

    "I kind of backed into it," Hinkes said.

    He had aspirations of running the 880 meters, but when he wasn't selected, his coach asked him to pole vault. The pole vault helped Hinkes soar to a track career at Notre Dame.

    After a 25-year hiatus from pole vaulting, Hinkes started again as a member of the Masters USA track and field program. Even during his 25 years working at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, he always looked at the pole vault as a way to relax.

    "It was a wonderful break from the stress and strain from working," Hinkes said.

    He has seen pole vaulting undergo a metamorphosis since he started. Hinkes said the poles used to be stiff and recalls vaulting with bamboo and aluminum poles in high school and college. Today, Hinkes said, the fiberglass and carbon fiber poles have made a difference. He credits better running surfaces and bigger pits for making pole vaulting much safer.

    "Today, with the way they build lighter poles and fit them for your height and weight, the speed an athlete can generate allows them to get more bend on their pole," Hinkes said.

    Hinkes said he enjoys the camaraderie of pole vaulting. He also enjoys the rivalry he has established with Jerry Donnelly of Colorado Springs; Donnelly finished second at the world championships in California to Hinkes.

    "Beating him in a World Games was very satisfying," Hinkes said.

    Hinkes is looking forward to vaulting again even after he turns 82.

    "If I wasn't in good shape I wouldn't do it," he said. "I have been fortunate. I haven't had any setbacks."

    Halfpenny, Notre Dame Ready To Dive Into New Era

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    4913226.jpegInside Lacrosse - While change is inevitable when it comes to a new coach, newly minted Notre Dame coach Christine Halfpenny doesn't need to reinvent the wheel in South Bend.

    She inherits a team that went 10-9 in 2011 and advanced to the BIG EAST championship game, where they fell just two goals short of earning the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

    On the field, Notre Dame's fast, powerful, athletic style is very similar to Halfpenny's former William & Mary team. Off the field, a program that holds a high academic and character standard for its student-athletes is exactly the type of place that suits the ideals Halfpenny holds for her teams.

    "Every coach has a different culture," says Halfpenny, who was introduced as the program's second head coach in a press conference on July 27. "I see Notre Dame as one of the most prestigious schools in the nation and we're going to work really hard to earn the respect of every program in the country with a high level of integrity and honor. This program is full of incredible people, great young women and outstanding student-athletes."

    The Irish lose the core of its midfield from last season including Shaylyn Blaney, Kailene Abt and Kaitlin Keena, who combined for 110 points last season and two defensive starters in Lauren Fenlon and first team All-American Jackie Doherty. While there are certainly holes to fill, there's a lot of promise in the current talent on the roster as 2011 points and assists leader Maggie Tamasitis returns to run the attack and midfield standout Kaitlyn Brosco, who had a stellar freshman campaign with 32 goals and eight assists, will be a force in the midfield.

    Notre News - 8.19.11

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    Football Practice Report - 8.18.11

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    am.cover.jpg
    Published six times per year, Athletic Management is targeted towards high school and collegiate athletic directors. From educational philosophy to fundraising ideas, the magazine features topics that are especially relevant to managing an athletic department.

    The August/September 2011 issue features a photo of Dayne Crist and former Irish running back Armando Allen from last season's opener against Purdue at Notre Dame Stadium.

    The cover story focuses on new ideas for improving athletic performance, and by the looks of it, the Irish are sure to be among the programs discussed in the article. The issue will be available for online viewing on August 22nd at AthleticManagement.com.

    - Josh Flynt

    Daily Dish - 8.18.11

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    5576861.jpg
    - Devereaux Peters came off the bench to score a game-high 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting to help propel the United States to a dominating 96-30 win over Finland in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World University Games on Thursday evening at the Shenzhen Luohu Gymnasium in Shenzhen, China ... Peters' performance marked the third time in as many outings that a Fighting Irish player earned game-high scoring honors for Team USA, with Peters and Skylar Diggins each collecting 14 points in Monday's win over Slovakia, and Diggins registering 13 points in Tuesday's victory over Great Britain ... the United States (4-0) now moves on to the World University Games semifinals, where it will take on another unbeaten squad, Australia, at 8:30 p.m. Friday (8:30 a.m. ET in South Bend).

    - The schedule and national television coverage for the CBE Classic have been finalized ... Notre Dame, Missouri, California and Georgia will serve as the four regional round hosts with men's basketball play beginning on Nov. 13 ... joining Missouri, Notre Dame, Cal and Georgia in the 2011 CBE Classic are Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Detroit, George Washington, Mercer, Niagara, Sam Houston State, and South Dakota State.

    - Greg Klazura and Melissa Henderson have been named Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Candidates in the men's and women's soccer divisions, respectively ... to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

    - Ryan Finley and Aaron Maund have been tabbed as preseason All-Americans according to College Soccer News ... Finley was selected to the second team, while Maund was a third-team pick.

    - After a first-quarter fight from Finland, Team USA went on to easily secure a 124-64 win and the No. 1 seed out of Group D in the World University Games ... Tim Abromaitis started the game and finished with nine points and two rebounds in 19 minutes of action ... it was the second start of the tournament for Abromaitis and his nine points marked his largest point total throughout the first four games of the event.

