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Student-Athletes Volunteer In Alabama

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ndmurphbama.jpg AL.com - A group of University of Notre Dame student-athletes and administrators wrapped up a week of volunteering in tornado relief Thursday on a fall break service trip organized by Notre Dame and the University of Alabama.

The trip, called Fight for Tide, brought 24 students and six administrators to Tuscaloosa to work in collaboration with Project Team Up, an initiative to rebuild communities partnered with Nick Saban's foundation Nick's Kids.

Students representing the Notre Dame baseball, cross country, cheerleading, fencing, men's golf, women's lacrosse, rowing and track and field teams were selected for the trip based on essays they wrote.

Sarah Smith, program coordinator for student athlete welfare and development at Notre Dame, said the idea to help Tuscaloosa began with a former Notre Dame employee who currently works in the ticket office at Alabama. He emailed the athletics office at Notre Dame and asked them to collect relief supplies that Alabama would pay to ship.

Smith, who is originally from a town an hour away from Joplin, Missouri, began to come up with an idea of a service trip when students started talking over the summer about going to down to Tuscaloosa to help.

"I just kind of ran with the idea and started calling people to see if it would be a possibility, and people started wanting to support it and make it happen," Smith said.

After arriving Saturday, the group has worked at two sites in Alberta City, clearing storm debris on lots where new houses are planned to be built. They also met with Alabama athletics director Mal Moore and went on the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, had dinner with Notre Dame's Alabama alumni club at Dreamland, attended Mass with students at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish on the Alabama campus and toured the baseball and softball facilities.

On Thursday, at a site just off University Boulevard on 21st Avenue East, Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy and several players joined the group from Notre Dame in clearing debris from destroyed houses and carrying limbs to the street.

Notre Dame baseball player Tommy Chase said the experience changed his perspective on the important things in life.

"I look at this as a great opportunity to help where there's a need," Chase said. "We get caught up at school doing a lot things for ourselves, whether it's in sports or in the classroom. Those are all great things, but it's revolved around our own needs and goals. Being able to come down here and help others is really important for my own personal development, but also I want to hopefully inspire this community in some way."

Notre Dame sophomore cheerleader Erin Garfield took time away from her team to travel to Tuscaloosa because the fall break gave her time to join the service trip. On Saturday night, she'll be cheering on the sidelines as the Irish face USC in South Bend.

"It's just been a great experience all around, hearing all these stories from people who experienced the tornado and getting to meet all these amazing people, Garfield said.

Alabama sophomore softball player Ryan Iamurri said she was glad to share the experience of volunteering in Alberta City with the students from Notre Dame.

"When you live here, you kind of get back in your normal routine, and if you don't cross this bridge (to Alberta), you forget what it's like," Iamurri said."It was so nice of them because we realize there's still so much more to do. To come out here with them is special."

Tradition at Notre Dame

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How We Do What We Do

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typewriter.jpgWhen you consider all the technology available today, it's downright amazing to think how archaic athletic communications were just a few short years ago.

Need the latest University of Notre Dame football statistics? They'd be calculated and typed by hand on a manual typewriter (eventually the "big innovation" IBM Selectric typewriter came along), reproduced and mailed on Sunday nights and maybe you'd receive them via ordinary mail by Thursday.

Need them quicker than that? The hit commodity in technology in the 1970s was the Xerox Telecopier (a facsimile machine) that required either four or six minutes (depending on how clear you wanted the type to read) to send a single page of copy to another Telecopier on the other end.

If a media representative out of town needed your entire news release, depth chart and stats, it might take an hour or more to send it all.

Breaking news happening on one of the Irish athletic fields? There was no simple way to communicate it. Pick up the telephone and dictate. Call media outlets one at a time to alert them about a hiring or press conference.

Three technology advances changed everything in the sports information world everywhere - cell phones, the Internet and e-mail.

For years the joke around the Notre Dame athletic offices was that the Irish quarterback on a given day might break his leg and - given that practices were closed to the media - there was some chance no one would find out until the next day.

There was no texting, no Facebook - maybe no way for the word to get out other than old-fashioned word of mouth.

The World Wide Web prompted the offering of athletic sites like und.com that debuted in 1995. In the beginning sites like Notre Dame's offered strictly the basics - mostly what was available via traditional press releases. There was no video in the "early days," and media members weren't yet routinely carrying computers or laptops. So, quite often, the plea to media to utilize school sites for time-sensitive items like statistics went unheeded.

