Hear It From a Student - Honoring Ed O'Rourke

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Notre Dame alumnus Ed O'Rourke ('49) has been deeply involved in the world of Notre Dame basketball since the days of head coach John Jordan, who was also O'Rourke's coach when he "played a little" in high school.

O'Rourke, in love with both the sport and Notre Dame, did some recruiting and scouting for Jordan when he was heading the program. But over the next six decades he would come to be a common thread that tied together years of Notre Dame basketball history.

Athletic trainer Skip Meyer has been with Notre Dame for 30 years, but he speaks of O'Rourke's contribution to the team with something like reverence.

"He's been here for 55 years. He's a nut," Meyer laughs. "He's been around so much - he's almost like a fatherly figure to the players. He's gone 20 years without missing a game, either home or away. He's the common denominator or thread that unites the past teams and players and this team and these players."

O'Rourke says he carries great affection for the people in this program, and he calls himself an oom to Notre Dame basketball - "the Dutch word for uncle," he explains.

Notre Dame honored O'Rourke's contributions prior to the start of the season by installing a mural dedicated to him in the locker room. At a reception held in Jordan Hall in his honor, head coach Mike Brey explained the significance of the mural's placement.

"It's place where Ed stands after every game - between the locker room and the team room," Brey described. "Ed is a joy to have around our program. As a head coach, when you're in the locker room before a big game, it sometimes feels like you're on an island. Ed has always been there for me though those moments. I appreciate his advice, friendship and all his has done for Notre Dame basketball throughout the years."

O'Rourke claims he was overwhelmed at the attendance of the reception. Although there were around 200 people in Jordan Hall, he can tell you that there were at least 40 former players, two head coaches and 13 assistant coaches. The man does not miss a beat.

"It was beautiful," he recalls. "I had no idea it was going to be that big. It brought some tears to my eyes, to be honest with you."

It is no surprise that such a large portion of Notre Dame basketball tradition stood in that hall to honor O'Rourke. As Meyer says, O'Rourke "brings the stories from the past and carries them on to the players of the future."

Certainly, he will continue than legacy from where he has always stood - between the locker room and the team room.

- Lauren Chval ('13)

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