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    Justin Tuck, Brick Strong

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    Not that you needed another reason to like the former Irish DE #44, but check out this recent ESPN feature as Rachel Nichols examines the friendship between the Giants defensive end (Notre Dame '05) and a young fan who died following a battle with leukemia.

    Following Flynt - McCarthy to Sign With Chiefs

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    Former Irish safety Kyle McCarthy ('09) announced this morning via Twitter than he will be signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Youngstown, Ohio native has spent the past two seasons with the Denver Broncos, along with fellow Notre Dame graduates David Bruton ('09) and Brady Quinn ('07).

    While at Notre Dame, McCarthy started all 25 games during his senior and fifth-year seasons. During his final season with the Irish, he led the team in tackles (101) and interceptions (five).

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    Judging by McCarthy's Twitter background and profile picture, the future Kansas City Chief's heart, like that of so many other alums, will always be with Notre Dame.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

    Hear It From a Student - Lefty Fest

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    When Charles "Lefty" Smith came to South Bend in 1968 as the first varsity hockey coach, his process to build a program was much more difficult than people in the modern era can realize.

    "It was very exciting when they first came to town, actually he and (assistant coach) Tim McNeill both had to start many things here," described Lefty's son Michael Smith. "No one knew how to manage an ice rink at all. They had to teach the Zamboni drivers how to drive the Zamboni around the rink. They had to show them how to lay the concrete floor."

    "So they had to go through all the rink management, the coaching, and then they had to do public skating and promote that because they had to bring skating to South Bend. They had to launch a figure skating club. They launched the Irish Youth Hockey League, and then they also had to run P.E. classes."

    Lefty worked at the University for more than 43 years before his retirement several weeks ago. He coached the hockey team for 19 years, earning WCHA Coach of the Year honors in 1973.

    The Monogram Club dedicated last weekend to memorializing Smith's life, legacy, and impact in the wake of his passing Jan. 3 at the age of 81. More than 40 of his former players came to Notre Dame in support of his family and to participate in the weekend's events, which centered around the weekend series against Bowling Green.

    "I think everybody knows what he meant to the program as far as the history of the program," head coach Jeff Jackson said. "I'm just grateful that our staff and our team will have the opportunity to spend some time with the Smith family since we didn't have that opportunity when he passed away because we were on the road."

    The program that Lefty started in 1968 has recently reached new heights, competing in the Frozen Four twice in the last four years. In October the team moved from the Joyce Center to the brand-new Compton Family Ice Arena.

    The man who led the genesis of the modern hockey program may have built his teams at the Joyce Center, but his name has since been immortalized on the ice of Compton. Since the opening matchup against RPI, the Irish have played all home games on Lefty Smith Rink.

    "My mom passed away about 26 months ago, she was able to see the recognition that it would be named for him and it was just - she was thrilled for him. We were all thrilled and honored. It was a huge thing," Lefty's daughter, Cheryl Ake, said. "He ate, breathed and lived Notre Dame. So for him to have something named after him on this campus is a huge thing for him and for us as a family."

    The rink was named after Lefty Smith because of a donation made by the family of John Boler, who wanted to memorialize the former coach and family friend.

    "My dad and myself and my sister - we had been talking forever about wanting to do something for Lefty," said John's son, Matt Boler. "He made an impact on so many people in so many different ways beyond hockey. He's just really a tremendous man. Our view is - and mine in particular as an alum of the University - those are the kind of guys the university should celebrate."

    Lefty's seven children were on the ice to drop the puck on Friday night, and a video commemorated Lefty's legacy during the first intermission. The next game, the Boler family was honored before the game, and all Lefty's former players who came to South Bend for the weekend came on the ice for the intermission.

    The weekend was reminiscent of one of the reunions Lefty would hold while he was coach. Like those reunions, Saturday featured an alumni game for the former players who returned to campus.

    "One of the key things for him was always camaraderie that he had with his former players. It was very tight, very close," Michael said. "In his era of the 19 years he was here, he would have a reunion. And those guys would bring their families back and everything for the reunion. Very often with reunions you see the guy alone, but they brought the families along, so it's all about the families for them and the memories that they had together with them."

    "It was part of the tradition to have an alumni hockey game and then having a dinner on the last night. My dad always was the final speaker of the night to wish them well and thank them for coming and being a part of his life. So it's something really unique and special for all of us."

    The events gave the Irish players the chance to meet with Smith's family, especially at Saturday night's reception at O'Brien's, the CFIA restaurant. Former players mingled with current athletes to cap the weekend.

    "It's great for the program," said sophomore forward T.J. Tynan. "Obviously Lefty built the program from the ground up, and it's great to get to meet his family and all the guys that played for him and just get to know the guys that made history here at Notre Dame."

