Jan. 17, 2014
What do you find if you walk into the office of a University of Notre Dame head coach? What's on the walls that provide some insight into the past, the interests or the philosophies of each of those individuals? During the 2013-14 athletic season, we'll take you into each of those offices and show and tell you about some items of significance and why they are meaningful.
Athletic accomplishments, academic accomplishment, personal recognition and a little motivation thrown in for good measure--you'll find all that and more in the Joyce Center office of University of Notre Dame women's cross country coach Tim Connelly.
There are BIG EAST Conference women's cross country championship plaques from 2012, 2003 and 2002.
There are smaller plaques that signify that Connelly's women's cross country squad produced the best semester grade-point average among Irish athletic squads in the fall of 2012 (3.487), fall of 2004 (3.490), the fall of 1999 and the fall of 2003.
There are coach-of-the-year plaques dating all the way back to honors won by Connelly from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994.
To the right of his desk, are framed plaques about teamwork and another that reads, "Don't Quit."
And that's only the start of the list for a Notre Dame head coach who has been on staff for 25 full seasons through 2013-14.
What else will you find in the environs of the 1983 Notre Dame graduate, who also coaches women's long-distance runners through the indoor and outdoor track season? There's plenty to see:
A clock earned as champion of the 2003 Crusader Invitational.
Two photo collages from the 1993 NCAA-qualifying cross country season.
A team photo of the 2002 BIG EAST women's cross country team.
Plaques representing the 2009 NCAA Great Lakes Region title and 2002 and 2003 NCAA Regional team championships.
Three color photos of former Irish distance standouts Lindsey Ferguson (2009 All-American in cross country), Molly Huddle (2002, 2003 and 2005 All-American) and Lauren King (2001, 2002 and 2003 All-American).
"I try to rotate those shots every few years. And I've got a bunch of other great pictures so I guess I need to get some more frames," says Connelly.
Two Mondo NCAA Division I regional coach-of-the-year plaques.
More hardware representing the 2002 NCAA women's cross country third-place finish, Connelly's 2009 United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Great Lakes Region Cross Country Coach of the Year, BIG EAST women's cross country titles in 2002 and 2003, along with the 2007 BIG EAST women's outdoor track and field crown.
Waiting to be hung is a large framed color photo of that Notre Dame 2002 NCAA women's cross country third-place team led by Huddle.
There's also a bright blue-and-gold-painted flower vase, made some years ago by Connelly's daughter Ali (now a soccer midfielder at West Virginia University).
"She made that when she was in kindergarten," says Connelly.
Throw in another close-up shot of Connelly and Huddle taken by Huddle's mother.
And don't forget the large montage of the Notre Dame golden dome plus action shots of the 2005 Irish runners who finished seventh in the NCAA Championships, as presented to their coach by the team members.
Connelly is hard-pressed to identify what's most interesting of the collection.
"Actually most of the photos I have displayed were given to me by the team over the years. There are some conference plaques and some recognizing our team grade-point average, but this isn't all of them.
"I keep saying I'm going to do a better job of getting things framed and match the frames, but it doesn't always work out that way.
"There are pictures of a lot of great kids from our teams over the years--they bring back some great memories from our program."
With yet another NCAA Championships team invitation in 2013, Connelly hopes those memories keep on coming for some years to come.
-- John Heisler, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations