Now you wouldn't believe me if I told you, but Brenden Dougherty can run like the wind blows.
The junior sprinter will be making his first NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships appearance this week in his home state when 14 Irish student-athletes travel to Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Seven men's competitors are slated to compete in five events, while seven female competitors will participate in four events. The 14 total competitors and seven on each team are the most in Irish outdoor history for one NCAA Championship.
Would it be poetic if Dougherty entered Drake Stadium mounted on top of a thoroughbred? His grandfather would have no objections.
Sioux City Journal - When most Notre Dame athletes think of the "Four Horsemen," the fabled 1924 Fighting Irish football foursome comes to mind.
Not for Brendan Dougherty.
The Notre Dame sprinter's grandfather, John, ran for a lesser-known track-and-field quartet that went by the same name -- the old Trinity High "Four Horsemen" squad that was inducted into the Sioux City Relays Hall of Fame this spring.
"Yup, he was one of the Four Horsemen," said Brendan, whose grandpa anchored Trinity's medley relay to a gold medal at the 1945 state track and field meet at Iowa State's old Clyde Williams Field in Ames.
The track was cinder back then, the starting blocks made of wood and races measured in yards instead of meters. There was also just one class of runners for the entire state, not four.
"My grandpa gets a kick out of telling that story," Brendan said. "We've heard it hundreds of times."
Sixty-seven years from now, he hopes he has a story of his own to tell.
The Bishop Heelan grad is the first leg on Notre Dame's 4x400-meter relay that broke a school record and qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships that start today at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
"I like to think of it as home-court advantage," Dougherty said, "because I've ran here more than most other people."
Indeed, Dougherty feels right at home at the blue oval -- where three years ago he anchored Heelan's 4x400 to a Class 3A record at the state track and field meet.
The color of his blue-and-gold jersey hasn't changed; only the name. After high school, Dougherty mailed his times, his transcript and a highlight video to Notre Dame -- his "dream college" -- and the marks caught the eye of Fighting Irish coach Joe Piane.
"I was completely shocked when he called me up," Dougherty recalled. "He said, 'we're interested in you,' and right then and there I told him if he could get me in, I'd definitely come. Basically, the rest is history."
Fighting Irish track and field history, that is.
The "president emeritus" of the Walk-on Players' Union has got a new gig.
Former Irish cornerback Nick Lezynski ('11) was named today as the assistant secondary coach at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
A friend and classmate of mine, Lezynski earned his bachelor's degree in marketing last year, before returning to ND as a fifth-year student-athlete for the 2011 season.
Read more about his new position on the Crusaders' website.
WOPU Nation, continuing to do big things. Congrats, Nick.
- Josh Flynt ('11)
Following his untimely passing last week, many Notre Dame alums and fans sent their thoughts and prayers out to the family of Irish basketball great Orlando Woolridge ('81). On Friday, former teammate Marc Kelly ('82), now a Superior Court Judge in Orange County, Calif. made a special tribute to the 13-year NBA veteran.
After the bailiff introduced him, the Honorable Judge Kelly called his court into session with a few words about Woolridge. Here's the text from the official court reporter, Lisa Charboneau Peters:
Please remain standing for a moment of silence in honor of Orlando Woolridge, a dear friend and ex-basketball teammate of the court at Notre Dame, who sadly passed away last night at age 52.
Always smiling, Orlando was a world-class human being and one of the greatest athletes ever to put on a Notre Dame uniform.
He leaves behind a legacy that will endure among the many persons who had good fortune to meet him.
We pray for strength for his family and friends, and may he rest in peace.
Be seated and come to order.
All in all, a very nice tribute from one Irish teammate to another. Kelly served as the President of the Monogram Club from 2007-2009 and was a four-year walk-on with the Irish, before embarking on a career in law.
Read more on Woolridge's life and basketball career on UND.com.
Former Irish football standout and Super Bowl ring bearer Justin Tuck recently released his first book, "Home-Field Advantage."
The All-Pro has spent the last several days sharing the book with schoolchildren across New York. The book is based on Tuck's own childhood in Alabama, where he grew up with five older sisters.
The Giants star discussed the book on "The Dan Patrick Show."
"Growing up in rural Alabama I got a lot of stories that I felt would be both funny and in some ways educational to the demographic that I love the most, kids. Me and my wife are very passionate about kids and education. The book was a way of hopefully getting kids excited about reading. I love reading it to my son. Hopefully a lot of other parents out there will appreciate it and the kids will enjoy it and get a laugh out of it. Hopefully it's a turn on to get the kids starting reading."
Tuck has read the book for schoolchildren as part of his R.U.S.H. For Literacy foundation. He and his wife, Lauran, founded the charity in 2008 to "read, understand, succeed and hope." They are committed to raising funds for books and other reading materials to support children in the New York City and Central Alabama communities.
Following in the footsteps of Bil Scholl '79 (Ball State), Tom Bowen '83 (Memphis) and Danny White '03 (Buffalo), former Irish hockey player Forrest Karr '99, became the fourth Notre Dame alum to be hired for a new athletic director position in the past six weeks, when Northern Michigan University named him to that post earlier today.