    - Bill Milone, a veteran of the lacrosse world for over 20 years, has joined the operations staff for the men's lacrosse program ... Milone comes to Notre Dame from Limestone College in South Carolina where he spent the past three seasons as a volunteer assistant coach for the Saints ... Milone earned All-America honors as a goalie during his playing days at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina ... Milone has coached numerous All-America and all-conference selections throughout his career.

    - The Chicago Blackhawks have hired Ben Simon as an assistant coach with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs ... Simon, 33, spent the 2010-11 season as both a player and head coach with the Sheffield Steelers of the United Kingdom's Elite Ice Hockey League, steering the club to the EIHL title and finishing fifth on the team with 66 points (27G, 39A) in 62 games ... the Shaker Heights, Ohio, native and Notre Dame alum appeared in 654 AHL, IHL and ECHL contests and won the 2001 Turner Cup with Orlando and the 2002 Calder Cup with the Chicago Wolves.

    The Workout Skylar Diggins Loves To Hate

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    How competitive is Skylar Diggins? Her workout is called the 'Metabolic Meltdown,' and it's unlike anything you've ever seen.

    140828440-29160031.jpg
    If you had a chance to read Irish UNDerground on Wednesday (which of course I'm sure you all did), you may have learned that Brian Kelly was a standout linebacker during his college playing days. However, Kelly is not the only Irish coach who once lined up at the same position as Manti Te'o, Darius Fleming and company. 

    Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and defensive line/special teams coordinator Mike Elston also played linebacker while enrolled at Iowa and Michigan, respectively.

    Diaco was part of the Hawkeyes program from 1991-97. A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., Diaco was a two-time all-Big Ten selection, a semifinalist for the Butkus Award (given to the nation's top linebacker) and the team's co-MVP during his senior season. He also led the team in tackles in each of his final two seasons. After graduating in 1995 with a degree in sociology, Diaco remained with the Hawkeyes for two seasons as a graduate assistant.

    Before he was a member of the Fighting Irish family, Elston spent several years as a Wolverine while strapping on the pads at Michigan. Elston was a three-year letterwinner as an outside linebacker in Ann Arbor from 1994-96, leading the Wolverines to top-20 finishes in each of those three seasons. After his playing days, Elston remained with the team until 2000, working as a student assistant and video intern, and later, as a graduate assistant for two seasons.

    - Josh Flynt

    'Irish Connection' Makes Shining Debut

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    What happens when you mix Sports Center, Fighting Irish Digital Media, Irish UNDerground and millions of Notre Dame fans? If you guessed Irish Connection, you're right. Irish Connection will hit the web each Thursday morning (and the following Sunday on game weeks). This show is a must-watch for any fan wanting to see what goes on behind the scenes with the Notre Dame football program. Take it away, Jack Nolan ...

     

    Football Practice Report - 8.17.11

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    "Ridiculous ... as in 'ridiculously nice' ..." - Jack Nolan

    Bleacher Report - Can Robin turn into Batman?

    We willl see because last year, Tim Abromaitis was Robin to BIG EAST Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough's Batman.

    Abromaitis was the Fighting Irish's No. 2 offensive weapon during last year's 27-7 season.

    He averaged 15.4 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game (second on the team) and shot 42.9 percent from three-point range.

    --

    Tim Abromaitis was featured among a list of the BIG EAST's top five seniors returning for their last hurrahs. Joining him on the list was, ironically, his Team USA roommate Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh). Which should make this season's Notre Dame / Pittsburgh showdown that much more interesting.

    Following Flynt - Kelly Is An Assumption Star

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    ncfl_u_BrianKellyDayneCristTommyRees_cmg_600.jpgLong before leading the Fighting Irish out of the tunnel and onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium, head coach Brian Kelly led a team at another private Catholic institution. Raised in New England, Kelly stayed close to home while attending Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., where he was a four-year letterwinner and standout linebacker.

    The Augustinians of the Assumption founded the college in 1904. Like the Congregation of the Holy Cross - the religious order that founded Notre Dame - the Assumptionists were also established in France in the 19th century. Today, Assumption College currently has an undergraduate enrollment of just over 2,000 students, approximately one-fourth the size of Notre Dame.

    During his junior and senior campaigns under coach Paul Cantiani, Kelly co-captained the squad and led the Greyhounds to 8-3 and 7-1-1 seasons, two of the most successful years in program history. In the final game of the 1981 season, he recorded a particularly impressive 19 tackles.

    In each of his final two seasons, he earned all-conference honors in the New England Collegiate Football Conference and finished with a then-school record 314 tackles.

    After graduating in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in political science, Kelly returned to his alma mater, where he served as linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for four years.

    He also spent five seasons with the softball team, including four as the head coach. He left after the 1987 season as the Greyhounds' winningest softball coach. 

    In August 2006, Kelly was inducted into the Assumption College Alumni-Athletic Hall of Fame.

