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A New Home

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While our student-athletes have been working hard in preparation for the start of the fall season, we've also made a few improvements in anticipation of the new school year.

From this point forward, Irish UNDerground will be utilizing the Wordpress platform powered by NBC Sports.

Here's a look at our three new blog websites:

UNDerground: Notre Dame Athletics

Strong and True: Notre Dame Football

Irish United: Notre Dame Men's and Women's Soccer

Go ahead and bookmark these now. With features, videos, photos, commentaries and news from inside the athletic department, we are committed to bringing you coverage of Notre Dame athletics unlike any you can find elsewhere.

Get ready. 2012-13 is going to be an exciting year to be Irish.

The Other "Mike and Mike"

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Big O Salute

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USC forward Renaldo Woolridge honors his father, the late Orlando Woolridge ('81) with a nice musical tribute. Orlando passed away last month at the age of 52.

A Tribute to Orlando Woolridge

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Orlando Woolridge (1959-2012)

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.

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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.

Hansbrough: An NBA Hopeful

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As he watched his brother Tyler and the Indiana Pacers make a run at the Eastern Conference Finals, Ben Hansbrough ('11) thought back to his days playing basketball in the backyard.

In a recent feature for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Colin Stephenson writes about Hansbrough's quest to join his brother in the NBA next season:

Ben Hansbrough was one of 21 players invited by the Nets to take part in the minicamp, and it was his second time working out for the Nets. Last summer, the former Notre Dame point guard, who was the Big East player of the year as a senior in 2011, attended the Nets' workouts for rookies.

The 6-3 Hansbrough, who averaged 18.4 points per game and shot 43.5 percent from 3-point range as a senior at Notre Dame, went undrafted last summer, and ended up playing in Germany and Slovenia. He said he was hampered by a bad ankle injury suffered during an individual workout in Indianapolis just before the NBA combine. He said he chipped a bone and tore two tendons in his left ankle.

Read the rest of Stephenson's article on NJ.com.
Earlier today, Danny White ('02) was named the new Director of Athletics at the University of Buffalo. White, the son of former Notre Dame AD Kevin White, played basketball for the Irish after transferring from Towson following his sophomore year. A graduate of the Mendoza College of Business with a bachelor's degree in business administration, White currently serves as senior associate athletics director at the University of Mississippi.

Here's a snippet from UB's on the latest addition to the Bulls' team:

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A rising star in intercollegiate athletics, the former Notre Dame basketball player and New Orleans native has quickly ascended the ranks of college athletics leadership.

His many accomplishments include notable success in raising funds for programs at major universities, including the University of Mississippi and California State University, Fresno, and coaching and serving as an administrator at Mid-American Conference members Ohio University and Northern Illinois University. At Ohio, he helped lead the men's basketball team to a Mid-American Conference championship victory and an NCAA tournament berth.

Visit Buffalo's website for more on Danny's new opportunity. You can also follow him on Twitter at @UBDannyWhite.

Hanging By A Moment

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Following a particular college or university is a pastime for all sports fans as they go through their stages of adolescence. Whether it be where their parents went, where they live or just an obsession with a particular team for no apparent reason, all fans share random, common bonds with people who may be miles away.

As a child I grew up watching the 'Old Ball Coach' roam the sidelines for the Florida Gators (dad's alma mater), Tom Coverdale run the point for the Indiana Hoosiers (childhood team) and Autry Denson and Jarious Jackson run the option for the Irish (location). As I got older, the times and games I remembered turned in to moments in which to this day I have not forgotten.

Moments are what make us as sports fans keep coming back for more, albeit there were just over 28,000 paying customers in attendance at Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle's perfect game in 2009, as time goes by there will be 100,000 people claiming they were at Comiskey Park (I have and always will call it by this name) that day. I am not a fan of this particular Chicago area sports team, yet I will always remember where I was and whom I was with when this great moment took place.

I have many great and historic moments that I remember from the past 20-some years I have been a fan of Notre Dame. I have recollections that I would rather forget (Jackson's safety against LSU in 1998 in which he hurt his ankle and was out the following week) and those in which I wish I could relive over and over (Notre Dame women's basketball team taking down #1 UConn in 2001 at the Joyce en route to the program's first NCAA title). For both of those games, I remember where I was (Jackson's injury - celebrating Thanksgiving in Indianapolis, women's basketball vs. UConn - at game behind basket in first row).