About that same time, cell phones changed the face of telecommunications. When current athletics staffers consider all the detailed scheduling and adjustments that go into, for example, a weeklong stay for a postseason bowl game, it's hard to imagine how those events ever occurred without cell phones. The Orange Bowl provided some new contraption-style portable phones to Notre Dame reps one year, but they looked more like walkie-talkies than the current variety and they didn't exactly fit in your pocket.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

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annual.report.jpg

Click HERE
(or on the sweet women's soccer national championship trophy in the photo above)
to view the 2010-11 Notre Dame Athletics Annual Report

Daily Dish - 9.14.11

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3887207.jpeg- The men's golf team concluded the Gopher Invitational in third place after firing a final round 307 (+19) at Spring Hill Golf Course in Wayzata, Minn. ... individually, Max Scodro led the way for the Irish after posting a 219 (+3) score ... the Irish entered Monday's final round holding a four-shot advantage over Arkansas, but could not hold on to the lead as the Razorbacks rode a final round 299 (+11) to secure the title at 16-over par (880) for the three rounds.

- Four traditional home indoor meets highlight a 24-meet indoor and outdoor track and field schedule that head coach Joe Piane released recently ... the Meyo Track plays host to four meets during the indoor season including the Blue & Gold Invitational (Dec. 2), Notre Dame Invitational (Jan. 21), Meyo Invitational (Feb. 3-4) and Alex Wilson Invitational (March 2-3) ... the Meyo Invitational, including the famous Meyo Mile race, will be held for the 26th time ... the BIG EAST Indoor Championships are scheduled for Feb. 18-19 in New York, N.Y. ... the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships will be hosted by South Florida May 4-6 in Tampa, Fla.

- Head coach Tim Welsh recently announced the release of the men's swimming and diving 2011-12 schedule following an extremely beneficial and successful summer for the program ... the season's rather traditional schedule begins Oct. 14 with the 47th edition of the Dennis Stark Relays at the on-campus Rolfs Aquatic Center ... the first half of the schedule comes to an end when Irish student-athletes will compete at the USA Winter Nationals (Dec. 1-3), Iowa Invitational (Dec. 2-4) and Ohio State Invitational (Dec. 2-4) ... this year's BIG EAST Championships will be held at Pittsburgh's Trees Pool ... the diving portion spans from Feb. 10-12 and the swimming events take place from Feb. 15-18.

- Head softball coach Deanna Gumpf announced the upcoming fall and spring schedules for the Fighting Irish, which includes 15 home dates at Melissa Cook Stadium for the 2012 campaign ... in addition, Notre Dame will play host to the BIG EAST Conference Championship for the first time since 2007 ... Notre Dame also hosted the league championship in 1998, 2005 and 2006.

- Two members of the women's lacrosse team - Meredith Locasto and Kelly Driscoll - have been selected to the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) academic honor roll for the 2011 campaign ... the two Irish players were among a group of 187 Division I women's lacrosse juniors and seniors with 3.5 grade-point averages or better or ranked in the top 10 percent of their team to be honored by the coaches' association ... the Notre Dame team also was among 56 Division I institutions to earn Academic Squad honors ... as a team, the Notre Dame had a 3.238 grade-point average ... Locasto graduated summa cum laude with a degree in accountancy from the prestigious Mendoza College of Business following her junior year, earning the top grade-point average among all Irish women's lacrosse juniors and seniors with a 3.967 grade-point average for the 2009-10 school year ... Locasto completed her master's of science with a 3.856 GPA.

- The Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game will feature a pre-game flyover by two USAF A-10Cs ... the national colors will be presented by Richard A. Nussbaum II, president of the Notre Dame Monogram Club, an attorney in South Bend and a member of the University's Board of Trustees ... he will be accompanied by his wife, Mary Pat ... they will be joined by three members of the women's basketball team who led the United States to the gold medal this summer in the World University Games - Devereaux Peters, Natalie Novosel and Skylar Diggins ... just before kickoff more than 80 representatives of the 1966 Notre Dame national championship football team will be introduced as they return for their 45th reunion ... at halftime the women's basketball team will be recognized for its 2011 NCAA runner-up finish, as will head coach Muffet McGraw for her 2011 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction.

