Athletics News

Chris Zorich Joins Notre Dame Athletics Staff

June 3, 2008

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former University of Notre Dame football All-American and recent College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chris Zorich has returned to the University and joined the Irish athletics administration as manager of student welfare and development.

In that role, he will work with Notre Dame assistant athletics director Charmelle Green in the student welfare and development area. He will be responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing programs designed for student-athletes in areas that include academic excellence, athletic success, personal development, community involvement, and career preparation and development. He also will direct Notre Dame's summer sports camps programs -- including scheduling, integration of housing, food service and facility requirements. He will establish and oversee camp enrollment, registration procedures and database management.

A 6-1, 266-pound nose tackle who played football for the Irish from 1988-90, the Chicago, Ill., product won the 1990 Lombardi Award as the top lineman in the country. He was a two-time consensus All-America selection in 1989 and 1990 and a unanimous first-team All-American as a senior in '90.

Zorich started at nose tackle in 1988 on Notre Dame's national championship team, making 70 tackles plus 3.5 sacks for minus-17 yards. In 1989 he was named United Press International Lineman of the Year and College Lineman of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Washington, D.C. He also was a finalist for the 1989 Lombardi Award.

As a senior in 1990, Zorich was chosen CBS Sports/Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy. His career totals included 219 tackles (21 for minus-56 yards).

Captain of the Irish football team his senior year, he also helped the Irish win a record 23 straight games in 1988-89, was MVP of the Orange Bowl in 1991 against top-rated Colorado, and was a member of the Walter Camp Foundation's College Football All-Century Team (2000).

In 2007, Zorich was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, as one of the best defensive linemen to have ever played the collegiate game. Not only was he one of the youngest players to ever be inducted, he is only the third defensive lineman from Notre Dame to call the College Football Hall of Fame home. He will be enshrined in July at the Hall of Fame in South Bend.

Drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears in 1991, he played with the Bears through '96, then played the last half of the '97 season with the Washington Redskins.

Chairman of the Chris Zorich Foundation in Chicago, he graduated from law school at the University of Notre Dame in 2002. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies in 1991. While attending the Notre Dame Law School, he served clients at the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic, a non-profit organization designed to provide free legal assistance to those with minimal resources.

Upon graduation, he worked for the Chicago law firm of Schuyler Roche, P.C. for four years, working in the business enterprise and estate management practice areas. He also held the titles of community outreach and marketing consultant for the firm.

Recognized for his fierce commitment on and off the playing field, Zorich has received a score of athletic and community service awards including the following: selection as an alternate for the 1993 NFL Pro Bowl, the 10th Anniversary "All-Madden Team," two-time NFL Man of the Year finalist, the NFL Players' Association's Byron "Whizzer" White Award for Community Service, and USA Weekend's "Most Caring Athlete." He received the Jesse Owens Foundation's "Humanitarian Award" from the family of the late Olympic great Jesse Owens, as well as Muhammad Ali's limited commission "Humanitarian Award." He also has received honorary degrees from East West University, Northwestern Business College, St. Xavier University, and Governors State University.

In 2008, Zorich was appointed to The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, an organization that serves as a watchdog group for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and seeks to reform various issues including recruiting, gender equity, and academic eligibility. He also has served as a board member for various non-profit organizations including the Chicago Public Library, the Big Shoulders Fund, the Joffrey Ballet, Special Children's Charities, and Urban Prep Academies. He was a member of the Board of Trustees at Lewis University and the Illinois College of Optometry.

In 1993, The Christopher Zorich Foundation (www.chriszorich.org) was established to honor Chris' mother, who passed away his senior year at Notre Dame. The Foundation's programs offer diverse community support:

  • The Zora Zorich Scholarship bestowed annually at the University of Notre Dame and Lewis University.
  • Youth programs providing cultural, educational and entertainment activities.
  • Thanksgiving grocery home deliveries to 1500 Chicagoans.
  • Women's recognition on Mother's Day through flower and cosmetics deliveries to various women's shelters.
  • Holiday gift programs providing gifts and matching sponsors with disadvantaged children and families.
  • These combined programs have assisted over 150,000 individuals.

    In 1998, the University of Notre Dame commissioned the Christopher Zorich Award to recognize the contributions of student-athletes to the University community and the community at-large.

    A nationally-acclaimed motivational speaker, Zorich for three years co-hosted "Bears Extra," a live weekly television show dedicated to the Chicago Bears. He was also an analyst for Comcast SportsNet's coverage of the Chicago Bears. For two years he hosted "PrepsPlus," the Midwest's highest-ranked high school sports television show. He has also moderated various town hall meetings on a variety of topics including race and gender issues, the influence of sports in our society and the influence of drugs on America's youth.

    -- ND --

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