    All the current Notre Dame players now compete in the upper echelon of the sport in a premier arena, much in thanks to the foundation Lefty laid and the generosity of people like the Bolers.

    "Now it's an opportunity for us to have an absolutely state-of-the-art facility - great for the players and recruiting, and really wonderful for the fans," Michael said. "When Dad had the chance to really see it and they asked him to come over and paint his name on the ice, he had tears in his eyes."

    Although "Lefty Fest" was only one weekend, the iconic coach will be remembered long after those two days. Future generations of Irish players will skate on the rink that bears his name and, more importantly, for the program that he built.

    - Craig Chval ('15)

    Williams Weathering Basketball Storm With Faith

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    montywilliamsformer.jpg SI.com - Monty Williams walks where no NBA coach has walked before. He leads a New Orleans team that is owned by the league and shaped by the commissioner. He guides a club that began training camp with only five players under contract and today boasts nine new faces. He coaches a squad that endured seven days of near trades, a vetoed deal and collapsed proposals before All-Star point guard Chris Paul was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    In exchange, Williams received a new team: Extreme Makeover, Hornets Edition. With the departure of Paul and leading scorer David West to Indiana, the franchise lacks star power. With the arrival of new bodies and spare parts, the Hornets have gained lottery power. The Paul trade allowed the team to clear cap space, secure an unconditional first-round pick in June, add young shooting guard Eric Gordon and build for the future.

    But Williams doesn't intend to wait. "We don't feel like we are starting over," he said after Gordon, Chris Kaman and Al-Farouq Aminu arrived from the Clippers. "We plan on winning and we plan on winning big."

    If the Hornets win big with their current roster, Williams will be in Coach of the Year contention. New Orleans has lost 11 of its first 14 games, hobbling. Gordon has missed 12 games with a bruised knee; Trevor Ariza missed eight with a strained groin before returning Wednesday against Memphis. He led the Hornets with 18 points, but New Orleans lost its fifth straight. Through Wednesday, the Hornets rank 28th in three-point shooting (27.5 percent) and 28th in scoring (86.7 points per game).

    Williams faces challenges beyond shooting and scoring. There's no playbook for a team without a human owner. There's no manual for moving forward after a trade saga like Paul's. "I've never seen anything like this," Williams said.


    The New Lou (Part II)

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    6_160670.jpg ND.edu - (Editor's note) When the Brian Kelly era began two years ago, it got Ted Mandell ('86), Notre Dame professor of Film, Television and Theatre, thinking. The more he thought about Notre Dame's 29th head football coach, the more he thought he saw the second coming of Lou Holtz. Now, last week's announcement that Kelly had been offered and had accepted a two-year extension of his contract through the 2016 season has triggered another Mandell epiphany.

    I saw that BK got a two year extension, and I thought, Hmmm, after two seasons is he still the New Lou?

    Well, let's see ... Brian Kelly has the exact same record after 26 games as Lou Holtz (16-10).

    At the conclusion of Holtz's second season (1987), the greatest receiver in ND history (Tim Brown) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.

    At the conclusion of Kelly's second season (2011), the greatest receiver in ND history (Michael Floyd) finished his ND career on the sideline during the fourth quarter of a bowl game loss against a top defensive foe.

    Timothy Brown and Michael Floyd both have exactly 12 letters in their names.

    Louis Holtz and Brian Kelly both have exactly 10 letters in their names.

    After two years, Holtz replaced his defensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.

    After two years, Kelly replaced his offensive coordinator with a position coach on staff and hired a new offensive line coach.

    Notre Dame finished the 1987 season 8-4.

    Notre Dame finished the 2011 regular season 8-4.

    In 1987, Notre Dame beat #17 Michigan State 31-8, highlighted by two kick returns for touchdowns by Tim Brown, future Oakland Raider.

    In 2011, Notre Dame beat #15 Michigan State 31-13, highlighted by a kick return for a touchdown by George Atkinson III, son of a former Oakland Raider.

    In 1987, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-13.

    In 2011, Notre Dame beat Navy 56-14.

    In 1986 and 1987, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 90 points.

    In 2010 and 2011, Notre Dame had 10 losses by a total of 88 points.

    In 1987, Bon Jovi's "Livin on a Prayer" spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard Charts.

    In 2011, Jon Bon Jovi spent two minutes on the field at Notre Dame Stadium as the ND Band played "Livin on a Prayer."

    The live recording of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" was first released in 1987.

    The studio recording of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" was first played live inside Notre Dame Stadium in 2011.

    And just in case you're wondering for season three ...

    In 1988, Notre Dame defeated four teams ranked in the Coaches' Poll Top 10.