Karr will begin his new gig in the Upper Peninsula (or the "UP" as Michiganders call it) on June 11. The one-time Irish MVP and Academic All-American takes over the Wildcats athletic program after serving in the same role at the University of Alaska Fairbanks since 2005. It's safe to say he should have no difficulty adjusting to the climate in Marquette.
Said NMU President David Haynes regarding Karr's hire:
Forrest Karr is a great fit to be NMU's athletic director. He comes into the position with outstanding leadership and management skills. He understands both NCAA Division I hockey and Division II intercollegiate programs, having been involved with both as a collegian and an administrator. He's been innovative and successful at UAF and has more than enough motivation and creativity to take Wildcat athletics to the next level of success. Forrest received tremendous support from all of the NMU groups that interacted with him during the interview process.
Read more on Karr on the NMU website.
Bowen, a theology and sociology major while at ND, was actually hired at Memphis on the same day Scholl was introduced in Muncie. The former San Jose State AD will also begin his new position next month.
- Josh Flynt ('11)
Day two is in the books... and game time is less than 14 hours away. After arriving in Massachusetts on Thursday, the Irish moved one day closer to their NCAA semifinal matchup with #1 Loyola.
On Friday morning, John Kemp, Kevin Randall and Sean Rogers accompanied Coach Kevin Corrigan on an early trip to Gillette Stadium, taking part in a video shoot and talking with ESPN's producer and commentators in preparation for tomorrow's broadcast.
Afterwards, the rest of team and coaching staff arrived at the stadium and spent a few minutes soaking it all in down on the field where Tom Brady & Co. play on Sundays.
The Irish headed back to their locker room, normally used by the visiting MLS team (Gillette Stadium is also home to the New England Revolution) to prepare for practice. They had about an hour on the field - stretching, running through some drills, and finishing up with a team favorite game - Eliminator.
Following practice, the Irish went to nearby Patriot Place, the shopping, dining and entertainment center adjacent to the stadium. The team hit up Tavolino's for box lunches, enjoying a variety of sandwiches, from crab cake to chicken parm.
From there, it was back to the hotel to relax for a bit, before heading to a team dinner in north Boston, and then returning to the hotel for a final film session focused on Loyola.
Saturday's game begins at 2:30 pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2/ESPN3, featuring the broadcast team of Eamon McAnaney ('91), Quint Kessenich and
Remember to like the Irish on Facebook and follow @NDlacrosse, @byrneirish and @fishtastik on Twitter for the latest as the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team goes after its first national championship.
- Josh Flynt ('11)
For the third time in its history, the Notre Dame men's lacrosse team is playing on Memorial Day weekend. With last Sunday's 12-10 victory over the defending champs and fifth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers, the Irish earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA semifinals - along with Loyola (Md.), Duke and Maryland.
The Irish left from South Bend Regional Airport earlier this afternoon, chartering a flight that included the team, training staff, Fighting Irish Digital Media and media relations crews, coaches and their families.
A clear day in South Bend was traded for a few clouds in Bedford, Mass., but nevertheless, a very nice spring day in New England. From the airport, it was off to Gillette Stadium for an NCAA banquet recognizing the four championship hopeful teams. A few of the Irish players were also part of a video shoot capturing footage to be used on the stadium's video board throughout the weekend.
The barbecue style dinner included chicken, brisket and pulled pork, as well as green beans, corn, salad, among other foods. For dessert, it was apple cobbler and vanilla ice cream. I'm really not sure we could have asked for a more American menu as we approach this Memorial Day weekend.
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was the keynote speaker and ESPN sportscaster Quint Kessenich emceed the event. McDaniels spoke about his experiences in the Super Bowl, explaining that winning championships is about the feeling players and coaches are able to enjoy on the field after the game, not the accolades, trophies and rings that accompany such victories.
Irish sophomore midfielder Ty Brenneman received the NCAA Elite 89 Award, recognizing his 3.782 GPA as a political science and economics major.
Traffic was a little crazy, but I suppose that should come as no surprise, being that it's the start of a holiday weekend. Tomorrow, the Irish head back to Gillette for a team walkthrough and a few ESPN interviews.
As the Irish inch closer to game day, stay tuned to Facebook.com/NDLacrosse (there are already many photos from today posted) and be sure to follow @ndlacrosse, @byrneirish and @fishtastik on Twitter for all the updates from Beantown.
- Josh Flynt ('11)
It hasn't even been a week since Becca Huffer ('12) graduated from Notre Dame, but as Tom Kensler of The Denver Post writes, the industrial design major is already prepping for her professional golf debut:
Becca Huffer left her college days behind this week when she packed up her belongings in South Bend, Ind., and made the 1,000-mile drive back home to Littleton.
Now, the new Notre Dame graduate said she is ready to begin the next chapter of her life as a professional golfer. And, not surprisingly, she picked next week's HealthOne Colorado Women's Open for her pro debut.
"I really like Green Valley Ranch," Huffer said of the state open.
The tournament will be held May 30-June 1. Read more about the recent Irish grad in Kensler's feature on The Denver Post website.