This past athletic season had a fair share of 'Notre Dame Moments' in which I was able to witness; here are my top five ...

5. Frank Dyer, The All-American Guy
NCAA Men's Swimming Championships
March 24, 2012

In the 53 years of men's swimming at Notre Dame, the Irish have accomplished a lot - five BIG EAST Championships, five BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors and over 50 all-BIG EAST honorees - yet they had never had any swimmer garner national All-American recognition, until Frank Dyer's swim in Federal Way, Wash., this past season.

Dyer had been training all year long for the opportunity to make his mark in Notre Dame swimming lore. On a Friday evening in late March, he got his opportunity. As he stepped upon the blocks in the 200 freestyle finals, Dyer had the weight of the entire program on his back and he didn't disappoint.

The gun went off and just one minute and 34 seconds later, Notre Dame had its first All-American, Frank Dyer.

4. Freeby Calls Bull's Shot
Baseball vs. Pittsburgh
March 23, 2012

It may not have been George Herman Ruth calling his shot or even Jake Taylor, but Notre Dame baseball radio announcer Chuck Freeby opined between innings on the broadcast that the Irish would defeat the Panthers in the bottom half of the ninth inning on a home run from freshman Ryan Bull.

What happened next was truly amazing as Bull hit his first career home run at the exact time in which Freeby 'called it.'

3. Squeezing The Orange
Men's Basketball vs. #1 Syracuse
January 21, 2012

On a cold January day, the Irish, with a record of 11-8, welcomed the undefeated Syracuse Orange into Purcell Pavilion for a BIG EAST conference clash. As the game wore on, Notre Dame played more like the Harlem Globetrotters to Syracuse's Washington Generals.

Building a lead as big as 18 points, the Irish went on to win 67-58 in front of a sold-out crowd. This was the eighth time that the men's basketball program had knocked off the top-ranked team in the AP poll in its history.

2. Big Shot Britt
Women's Basketball vs. Connecticut
April 1, 2012

In the fourth meeting on the season between the two squads, the teams went back and forth throughout much of the game.

The Irish squandered a five-point lead late to find themselves down two with just under-10 seconds to play when Skylar Diggins drove the length of the court and put up a runner in the lane, the attempt would miss and fall in the hands of senior Natalie Novosel. After gathering the rebound, Novosel put the ball up on a reverse lay-up, to see the ball drop with just a few seconds left on the clock to send the game to overtime.

The Irish found themselves down, three, early in overtime. That's when senior Brittany Mallory, who was shooting 1-11 in NCAA Championship play prior, was found in the corner for an open three, which she calmly drained.

After a rebound on the defensive end, Diggins quickly pushed the ball up the court and again found Mallory on the wing for another trey. The clutch play from their scrappy, sharpshooting senior would catapult the Irish to their second NCAA Championship game in as many years.

1. The Dedication Game (Holy War on Ice)
Hockey vs. Boston College
November 18, 2011

Taking part on the Friday night before their respective football teams clashed in the 'Holy War' on the gridiron, the hockey squads took to the ice for the 'Dedication Game' of the 50-million dollar Compton Family Ice Arena.

The sold-out crowd of 5,022 was treated to one of my favorite moments of my time at Notre Dame as the longtime tenor for the Chicago Blackhawks, Jim Cornelison (an Indiana University graduate), bellowed the National Anthem and kicked off a night full of moments.

This 'Notre Dame Moment' looked like something right out of the third Mighty Ducks when Bryan Rust capped off the game with a sudden-death victory goal with just 1.1 seconds left in overtime to give the Irish the 3-2 win.


These are just a few of the great Irish athletics moments from the past year. Every particular moment has its key players - Ryan Bull, Brittany Mallory, Frank Dyer - but the big question in sports has always been, "how will history remember you?" I'm sorry to say to all the athletes out there, it's not always your full athletic body of work that gets you remembered, sometimes it's just that one 'moment' where everything seems to come together and 20 years from now everyone is still talking about it, and all of Irish nation claims to have been there in person.