I Am An American

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Donald O'Connor is the co-founder of Compulsive Pictures and father of Notre Dame softball infielder Kasey O'Connor ('12). A resident of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., Donald shares his account from Sept. 11 and the following days with Irish UNDerground.

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A couple of days after Sept. 11 my company was asked to participate in a public service announcement to promote tolerance and remind people that we are all Americans. Because the airports were closed, the creative director of GSD&M, an advertising agency in Texas, rented a car and had to drive home to New York from a client meeting several states away.

During his long ride, he heard a report on the radio that a person working in a gas station was beaten just because they were of Middle Eastern decent. He then decided to put together the "I am an American" project.

A variety of directors were to go out, interview people and have them say on camera " I am an American". I believe six different directors took part in the project, including the world renown documentary film maker, Albert Maisles. It was all shot one week after that horrible day, but I have to tell you it was one of the most moving experiences in my life. Everybody pitched in. The crew all worked for free, The equipment was donated. Nobody wanted anything out of it. We were just trying to help in our own way.

We started the day on the Brooklyn Promenade, which is directly across the East River from downtown Manhattan. We started at sunrise and since the idea was to just stop people in the street and ask them to be filmed, we needed to make sure we had some people to start with at that early hour.

I brought my daughter, Kasey, and my niece, to be used in the first shot of the day. The eerie thing about that morning was that when we filmed the people on the Promenade, it didn't look real. It looked like there was a backdrop behind us because everything was hazy from all the smoke that was still in the air. It is an old film trick to make fake backdrops look more real by adding smoke or a white netting to defuse a painted backdrop. But this was no painted canvas. This was real. The pile of rubble that was once the World Trade Center was still smoldering and a layer of smoke was still thick in the air even though it was a week later.

There were make shift shrines with candles burning all around and we filmed Kasey and her cousin in front of one of those. After we were done with Kasey, the crew walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and stopped people as they were walking over the bridge to go to work. We traveled that whole day by foot because the traffic was so bad in the city they were asking people not to drive, especially in downtown.

That day we walked all over Manhattan and filmed a priest down the block from Ground Zero. He had traveled up from the south to see if there was anything he could do to help.

We met firemen and policemen, we went through the city to different shrines that were set up. Past the bulletin boards with notes from people looking for information on their missing loved ones. People in restaurants would stop us and feed us. Never asking for anything - just trying to help out people who were trying to do something good. We talked with dozens of volunteers, some of them widows of the fallen heroes.

The whole New York community bonded together in those days after Sept. 11 like I have never seen it before or since.

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Editor's note: "I am an American" was tabbed as a historic campaign by the Ad Council.

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Event Calendar

October 15
6:30 PM
Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 16
5:15 PM
Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 16
5:30 PM
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Va. (Thompson Field)

ESPN3/RSN
WatchESPN
October 16
7:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Alumni Stadium)

ESPN3
Watch ESPN
October 16
12:00 PM
Wisconsin Invitational
Madison, Wis. (Thomas Zimmer Cross Country Course)
October 16
7:00 PM
Duke
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

WatchND
October 16
7:00 PM
Penn State
University Park, Pa. (Pegula Ice Arena)

Live Stats
October 17
7:30 PM
USC
Notre Dame, Ind.

NBC
Game Week Central
October 17
9:30 AM
Intrasquad Scrimmage
Notre Dame, Ind. (Frank Eck Stadium)
October 17
3:00 PM
Penn State
University Park, Pa. (Pegula Ice Arena)

WatchND
October 18
1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Notre Dame, Ind. (Purcell Pavilion)

ESPN3
Watch ESPN
October 19
All Day
Cardinal Cup
Cardinal Club, Louisville, Ky.
October 20
7:00 PM
Northwestern
Bridgeview, Ill. (Toyota Park)
October 20
4th, 286
Cardinal Cup
Cardinal Club, Louisville, Ky.
October 21
7:00 PM
Louisville
Louisville, Ky.

ESPN3
Watch ESPN
October 22
7:00 PM
North Carolina
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Fetzer Field)

ESPN3
October 22
All Day
ITA Midwest Regional Championships
Notre Dame, Ind. (Eck Tennis Pavilion)
October 22
TBA
ITA Midwest Regional Championships
Ann Arbor, Mich. (Varsity Tennis Center)
October 22
All Day
Notre Dame Invitational
Waterville, Ireland (Waterville Golf Club)

St. Joseph Health System Medifast Delta Canon Visit South Bend Mishawaka