    - Josh Flynt

    Notre News - 8.17.11

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    Football: Media day quotes | Versatile Riddick a key to Irish offense
    A model for BYU independence | Wood gets security | QB picture becoming more focused
    Watching changes carefully | Showing focus for special season | Defense ready for basics
    QB battle still too close to call | Floyd's second chance a 'blessing'
    Kelly has confidence | QB derby too close to call | It's up to Fleming
    Irish counting on 'the Force' | Crist, Rees give Notre Dame a win-win choice
    Floyd embraces a return to normalcy | QB battle fierce, but rivals friendly
    Irish defense ready to build on 2010 | One thing certain, Irish have desire
    Choosing the triggerman | Kelly excited about Notre Dame | Floyd moving forward
    The Leap? | Motta, Slaughter will share duties | Brown's reaction to being in the mix
    Stewart adjusting to life in NFL | Notre Dame ranked 22nd by Sporting News
    Seventh-highest priced ticket of the college | Kickoff set for Pittsburgh game
    Chatter will be motivation | Wood on a mission | Hardy lost for season
    Freshman playing time | Areas that demand upgrade | Rookie backs battle for spot
    Ride wasn't part of Ruffer's plans | Three-man rotation at safety
    Very deep at the defensive end position | Versatility a plus for Nuss | Ruffer a seasoned vet

    Basketball: U.S. handles Hungary

    Women's Basketball: Diggins leads U.S. in rout of England | Irish lead in two big wins

    Hockey: Conference move may come soon | No affiliation announcement

    Men's Soccer: Irish tie in exhibition

    Women's Soccer: Trio nabs preseason national honors

    Ridderwall Inks With Providence Bruins

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    It was announced today that the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League signed forward Calle Ridderwall to an AHL contract. Per club policy, the financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

    A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Ridderwall is a four-year product of Notre Dame. As an alternate captain in 2010-11, Ridderwall recorded 16 goals and nine assists for 25 points. The 6-0, 193-pound forward led the Fighting Irish in scoring in 2009-10 with a career-high 19 goals and 27 points.

    Notre Dame's most valuable player in 2008-09, he recorded a career-high 32 points and led the team with 17 goals. The 23-year-old finished his collegiate career with 91 points on 57 goals and 34 assists.

    Following Flynt - Future Lawyer Focused On NFL Dream

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    Former Irish offensive lineman Chris Stewart knows how to study. From playbooks to law textbooks and now playbooks again, studying has become a way of life for the Spring, Texas, native.

    Stewart eventually wants to become a lawyer, but today he is focused on trading the blue and gold of Notre Dame for the green and white of the New York Jets. Shortly after the NFL lockout ended last month, the 6-foot-5 guard received a phone call from the Jets offering him an invitation to training camp and an opportunity to make their roster. Jets offensive line coach Bill Callahan is confident that Stewart has a future in the league, whether it is in New York or with another NFL squad.

    Like many current and former Irish athletes, Stewart (@chris_stewart5) is a Twitter aficionado. Earlier this morning, he shared his appreciation for his NFL opportunity.

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    Stewart will continue his NFL journey on Sunday when the Jets host the Cincinnati Bengals in their second preseason game of the year. For more on Stewart's professional aspirations, check out Dennis Waszak's recent Associated Press story.

    - Josh Flynt

    Daily Dish - 8.17.11

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    - Women's soccer senior tri-captains Melissa Henderson, Courtney Barg and Jessica Schuveiller each have earned preseason national award recognition in separate announcements made late Monday and early Tuesday ... Henderson is a double honoree, joining Barg on the 45-player watch list for the 2011 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, and also appearing with Schuveiller on the 25-person Soccer America Preseason All-America Team ... Notre Dame is one of eight schools to place two players on this year's Hermann Trophy watch list.

    - Skylar Diggins posted game highs of 13 points, six steals and four assists to lead the United States to an 85-33 World University Games victory over Great Britain on Tuesday night at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzhen, China ... with the victory, Team USA completes Group B play with a perfect 3-0 record, and advances to the medal round quarterfinals on Thursday, where it will square off with Finland at 8:30 p.m. local time at the Shenzhen Luohu Gym (8:30 a.m. ET in South Bend) ... Diggins was the Americans' leading scorer for the second time in as many days, connecting on 6-of-12 shots against Great Britain. She also tied her tournament high with those six steals, giving her 14 thefts in three outings at this year's World University Games ... Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters each chipped in with four points, six rebounds and two steals, with Peters adding two blocked shots for good measure ... Novosel also joined Diggins in the starting lineup once again, as the United States opened with an all-Fighting Irish backcourt for the third consecutive game ... check out the photo gallery courtesy of USA Basketball.

    - Major League Lacrosse announced that David Earl was named the Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week ... Earl scored three times and added one assist in the Hamilton Nationals' 14-8 win over Long Island ... the win propelled Hamilton (7-5) into the Sports Authority MLL Championship Weekend ... Earl earned first Cascade MLL Rookie of the Week award of his career on the strength of his third hat trick of the season while matching a season high with his four-point performance ... Earl, who played in 10 games during the regular season, was the Nationals' fourth-leading scorer with 22 points ... Earl was the Nationals' third-round selection (13th overall) in the 2011 MLL Collegiate Draft.