As the ghost of George Herman (Babe) Ruth told Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez, "Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die."

- Aaron Horvath

ND Youth Sports TV: Irish Experience League

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"I just have one thing to say to Tim - 'You're huge!'"

"Kenneth - King of the Front Handspring"

Through the Irish Experience League the Notre Dame community takes the fun, spirit and values inherent in Notre Dame Sports to the community. Volunteers include varsity student-athletes, faculty, staff and students as the Notre Dame family grows stronger through community building in South Bend.

Learn more about the Irish Experience League at youthsports.nd.edu.

Inside Leprechaun Tryouts

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It's only mid-April, but on Friday evening, the Notre Dame cheerleading squad hosted a football pep rally in The Pit at the Joyce Center. Actually, there were several mini rallies as seven Notre Dame students tried out to be the shillelagh-holding, green-clad face of the Fighting Irish.

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Hundreds of students (and even a few Notre Dame Coaches Clinic participants) came out to the basketball practice facility in support of their friends and classmates trying out to be the next Notre Dame leprechaun.

Events like this that remind you of the passionate spirit of the Notre Dame student body. Homemade t-shirts, thunderstix, but mostly good, old-fashioned cheering made for a great atmosphere, and had everyone thinking about football season (which by the way, is 137 days away).

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The tryouts began with each of the seven leprechaun hopefuls leading the crowd through a mock pep rally for the Purdue game, the first home football contest on the 2012 schedule (Sept. 8, 3:30 pm ET, Notre Dame Stadium - mark your calendar).

Outgoing senior, or perhaps leprechaun emeritus Mike George emceed the event, putting the competitors on the spot and asking them to 'introduce' famous Notre Dame personalities as guest speakers - everyone from two-time Super Bowl champion Justin Tuck ('05) to women's basketball head coach Muffet McGraw.

George also presented each of the leprechauns with a scenario - the band has finished playing, the fans are waiting, the team has yet to arrive and the pep rally is broadcast nationally on NBC. How are you going to keep everyone entertained?

Afterwards, WNDU sports reporter Angelo Di Carlo grilled each student in a mock live interview, asking if the Irish can return to football dominance and why he or she should be selected as the 2012-13 leprechaun.

The Fighting Irish expect to light up the scoreboard this fall, so of course, the tryouts concluded with a push-up contest.

After the team of judges deliberated for a couple hours on Friday evening, junior Bryce Burton was selected as the new Gold Squad leprechaun for football and men's basketball. Burton was the Blue Squad leprechaun this past year, cheering for soccer and women's hoops.

Sophomore Johnny Romano will take Burton's place on the Blue Squad and junior Louis Ganser will cheer for the new Green Squad.

All in all, a great evening at The Pit, and a nice promotion for the leprechaun who helped cheer Coach McGraw's squad all the way to the national championship game in Denver. Check out an interview with Burton on WNDU.

- Josh Flynt ('11)

Tim Andree Takes Dentsu To New Heights

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Tim Andree ('83) played basketball for head coach Digger Phelps from 1979-83.

Today, Andree works in TriBeCa where he leads global operations for Dentsu. Headquartered in Japan, Dentsu is one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.

His son, Tim Jr. ('10) followed in his footsteps, attending Notre Dame and earning a walk-on spot on the basketball team.

Andree was recently featured in a profile by Kunur Patel for Advertising Age. The article focuses on the work he has been doing with Dentsu, but also includes some background on his basketball career. Here's an excerpt:

He no longer plays ball because of a bum knee, but his love for the sport is palpable on a rainy Wednesday evening at Madison Square Garden, where a somewhat damp Mr. Andree miraculously folds himself into a stadium seat. (He travels without an umbrella. He says he's never found one big enough.)

Tim Jr., 23 and the oldest of six, is also at the game. He too played basketball for Notre Dame, and his college roommate Luke Harangody, now a Cleveland Cavalier, is playing the home team. Spectators making their way to their seats eye the elder Mr. Andree curiously, searching his face, trying to determine whether he's a retired basketball star.
Click here to check out the rest of the article.

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