    In 2012, Notre Dame plays four teams ranked in ESPN.com's preseason Top 11.

    Meet the New Lou ... same as the Old Lou.

    Q&A With Tim Brown

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    NCAA.com - Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, set two single-game, nine single-season and eight career records during his time at Notre Dame and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection was drafted sixth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles (Oakland) Raiders. Brown serves as the national chairman and spokesperson for Athletes and Entertainers for Kids and 9-1-1 For Kids. Each year, Brown hosts the Tim Brown Charity Golf Classic to benefit 9-1-1 For Kids, and the Mentor Mini Camp at the Raiders' headquarters for fatherless boys.

    The Silver Anniversary Award honors former student-athletes and distinguished individuals are recognized on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Brown and fellow recipients Doris Burke, Kevin Johnson, Sean Payton, Amy Perko and David Robinson were honored Jan. 13, 2012, during the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis.

    Q: What would you say was your top academic achievement at Notre Dame?

    Brown: ...The one thing I love about Notre Dame is the fact that we didn't stay in the athletic dorms, we lived with the other students. I have to tell you I learned more from the students there.

    One of my best friends ended up being a kid from China, Tony Lee. We are still best of friends today. I don't think I would have gotten that anywhere else...There was only one other athlete in the whole dorm that I was living in so I think from that standpoint, yes, we talk about the education and what a great academic school, but for me what I took away from it was all the different relationships from people all over the world literally. I'm just so thankful that I had that experience.

    Q: What was life like on campus for you as a student-athlete?

    Brown: ...We were literally student-athletes there. We were required to sit in the front rows of classes. There was never a situation where it was okay for us not to go to class or it was okay if we did [bad] on tests or anything of that nature. Your freshman year you were required to get tutoring; after that it's if you need it. After my freshman year I didn't need any more tutoring by the time we finished practicing.

    We had no special anything there besides a training table and they had to feed us, right? Everyone was already done with dinner by the time we finished practicing. Besides that we really had nothing on campus that set us aside and the great thing about that is you don't walk out of there thinking somebody owes you something, or looking for somebody to give you something. Everything that you earn in life, you are going to earn in life. That's what they teach you there. When something goes wrong, you can't go pointing fingers at other people. It's all about you.

    Q: While you were at Notre Dame how you did find a balance between sports, your studies and community involvement?

    Brown: It's just a part of the atmosphere; it's how it is...When I won the Heisman I can remember Jim Nantz interviewing me and he asked some questions. He said, "A lot of people think that because you went to the University of Notre Dame, it helped you get to this position of possibly winning the Heisman Trophy." [They were interviewing the candidates before.] I said to him, "Jim, I didn't go to the University of Notre Dame to win the Heisman Trophy. I went there to get a great education; if it helps me win the Heisman Trophy than that is just icing on top of the cake for me."

    Q: What expectations does Notre Dame hold for student-athletes?

    Brown: If you are student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame, you are expected to do great things. Not good things, you are expected to do great things. You go to that university because you have all these contacts and all these things that are accessible to you and it's up to you to utilize them in the proper way. The great thing about what the university does, it doesn't put you in a position where you are going to walk away from that place used to people handing you stuff...

    Q: Why is giving back important to you?

    Brown: You're in a position for a reason...God put you in a position for a reason and you have to give back. I was on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1996 for athletes and celebrities who had given back. Not for how many touchdowns I've caught, not for the Heisman Trophy, but for celebrities who are doing philanthropic work. I told her, and it's what I say all the time, "At the end of the day I sleep a lot better at night because I know I tried to change somebody's life in a very positive way."

    Q: How did you get involved with Athletes and Entertainers for Kids?

    Brown: ...I went to a miniature golf tournament for at-risk kids in Southern California and that was it. That was 1992. I took over the next year in '93. We did a couple of miniature golf tournaments and then for the last 18 years we've done [we still count the miniature golf tournaments], but we've done a full golf tournament for 18 years. We expanded from that to 9-1-1 Kids, teaching kids proper use of 911. Then we expanded from that to the Tim Brown Mentor Mini Camp and that's really my baby. The Mentor Mini Camp. That's the one event that I have opportunity to [I have 150 to 175 fatherless boys out there] and I get a chance to really put my hands on them, rub 'em on the head, shoot 'em a couple of elbows and let them know somebody cares for them. It's only one day. I understand that, but we try and hook them up with mentor dads in hopes that those mentor dads will keep in touch with these kids. That's a program that I can't wait for every year because that's the one that, like I said, I really, really feel good about.


    The Counsell Rests

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    counsell.jpgAP - Milwaukee Brewers infielder and former Notre Dame baseball player Craig Counsell has decided to retire and join the club's front office.

    The Brewers said Tuesday that Counsell will become special assistant to General Manager Doug Melvin. Counsell is a Milwaukee native and follows his father into the Brewers' front office. John Counsell worked there from 1979-1987.

    The 41-year-old Counsell completed his 15th major league season last year. His last five seasons have been spent in Milwaukee. Playing second base, shortstop and third base, Counsell compiled a .255 batting average with 218 doubles, 40 triples, 42 home runs, 647 runs and 390 RBI.

    During his baseball career, Counsell played for the Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Brewers.

    Counsell says he's looking forward to beginning a new challenge in baseball.

    30 Under 30

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    weiss.jpgFormer Irish baseball player Brent Weiss ('05) recently was named to Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" list for field of finance. Said the magazine of the 29-year old employed at Brotman Financial: "Started off pushing paper for the $90mm firm. He passed the CFP exam in seven months and became the firm's second partner in 2011.

    Weiss joined Brotman Financial Group in 2005 as an associate. Last January, Weiss became a principal of the firm. His primary role is delivering financial planning and wealth management for the firm's clients.

    Weiss graduated with cum laude honors from Notre Dame in 2005 with a degree in finance and was part of the Irish squad that advanced to the NCAA Men's College World Series in 2002. Weiss started his second term as a board member of the Notre Dame Club of Maryland in June of 2010. He is the acting Monogram Club Coordinator for the Maryland Club and Region 12 of the Alumni Association, serving as a liaison between the local chapter and the University's national network of athletes.

    Timmy!

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    Former Notre Dame football player and 2012 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award Honoree Tim Brown shares how his experience as a student-athlete helped developed his passion for serving others.

    The Silver Anniversary Awards recognize distinguished former student-athletes on the 25th anniversary of the end of their intercollegiate athletics eligibility.

    Our Trainer Has a Second Name, It's M-E-Y-E-R

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    394277.jpeg On Saturday morning, the Notre Dame men's basketball team will play its 18th game of the season, fifth of the BIG EAST schedule, and fourth contest of the young year. For athletic trainer William "Skip" Meyer, this weekend's matchup with Connecticut will be a much more significant milestone - his 1,000th game with the Fighting Irish.

    Meyer joined the Irish in 1979, a year when gas was 80 cents per gallon, the Pittsburgh Pirates were World Series champions and The Sugarhill Gang broke through with "Rapper's Delight," the first popular hip-hop song in the United States.

    Since coming to Notre Dame, Meyer has worked with four head coaches, including Digger Phelps, John MacLeod, Matt Doherty, and current Irish head coach Mike Brey. The Fighting Irish have compiled a 609-390 record during Meyer's time as a trainer.

    Here are a few more by-the-numbers statistics from Meyer's time with the Irish:

    45 Consecutive Home Wins ... in the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center beginning with a win over DePaul on Mar. 4, 2006 and ending with a loss to UConn on Jan. 24, 2009

    29 Current Home Winning Streak ... which began with a victory over Pittsburgh on Feb. 24, 2010

    21 Players who have entered the NBA ... Matt Carroll, LaPhonso Ellis, Pat Garrity, Luke Harangody, Ryan Humphrey, Tracy Jackson, Tim Kempton, Joe Kleine, Rob Kurz, Bill Laimbeer, Troy Murphy, John Paxson, Chris Quinn, David Rivers, Donald Royal, Tom Sluby, Keith Tower, Kelly Tripucka, Gary Voce, Monty Williams, Orlando Woolridge

    15 NCAA Tournament Appearances

    14 BIG EAST First Team All-Conference Selections ... Garrity (2x), Murphy (2x), Humphrey, Carroll, Quinn, Colin Falls, Russell Carter, Kyle McAlarney, Harangody (3x), Hansbrough

    9 Consensus All-Americans ... 1st team: Murphy (2x), 2nd team: Tripucka, Paxson (2x), Garrity, Harangody (2x), Hansbrough

    6 U.S. Presidents ... Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama

    5 BIG EAST Conference Players of the Year ... Garrity, Murphy (2x), Harangody, Hansbrough

    3 University Presidents ... Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C, Rev. Edward A. "Monk" Malloy, C.S.C., Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

    3 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships ... Paxson, Garrity, Tim Andree

    2 BIG EAST Conference Rookies of the Year ... Murphy, Chris Thomas

    As if game No. 1000 weren't already exciting enough for Meyer, the 33-year Notre Dame veteran is a native of Torrington, Conn., located only about 60 miles from the UConn campus in Storrs.

    Just one more reason an Irish victory over the Huskies would be a perfect start to what looks to be a snowy Saturday in South Bend.

    - Josh Flynt ('11)

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