    Following Flynt - 8.17.11

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    Fighting Irish Digital Media intern Josh Flynt ('11) has what many would consider a dream job at Notre Dame. He lives and breathes Notre Dame football ... literally. 

    Flynt's newly-created role within the department is to manage football-related social media platforms while providing fans an inside look at the day-to-day happenings within the program. In short, Flynt translates the pulse of the program into what you see and read on Facebook, Twitter and Irish UNDerground.

    Flynt is well versed in many things Notre Dame. He was a resident assistant at Keenan Hall, executive editor of Scholastic Magazine and was a recipient of the Hannah Storm journalism internship through the Notre Dame Alumni Association.
     

    Flynt will be sharing many of his musings on Irish UNDerground throughout the season. Here's his first take after experiencing Notre Dame's football media day.

    --

    As the Irish prepare for the upcoming school year and 2011 season, several exciting media platforms have been revamped and introduced to provide fans with a more complete look at Notre Dame's 26 varsity athletic teams. Along with the recent launch of the Notre Dame Athletics YouTube channel this week's introduction of Irish UNDerground will provide exclusive and behind-the-scenes content regarding the Fighting Irish. Through the new blog and an increased emphasis on social media, we hope to provide interesting and engaging features, photos and videos that go beyond the box score and the traditional press releases found on other Irish athletics news sources. 

    A recent marketing graduate from Our Lady's University, I have been fortunate to return to Notre Dame less than three months after graduating as I began working in the athletics department as a social media intern earlier this week. In the fall, I will be focused on Notre Dame football, and throughout the year I hope to provide you with a glimpse of Fighting Irish athletics like you have never seen before.

    Players and Coaches Speak On Upcoming Season

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    Football Team Photo Shoot

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    Kick-Start To Life

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    NCAA.org - One in an occasional series of features about former NCAA student-athletes who went pro in something other than sports. The Division I women's soccer national players of the year from 1996 talk about what they learned from the college experience.

    Cindy (Daws) Mosley - University of Notre Dame

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    Then: Daws was a midfielder on Notre Dame's NCAA championship team in 1995 and runner-up squad in 1996, when she was named the Missouri Athletic Club's Player of the Year. She was a two-time All-Big East and two-time Academic All-Big East selection and three-time Academic All-American.

    Now: Mosley is a stay-at-home mom to her four kids in Mt. Prospect, Ill. After playing professionally in Japan for a year, she worked for nine years in marketing in soccer and volleyball for Wilson Sporting Goods. She is married to former Notre Dame football player Emmett Mosley.

    In her words: "I think being able to juggle all of the things you need to juggle within college, it helps you with that skill set in real life. Your school work, your team responsibilities and social aspects - it's multitasking and being able to put them in order of what's most important. Now, you have 10 different people asking you to do something, and everyone things theirs is most important. You have to decide what's important. From college to life, that's probably the No. 1 thing.

    "Your competitiveness, your drive, your hard work - whether you're succeeding at your job or your social life, I think all those things you learn in sports help you in those areas."

    Jennifer Renola - University of Notre Dame

    Then: Renola was in goal for Notre Dame's NCAA title in 1995 and runner-up finish in 1996, when she was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Player of the Year. She was an All-Big East Conference selection, a two-time All-American and a two-time Academic All-Big East pick. She finished her career as the Irish's all-time leader in shutouts and goals-against average. Renola earned NCAA Today's Top VIII recognition and NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

    renola.jpegNow: After working for adidas and as an assistant coach at the University of Texas, Renola has worked for Nike the past five years. The Portland, Ore., resident started in marketing and sales and is now in a sales management role for Nike.

    In her words: "Ultimately, it's about being part of a team and kind of understanding that the outcome as a whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. That is comparable to a work environment. The model for business is comparable to a sports team model. How do you get people motivated and get people feeling good about what they're doing.

    "With sports in college, it's all about juggling different things. You just get accustomed to that at an early age. You receive constructive criticism, and that's similar to a work environment. Every year, you get a review about what you did well and what you didn't do well, and (playing NCAA sports) prepared me for that kind of feedback."

    Kickoff for Pittsburgh Game Announced

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    Notre Dame's road football game at Pittsburgh will kick off at noon (ET) on Sept. 24 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., and will be televised nationally by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. 

    That kickoff time was announced today by the BIG EAST Conference and by ABC/ESPN. 

    Here's the current schedule for Notre Dame in 2011:

    Sept. 3 - SOUTH FLORIDA - 3:30 p.m. (ET) - NBC 
    Sept. 10 - at Michigan - 8:00 p.m. (ET) - ESPN 
    Sept. 17 - MICHIGAN STATE - 3:30 p.m. (ET) - NBC 
    Sept. 24 - at Pittsburgh - Noon (ET) - ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 
    Oct. 1 - at Purdue - 8:00 p.m. (ET) - ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 
    Oct. 8 - AIR FORCE - 3:30 p.m. (ET) - NBC 
    Oct. 22 - USC 7:30 p.m. EDT - NBC 
    Oct. 29 - NAVY 3:30 p.m. EDT - NBC 
    Nov. 5 - at Wake Forest - TBD - TBD
    Nov. 12 - Maryland (FedExField / Landover, Md.) - 7:30 p.m. (ET) - NBC
    Nov. 19 - BOSTON COLLEGE - 4:00 p.m. (ET) - NBC 
    Nov. 26 - at Stanford - 5:00 p.m. (PT) - ABC/ESPN/ESPN2

    Live Chat - Football Media Day

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    To help launch Irish UNDerground, join us Tuesday for a live chat throughout the football team's media day at Notre Dame Stadium. The chat will begin at 9:45 a.m. (ET). 

    Have your questions and comments ready as we'll give you up-to-the-second photos, quotes, excerpts and the inside scoop on all the happenings when the Irish coaches and players meet with the media. 

    Following the media day activities, Irish UNDerground will provide exclusive pictures and commentary during the midday team photo shoot.

    Want to track all the action from your mobile device? No problem. Simply click (or to be phone friendly, "touch") HERE.

    Notre News - 8.16.11

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    Football : Wide receiver notebook | Alford getting comfortable | Wood on a mission







    When a Fight Song and Financial Advice Collide

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    Former Irish offensive lineman Jeff Kilburg (@TheKillir) made a recent appearance on CNBC to discuss trading the 'real' debt deadline. 

    Kilburg is a senior development director at Treasury Curve in Chicago and a frequent market commentator on CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg and CNN. He graduated from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business in 1997. 

    While much (read: some ... hey, after all, I was an economics major-turned sports info assistant) of what he said was over my head, it all seemed to make perfect sense ... probably because I was hypnotized by the Victory March playing in the background.

     

    Smith Makes Presence Known In Cleveland

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    Undrafted linebacker Brian Smith didn't have to travel far from South Bend when signing with the Cleveland Browns in late July. Just weeks after his NFL future laid in down, Smith made an impact in Saturday's preseason contest against Green Bay. Smith got around the left edge for a strip-sack on Green Bay's third-string quarterback Graham Harrell.

    With the ball bobbling backwards, linebacker Titus Brown was able to pick it up off the ground and stumble in for a 43-yard touchdown.

    Smith was credited with a sack and forced fumble in his preseason debut, a 27-17 win for Cleveland over defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay. (see the video here).

    And in vintage Brian Smith form, he let his Twitter fans know his true feelings soon after the game (@BCSmith58).

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    Breaking Bread With Irish Soccer

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    The men's and women's soccer squads hosted a 'Meet the Team BBQ' this past weekend at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend.

    Football's Faculty Appreciation Day

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    Between eating snow cones and managing the media personnel at today's football practice, Notre Dame director of football media relations Brian Hardin (@bhardin2) took a few minutes to share some shots from LaBar Practice Field.

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    It's Almost Time for Football Media Day

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    Seriously, do you have any idea how hard it is to find a video on YouTube to get yourself pumped up for football's media day? Not too many out there to choose from. This was the closest I could get ...

    And honorable mentions go to ...

    Electric at Eck

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    Construction of the new scoreboard - state-of-the-art amber LED with full-color 4'x24' LED screen - at baseball's Frank Eck Stadium continued Monday morning.

    Notre Notes - 8.15.11

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    - Topping the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) preseason poll is No. 1 Notre Dame for the second time in school history, having also opened in the top spot in 2005 (the year after they won their second NCAA national championship) ... in addition, the BIG EAST Conference unveiled its preseason coaches' poll and all-conference team, with Notre Dame being a unanimous choice to win the league's National Division title ... individually, Melissa Henderson was unanimously selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, the first time any conference player was a unanimous preseason pick for that honor since another Notre Dame forward (and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient), Kerri Hanks, did so in 2007 ... what's more, Jessica Schuveiller was tapped as the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year, sharing that honor with Marquette's Kerry McBride.

    - Along with Aaron Maund, Dillon Powers was named to the men's soccer preseason all-BIG EAST team ... the Irish duo was among 12 players named to the squad ... Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the BIG EAST Blue Division, while Connecticut was tabbed to win the division ... the Huskies received 10 first-place votes among the eight Blue Division squads, while the Irish garnered two ... Louisville was picked to win the Red Division ... the league's 16 head coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams ... Maund and Powers both garnered second-team all-BIG EAST honors last season ... they will serve as team captains for the Irish in 2011 along with fifth-year senior Greg Klazura.

    - Senior Kristen Dealy and sophomore Andrea McHugh have been named to the all-BIG EAST volleyball preseason team ... McHugh was the league's freshman of the year in 2010 while Dealy copped her third straight all-tournament team nod following the league's championship showdown ... Notre Dame was tabbed second in the coaches' preseason poll behind defending champion Louisville ... the Irish received one first-place vote.

    - Junior Skylar Diggins and fifth-year senior Devereaux Peters each scored a game-high 14 points to pace six Americans in double figures as the United States cruised past Slovakia, 114-68, on Monday morning (late Sunday night in South Bend) in a World University Games preliminary round game at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzhen, China ... Diggins made 5-of-9 shots from the field while adding three assists and two steals in 22 minutes ... Peters came off the bench to knock down 7-of-13 shots, grabbing four rebounds (all offensive) in 16 minutes ... senior Natalie Novosel joined Diggins in the starting lineup for the second night in a row, finishing with six points, two assists and two steals in 14 minutes.

    - The USA men's basketball team topped the 100-point mark for the third time in as many games in cruising to a 112-68 victory over South Korea on Monday at the World University Games at the Universiade Main Gym in Shenzen, China ... the USA squad moved to 3-0 with the win, while South Korea fell to 1-2 as Notre Dame's Tim Abromaitis finished with four points and five rebounds in nearly 14 minutes of action off the bench.

    Preseason Spikes

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    Head volleyball coach Debbie Brown and sophomore Andrea McHugh give their take on the upcoming Irish volleyball campaign.

    Threads and Needles

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    The photo gallery of Notre Dame's football uniforms to be worn at Michigan was the most viewed gallery of all CBSSports.com college sites in 2010-11.

    Notre Dame unveiled its retro-style adidas football uniforms this past June for the Sept. 10 contest against the Wolverines to celebrate the first night game ever played at Michigan Stadium.

    This will be the first prime-time meeting between the Irish and Wolverines since a 1990 matchup of top-five teams in South Bend. ESPN will broadcast the game nationally at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

    Paying homage to the rich football tradition of Notre Dame football, the Irish "Under the Lights" adidas uniform includes a white jersey with Kelly green lettering and two Kelly green shoulder stripes, old gold-colored pants, white socks with green stripes and white shoes. A large shamrock logo appears on the traditional gold helmet for the first time since the early 1960s. The years the Fighting Irish won National Championships are listed inside the bottom hem of the jersey.

    "We are happy to partner with adidas to help commemorate the first night game at Michigan Stadium with new uniforms," said Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly. "It seems fitting that the two schools with the two best winning percentages in college football play in this historic game. I know our players are looking forward to the contest and both teams' new uniforms will only add to the excitement in the Big House on September 10."

    Fans can purchase the Notre Dame retro jersey from the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore. adidas has also launched an "Under the Lights" fan collection - including retro style t-shirts, hats, jackets and sweatshirts featuring a vintage feel and design inspired by Notre Dame football history and its rivalry with Michigan.

    Ian Williams Featured On Outside the Lines

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    williams.jpgNinerNation.com - ESPN's Outside the Lines put together a nice little feature on 49ers rookie nose tackle Ian Williams from draft day to his arrival with the San Francisco 49ers. It's about six minutes long and it starts with Williams talking about his draft expectations. He felt he was likely going in the third or fourth round, which naturally left him in a bit of a depressed state when he went undrafted.

    Throw in the fact that he couldn't sign with a team until the end of the lockout and it's easy to see how tough the situation would be. Williams quickly emerged as a bit of a fan favorite from the day he signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.

    As you can see in the video, one of the reasons he chose the 49ers was the potential playing time available if Aubrayo Franklin left as a free agent. It was a roll of the dice on Williams' part but he must have received some manner of reassurance from the teams. Whatever the case, Williams' opportunity in San Francisco has reached a somewhat unexpected level. Along with Aubrayo Franklin leaving, Isaac Sopoaga has missed all the team's practices prior to yesterday, which means Williams and Ricky Jean-Francois get bumped up the depth chart in practice.

    Throw in Ray McDonald not being able to participate in the first week of practice and Williams was in an ideal position, operating as the first string nose tackle for a week.

    This past Friday, Williams came on to start the second half in relief of starter Ricky Jean-Francois. Williams got significant playing time at nose tackle but did have to split his snaps with fellow undrafted free agent Sealver Siliga. Williams recorded three total tackles, with arguably his most impressive being on a screen pass to Joique Bell. He was able to flash some of his athleticism as he fought off his blocker to grab Bell and drag him down for only a three yard gain.

    Football Practice Report - 8.13.11

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    21 Days Until Football's Season Opener

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    21 ... hmmm, remind you of anything?

    Manti Te'o's established a career-high in tackles with 21 against Stanford, becoming the first player in the FBS in 2010 to eclipse the 20-tackle barrier. No player in the FBS has had more tackles in one game against a BCS conference foe since Durell Mapp of North Carolina had 23 stops against North Carolina State on Nov. 10, 2007. The 21 tackles against Stanford not only rank as the sixth-most in single-game school history, but also the second-most ever by an Irish sophomore.

    Kelly Grabs a Line From The Jungle

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    Football head coach Brian Kelly made a recent appearance on Jim Rome Is Burning. Without showing the cards he has in store for the upcoming season, Kelly chatted with Rome about the Irish and the BCS, Notre Dame's starting quarterback job and Michael Floyd.

    Does Skylar Diggins Speak Chinese?

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    A Peak at Peters With Team USA

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    "I was carrying my phone in my hand while I was walking around numb and just worrying," McGraw said. "Then they called and said Dev was going to be OK. When they called Sunday morning and said that Dev was going to be practicing again, I was running for champagne."

    South Bend Tribune - After a hectic July spent criss-crossing the country recruiting and a busy first week of August spent working on women's basketball committees, Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw thought she might get a chance to catch her breath with a relaxing weekend.

    But a phone call from Denver, where the USA women's basketball team was practicing in preparation for the World University Games that start in China on Sunday, had McGraw facing a full-court stress.

    McGraw found out that Devereaux Peters, one of three Notre Dame players on the USA Team, suffered a knee injury during practice with the USA Team in Denver.

    The Daily Dish - 8.12.11

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    - New University of Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas has a couple of NotreDame connections. First, in his role as AD at Cincinnati, he hired Brian Kelly to become the Bearcats' head football coach. Second, Thomas and his wife have a son, Vince, who is a 2007 Notre Dame graduate with an engineering degree. 

    - A visitor to the Notre Dame athletic offices yesterday was former Irish men's basketball assistant Jim Baron, now the head men's basketball coach at Rhode Island. Baron and his family are in town visiting his wife Cindy's family. Baron was an assistant on Digger Phelps' staff from 1981-87. 

    - The senior football defensive end tandem of Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson were named preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award on Tuesday. Lewis-Moore and Johnson are one of three sets of teammates to appear on the list of 35 student-athletes. 

    Notre News - 8.12.11

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    Ashton Gibbs Jokes With Tim Abromaitis

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    What happens when you give Tim Abromaitis a camera during his trip to China for the World University Games? Even though Ashton Gibbs playfully admitted that his Pittsburgh squad needs to beat Notre Dame on the hardwood during BIG EAST action this season, he certainly has the game to back it up.

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    Abromaitis and Gibbs at the opening ceremonies of the World University Games.

    Notre News - 8.11.11

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    Caption Contest

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    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Irish 15th In ESPN.com Preseason Power Rankings

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    ESPN.com - Uh-oh. Here comes Notre Dame with a lofty preseason perch. You can practically hear the cries of "overrated!" outside South Bend at a team that finished 8-5 last season.

    But the Irish appeared to turn a corner by winning their final four games of 2010. They return a boatload of starters, and their strengths should be -- gasp! -- a defense that shut down Utah, USC and Miami late in 2010 and an experienced offensive line.

    If the QB derby produces a worthy winner (Dayne Crist will likely get the first snaps of the season) and if star WR Michael Floyd returns strong from his offseason suspension, this team should be favored in just about all of its games.

    This could be the rare recent Irish collection that meets -- or possibly even exceeds -- its preseason expectations. 


    Gotta give the obligatory shout to Notre Dame assistant media relations director Michael Bertsch, who made the first of what is likely to be numerous background appearances this seasons.

    P.S. Nice hair, Bertsch.

    Football Practice Report - 8.10.11

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    Caution: Buckle your chinstrap before watching.

    Golden Dome to the Capitol Dome

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    fedex.jpgAs members of Congress take a five-week summer recess this August, constituents here on campus are gearing up to do some work of their own in the D.C. area. 

    Tickets are now on sale to the public for the Notre Dame football game versus Maryland to be played Nov. 12, at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Available tickets are $120 each and are generally club-level corner seating. 

    Tickets can be purchased at the Murnane Ticket Office, by calling 574.631.7356 or by und.com/tickets. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

    Kickoff for the Notre Dame-Maryland contest is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET). NBC Sports will televise the game.

    Straight Into Compton

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    UND.com's Jack Nolan recently received a VIP tour from hockey head coach Jeff Jackson of the ongoing construction progress of the yet-to-be-unveiled Compton Family Ice Arena.

    When Life Gives You Lemons

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    Adversity. Knowing how to deal with it through a grinding season of competition is often the difference between the team that hoists the championship trophy and the team that walks off the pitch in defeat.

    Before Tuesday's exhibition soccer contest between Notre Dame and Nebraska, the defending national champions of the women's soccer world were already faced with a curveball.

    So maybe it wasn't a Wandy Rodriguez knee-bender, but it was enough to put a wrinkle in the gameplan.

    A heavy amount of rain last night in South Bend forced the game to be moved from Alumni Stadium to the Irish practice field, located just east of the gameday facility.

    The match was even stopped in the 71st minute, as lightning was spotted in a passing thunderstorm to the north of the Notre Dame campus.

    Following a delay of approximately 35 minutes, the teams returned to the pitch.

    But for the Irish, who have spent hundreds of hours perfecting their trade on that same practice field, it mattered little. Adversity and distractions aside, All-American Melissa Henderson wasted little time in establishing herself as one of the leading candidates for the 2011 Hermann Trophy, scoring four goals in a little more than an hour's worth of action to lead top-ranked Notre Dame past Nebraska, 5-0.

    "This was a good effort for our first time out this season, especially after having had only a few days of training under our belts," head coach Randy Waldrum said. "I thought we got some solid minutes out of a lot of different players, particularly our freshmen, who showed some good poise and maturity for their first match at the college level ... Now, we'll go back and look at the tape and see some areas that we need to work on to get better, but that's to be expected at this early stage of the season. That's what the preseason is all about."

    Cashore's Clicks

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    All-American Melissa Henderson finds the back of the net for one of her four goals in an exhibition matchup with Nebraska. Notre Dame went on to defeat the Huskers, 5-0. (photo by Matt Cashore)

    The Daily Dish - 8.9.11

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    - A sculpture of former Notre Dame football coach Dan Devine, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and coach of the 1977 Irish national championship team, will be dedicated Oct. 7 (the day before Notre Dame's home football game against Air Force), at Notre Dame Stadium. The dedication will take place at Notre Dame Stadium's Gate A, which in 2010 was designated the Devine gate when the sculptures of Knute Rockne (north tunnel), Ara Parseghian (Gate B), Frank Leahy (Gate C) and Lou Holtz (Gate D) were re-located outside the stadium walls. Rockne, Parseghian, Leahy, Holtz and Devine are the five former Irish football coaches - all of them Hall of Fame inductees - who have won one or more national titles at Notre Dame. Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna created the sculpture. He also created the Rockne, Leahy, Holtz and Parseghian sculptures at Note Dame Stadium, the Moose Krause sculpture east of Notre Dame Stadium and the Knute Rockne sculpture at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend, Ind. The sculpture has been funded by donations from Devine's former players, coaches, and staff members, and a longtime University benefactor. Notre Dame's head football coach from 1975-80, Devine served as head coach of the 1977 consensus national title team and also won two of the most dramatic postseason bowl games in Irish annals - the 1978 Cotton Bowl victory over top-rated Texas and the '79 Cotton Bowl triumph over Houston that featured a stirring second-half comeback from a 34-12 deficit ... His Irish teams won the 1976 Gator Bowl, '78 Cotton Bowl and '79 Cotton Bowl - and his six seasons in South Bend produced a combined 53-16-1 mark (.764). His '77 team achieved notoriety when it switched from blue jerseys to green just prior to a noteworthy home win over fifth-ranked USC - and his '80 team sealed a Sugar Bowl invitation with a late-season road triumph over Bear Bryant-coached Alabama ... He was elected into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 with an overall collegiate mark of 173-57-9. Born in Augusta, Wis., Devine (a Minnesota-Duluth graduate) died in 2002 at age 77.

    - The Notre Dame women's basketball team will tip off the 2011-12 season by competing in two high-profile tournaments, head coach Muffet McGraw announced Monday. The Fighting Irish open up with their fourth appearance in the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), where they could play as many as four games, before heading to the Caribbean for the second time in three years, this time visiting the Bahamas to participate in the Junkanoo Jam. Notre Dame already has learned its first-round opponent for the Preseason WNIT, as the tournament's operator and manager, Triple Crown Sports, announced in June that the Fighting Irish would play host to Mid-American Conference foe Akron in its tournament opener at on Nov. 11, inside Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.

    - Almost exactly nine months after winning its third NCAA national championship, Notre Dame will open the defense of its title Tuesday when it plays host to Big Ten Conference newcomer Nebraska. It will be the first of two exhibition matches for the Fighting Irish this season ... The Fighting Irish return 18 veterans, including seven starters from last year's squad that posted a 21-2-2 record (9-0-2 in the BIG EAST Conference), culminating with a six-match run through the NCAA Championshipwhen Notre Dame outscored its opponents by a 15-1 margin.

    diggins.ogwumike.jpgUSA Basketball - The final roster for the 2011 USA Basketball Women's World University Games team is chock full of talent, with multiple NCAA Final Fours and multiple All-America honors found up and down the list of 12 players who will represent their country Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

    That's all well and good, but none of that likely will help as much as experience will when the U.S. tips against Brazil in its first game of pool play in a couple weeks.

    And not just experience with big-time basketball -- though there's plenty of that to go around. No, the ace in the hole for head coach Bill Fennelly (Iowa State) can be found on the resumes of Skylar Diggins and Nnemkadi "Nneka" Ogwumike

    Diggins and Ogwumike have been to this rodeo before.

    Twice, in fact.

    Diggins was a member of the United States' 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship teams. And so was Ogwumike, who scored 22 points in the United States' 2009 U19 gold-medal win against Spain and led the USA in scoring during the 2008 U18 Championship

    Both were also participants in the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival here in Colorado Springs.

    So there isn't much this duo hasn't seen on the international-basketball scene, and having them in the fold figures to be a boost later this month when the United States tries for its eighth gold medal in World University Games play.


    Sibling Rivalry Fuels Novosel To Succeed

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    USA Basketball - Natalie Novosel, an incoming senior at Notre Dame and member of the 2011 USA World University Games team, says it was always her choice whether or not she wanted to play basketball. Really, though, she had no choice. She was born to love and excel at the sport.

    Her father, Nick, played three sports in high school and went on to play basketball collegiately at Youngstown State and Kent State. Her older sister, Shannon, played at the University of Evansville, while her twin brother, Nathan, currently competes for the University of Rochester.

    Growing up in a basketball family can have pressure, but for Novosel, it was always her choice to play the game the rest of her family loved.

    "It was never pressure," she said. "It was complete desire. My dad always pushed me toward basketball, but I wanted him to. I wanted him to coach me, to teach me. I always learn from him, even today."

    But before her dad, it was her siblings who made her the player she is today.

    "My brother and my sister and I all played different sports, including basketball, growing up," Novosel said. "We'd always have backyard battles in basketball."

    But Novosel, who is pushing 5-11, would always lose to her 6-5 brother and 6-2 sister.


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