April 18, 2008
Game Notes Package in PDF Format (recommended for easy reading and enhanced statistical data)
79th Annual Blue-Gold Game
Presented by Home Run Inn Pizza
The Date and Time: Saturday, April 19, 2008, at 1:35 p.m. ET.
The Site: Notre Dame Stadium (80,795/natural grass) in Notre Dame, Ind.
The Tickets: Available through the Notre Dame athletics ticket office (574-631-7356). The cost is $12 for adults, $8 for youths (18 and under). Tickets purchased on game day will cost $15 for adults, $10 for youths (18 and under).
This is the 79th annual Blue-Gold football event, Notre Dame's final controlled scrimmage of the 2008 spring season.
THE PROCEEDS OF THE GAME
Proceeds from the Blue-Gold scrimmage benefit the scholarship fund of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, which is sponsoring Saturday's game.
Much of the Blue-Gold crowd typically has been of the walk-up variety on gameday. The attendance when the game has been played at Notre Dame Stadium has been routinely at least 20,000 fans -- with highs of 51,852 in `07, 41,279 in `06, 35,675 in '81, 32,071 in '86 and 29,541 in '90. In 1997, Notre Dame conducted a pair of Blue-Gold scrimmages at Moose Krause Stadium (capacity 9,700), drawing crowds of 8,240 and 9,241. Those spring games were moved to the smaller Krause Stadium while the expansion of Notre Dame Stadium was being completed.
THE PRE-GAME FESTIVITIESA special VIP Brunch ticket offers fans a full day of activities with the Irish, including joining the squad for its pregame meal. The brunch will be held at 9:00 a.m. ET in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (doors open at 8:15 a.m.). All those attending the brunch also will have access to an autograph session with the current players from 9:45-10:30 a.m. ET in the north dome.
There will be approximately 100 seats available in the Notre Dame Stadium press box where fans can have the same view as media covering Irish football. Fans seated in the press box receive a game program, as well as the same press box lunch fare served to media (hot dogs, soup, popcorn, soft drinks). The press box is available any time after 11:00 a.m. ET.
Finish on the 50 - a 5K fun run sponsored by Alumni Hall to benefit Hannah and Friends begins at 8:00 a.m. The race is open to students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary's and Holy Cross and finishes on the 50-yard line of Notre Dame Stadium.
A free-to-all interactive fan fest will take place from 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET in the Joyce Center South parking lot.
Former Notre Dame football players will take part in an alumni flag football game in Notre Dame Stadium at 11:30 a.m ET prior to the Blue-Gold contest.
All former Irish football players will be invited back for the weekend.
The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley will hold a silent auction of sports memorabilia on Saturday morning in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, in conjunction with the VIP brunch.
OTHER WEEKEND FESTIVITIESMen's Lacrosse vs. Quinnipiac - Friday, April 18 at 4:00 p.m. at School Field (528 S. Eddy Street, South Bend)
Fan Fest in the Joyce Center South Parking Lot - Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Football Alumni Flag Football Game in Notre Dame Stadium - Saturday, April 21 at 11:30 a.m. (A ticket to the Blue-Gold Game is required to attend)
The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley will hold a silent auction of sports memorabilia in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, in conjunction with the VIP Brunch.
Six Honorary Coaches Representing Six Decades Of Notre Dame Football For Blue-Gold Spring Game
One former Notre Dame football player from each of the last six decades will serve as honorary coaches for the 2008 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival, presented by Home Run Inn Pizza, Irish head coach Charlie Weis announced Wednesday, March 26. Jim Morse (`50s), Terry Hanratty (`60s), Greg Marx (`70s), Allen Pinkett (`80s), Bryant Young (`90s) and Ryan Grant (2000s) accepted invitations from Weis and will coach in the annual spring game.
The 2008 Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival, presented by Home Run Inn Pizza, will take place April 18-20 with the Blue-Gold Game kicking off Saturday, April 19 at 1:35 p.m. in Notre Dame Stadium. Tickets for the game are currently on sale at the Notre Dame ticket office and discounted general admission tickets are available at Michiana-area Meijer stores. Details for all weekend events including the football alumni flag football game and fun run to benefit Hannah and Friends can be found on UND.com.
Morse, a 5-11, 175-pounder from Muskegon, Mich., started at halfback for three seasons at Notre Dame (1954-56) and served as team captain as a senior in 1956. He led the Irish in receiving in both '55 (17 catches for 424 and three TDs) and '56 (20 for 442, one TD). His career all-purpose yardage total of 2,443 yards featured 12 TDs - including 208 career rushing attempts for 897 yards and five TDs, plus 1,102 more yards receiving. A 13th-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers, Morse owns Jetway Air Service in Muskegon. He has been a major benefactor to Notre Dame, contributing to among other projects, the Coleman-Morse Center and the Morse Recruiting Lounge at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Coleman-Morse opened in spring of 2001 and is a 64,000 square-foot building occupied by Academic Services, First Year of Studies and Campus Ministry. The Morse Recruiting Lounge is one of the signature features of The Gug and offers a beautiful view of campus while housing a bust of legendary coach Knute Rockne and 11 banners commemorating Notre Dame's 11 consensus national titles. Morse graduated in 1957 with a degree in communication.
Hanratty, a 6-1, 200-pounder from Butler, Pa., started for three seasons at quarterback (1966-68), helping the Irish to a national championship as a sophomore in 1966. He was a consensus All-American as a senior in '68, after winning third-team honors from the Associated Press as a sophomore. He threw for more than 1,200 yards in each of his three seasons and finished his collegiate career as Notre Dame's all-time passing leader (304 completions on 550 attempts for 4,152 yards and 27 TDs). He was a second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in '69. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a sophomore in `66, ninth as a junior and third as a senior in '68. Hanratty played seven seasons with the Steelers (helping them win the '75 Super Bowl) and one with Tampa Bay, while throwing for 2,510 NFL yards. A 1969 Notre Dame graduate, he is a trader with Sanford Bernstein & Co.
Marx, a 6-5, 249-pound defensive tackle from Redford, Mich., was a unanimous first-team All-American as a senior in 1972, earning mention on nine different All-America first teams as the Irish co-captain. A three-year regular on the Notre Dame defensive line, he made 82 tackles and broke up two passes as a sophomore starter in 1970 - then he was second on the team in tackles in '72 with 96, leading the team with six for lost yardage. He made 263 career tackles (24 for minus-105 yards) and broke up six passes. A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Marx earned post-graduate scholarships from both the NCAA and the National Football Foundation following his senior season. He played in the 1973 College All-Star and Hula Bowl contests - then was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1973 NFL draft. A 1972 Notre Dame graduate from the College of Arts and Letters, he went on to earn his law degree from Notre Dame in 1977. Now living in Northville, Mich., he's a pension consultant with Manufacturers Life Insurance.
Pinkett, a 5-9, 181-pounder from Sterling, Va., started for three seasons at halfback and ended his career as Notre Dame's all-time leading rusher. He topped the 1,000-yard mark each of his last three seasons (1983-85) and ended up with 889 career carries for 4,131 yards and 49 TDs. He also caught 73 career passes for 774 yards and three TDs. Pinkett set Notre Dame career records for TDs (53), rushing TDs, rushing yards per game (96.1), rushing attempts and points scored (320). Pinkett fished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior in '85, after finishing 16th as a sophomore. He won first-team All-America honors from Football News in both '83 and '85, captaining the squad as a senior in `85. He played six seasons with the NFL Houston Oilers (and one in New Orleans) after being drafted in the third round in 1986. He has served as color analyst for Notre Dame's football radio broadcasts the last seven years. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1986 with a degree in marketing and now works for The Hartford (life insurance).
Young, a 6-3, 285-pounder from Chicago Heights, Ill., started for three seasons at defensive tackle (1991-93), serving as an Irish captain as a senior in 1993. He earned first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1993 by the American Football Coaches Association and from The Sporting News, and second-team honors from both Associated Press and United Press International. He made 67 tackles and had 6.5 sacks as a senior in '93 and led the team in sacks and tackles for losses as a junior in '92. Young was a first-round pick (seventh overall selection) of the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and he played 14 seasons in the NFL before retiring after the 2007 season. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was named the '99 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, helped the 49ers to the Super Bowl XXIX title and retired as the 49ers' all-time sack leader with 89.5. He's a 1994 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in marketing.
Grant, a 6-1, 218-pound running back from Nyack, N.Y., became only the seventh player in Notre Dame history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season with his 1,085 yards as a sophomore in 2002. He currently stands 12th on the Notre Dame career rushing list with his 2,220 yards on 570 carries, with 18 TDs. He served as one of four Irish captains as a senior in '04. Grant signed as a free agent with the New York Giants, was traded to Green Bay just prior to the 2007 season, then rushed for 956 yards on 188 carries (5.1 average) with eight TDs (he also caught 30 passes for 145 yards while starting seven games). Grant had five-regular-season 100-yard games (including 156 yards vs. Oakland) in `07, then sparkled in Green Bay's first NFL playoff game with 201 rushing yards on 27 carries and three TDs. He's a 2005 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in sociology.
Irish Return 37 Monogram Winners and 16 Starters
Notre Dame opened spring practice with 37 returning monogram winners from last season - 20 on offense and 17 on defense. It was the most returning monogram winners since 2004 when the Irish had 44 lettermen return.
Sixteen returning starters from 2007 highlight the spring roster for the Irish comprised of nine offensive starters and seven defensive starters. The kicker and part-time punter also return on special teams. The nine returning offensive starters is the most since 2005 when Notre Dame returned 10 offensive starters while the seven defensive starters on the spring roster is the most since 2006 when the Irish returned nine defensive starters.
Three Players Return For Fifth Year
Notre Dame returns three student-athletes as fifth-year players in 2008 as DE Justin Brown, ILB Maurice Crum Jr., and CB Terrail Lambert all remain members of the team. Brown, Crum and Lambert will graduate this May and take graduate-level courses while exhausting their final season of athletic eligibility. The three fifth-year seniors is the fewest at Notre Dame since 1998 when the Irish had three fifth-year players.
Combined with the fourth-year seniors, Notre Dame has a total of 15 scholarship players in their fourth or fifth year with the team, the fewest since freshmen regained eligibility in 1972.
Football Trio Helping Irish Baseball This Spring
Three Notre Dame football players are also contributing this spring to the 29th-ranked Irish baseball team which currently is 23-9-1 and is in first place in the BIG EAST with a 10-2 record. Quarterback Evan Sharpley, punter Eric Maust and wide receiver Golden Tate have all played key roles this spring, albeit in different roles.
Sharpley leads the team in home runs (7) and slugging percentage (.728) and ranks fourth in batting average (.346) and runs batted in (23). Maust has been the top pitcher this spring and leads the Irish in earned-run average (2.23) while posting a 3-1 record with five games started. Tate has been used as the fourth outfielder recently and is batting .275 and has four RBI and three stolen bases.
Sharpley will miss the Blue-Gold Game as the baseball team plays a three-game set at West Virginia this weekend. Both Maust and Tate will play in today's game, however, Maust will board a plane following the scrimmage to fly to Pittsburgh. He'll then drive two hours to Morgantown, W.V. as he is scheduled to be the starting pitcher in Sunday's finale.
Irish Return Experienced Offense
When Notre Dame takes the field this fall, the Irish will have nine returning starters on offense, the most at Notre Dame since 2005 when the Irish returned 10 starters. Few teams will enter the `08 season with a more experienced offensive attack. In fact, according to Phil Steele, only 11 teams out of the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision will enter 2008 with more returning starters than the Irish:
11 Returning Offensive Starters: Ball State, Florida International
10 Returning Offensive Starters: Arizona, Buffalo, BYU, Connecticut, Fresno St., Idaho, North Carolina, Temple, Texas Tech
9 Returning Offensive Starters: Baylor, Florida Atlantic, Iowa, Northern Illinois, NOTRE DAME, Ohio State, Penn State, Rice, South Florida and Wyoming
Clausen Claws His Way Into Freshman Record Book
Quarterback Jimmy Clausen had a memorable freshman season at Notre Dame as he placed his name throughout the Irish record book for freshman quarterbacks. Clausen started his first collegiate game in the second week of the season at Penn State, the earliest a Notre Dame signal caller had ever started. Clausen went on to start eight more contests and place himself in the top three of many statistical categories.
Clausen shared the school record for starts by an Irish freshman quarterback, equaling Blair Kiel's and Brady Quinn's previous mark of nine starts. The 10 games he appeared in was the third-most by a Notre Dame quarterback behind Quinn (12) and Kiel (11). Clausen ranked second on the attempts (245), completions (138) and yards (1,254) lists behind Quinn (332 attempts, 157 completions, 1,831 yards) and only Matt LoVecchio completed a higher percentage of passes. Clausen's seven TD passes were just behind LoVecchio (11) and Quinn (9).
Kamara Is Catching On
Notre Dame wide receiver Duval Kamara enjoyed a breakout season in 2007 as he posted some of the best receiving totals by a freshman in school history. Kamara finished his first year with 32 receptions for 357 yards and four touchdowns. He set a pair of Notre Dame rookie receiving single-season records with his 32 catches and four touchdown receptions.
Crum Named To Lott Trophy Watch List Again
Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum Jr. is among 42 of the top defensive players in the nation to be named to the 2008 Lott Trophy Watch List.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, The Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its fifth year, The Lott Trophy is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
Sponsored by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, the award is given to a player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Crum, a 6-0, 235-pound senior from Riverview, Florida, ranked third on the Irish with 84 tackles a year ago. He enters the 2008 season with 241 career tackles and needs 54 stops to enter Notre Dame's top-ten list for career tackles. Crum has totaled 17.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in his Irish career and is on pace to become the ninth Notre Dame defender to reach 300 career tackles.
Crum, who was named to the 2007 watch list, is one of seven repeat nominees. The other players nominated for a second straight year are Crum, Jonathan Casillas of Wisconsin, Brian Cushing of USC, Zack Follett of Cal, Nic Harris of Oklahoma and Darryl Richard of Georgia Tech.
David Pollack of Georgia won the initial Lott Trophy in 2004. DeMeco Ryans of Alabama won the award in 2005, Daymeion Hughes of Cal was the recipient in 2006 and LSU's Glenn Dorsey claimed the honor last year. Georgia, Alabama, Cal and LSU each received $25,000 for their general scholarship funds. In four years, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation has donated over $450,000 to various charities, including the three universities.
Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, The IMPACT Foundation Board of Advisers comprised of many retired NFL players and Master Coaches, a distinguished group of former head college coaches.
The winner will be announced at a gala black-tie banquet at The Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Ca. on December 14th, 2008.
Crum Close to Cracking All-Time Tackles Top-10 List
Senior Maurice Crum Jr. enters the 2008 season with an opportunity to join a very select crowd at Notre Dame. Crum currently has 241 career tackles and needs 54 stops this season to move into a tie for 10th all-time with Greg Collins. The fifth-year senior from Tampa, Fla. would become the ninth Notre Dame player to total 300 tackles if he can record 59 stops this year.
Last year, Tom Zbikowski became the eighth player to hit 300 tackles as Zbikowski did so in his final collegiate game. If Crum were to join the 300 club, it would mark the first time since Tony Furjanic and Mike Kovaleski in 1985 and 1986 that the Irish had players reach the 300-tackle plateau in consecutive seasons.
Walls Of Defense
Cornerback Darrin Walls enjoyed his best season at Notre Dame last year starting 11 of the 12 games and recording career-highs in every statistical category. Among the career-best numbers were the nine pass breakups, which tied for the team-high honors, and 10 passes defensed (breakups + interceptions).
The nine pass breakups tied Pat Kuntz for team-high honors and were the most by an Irish defender since Bobby Taylor recorded nine in 1993. Walls' 10 passes defensed tied for the sixth-most in school history and were the best single-season total since Shane Walton recorded a school record 14 (seven interceptions and seven pass breakups) in 2002.
Ian Williams Named 2007 Freshman All-American
Notre Dame nose tackle Ian Williams (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lyman) was named to the 2007 AON Insurance Freshman All-America Team, the Football Writers Association of America announced Jan. 7 during the association's annual awards breakfast.
Williams finished his first season with 45 tackles, including 19 solo stops and 1.5 tackles for loss. He played in all 12 contests and started the final two games of the season for the Irish. Despite playing primarily as a reserve for much of the year, Williams ranked sixth on the team in tackles and was the only player ranked in the top-12 in tackles on the team who did not start at least four games.
He was one of six true freshmen named to the defensive unit on the FWAA Freshman All-America Team and was one of 13 of the 28 freshman All-America selections who was a true freshman this season.
Williams was named to the CollegeFootballNews.com all-freshman third team and was an honorable mention member of The Sporting News all-freshman team.
The FWAA Freshman All-America Team and First-Year Coach of the Year Award were selected by a group of writers led by FWAA vice-president Mike Griffith of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Both true freshmen and redshirt freshmen were considered for the team.
Allen In Irish Record Books Already
Halfback Armando Allen wasted little time etching his name in the Notre Dame football record books as he set two single-season school records in his freshman season. Allen broke the school record for total kickoff returns in a season and most kickoff return yards and already ranks seventh in career kickoff returns.
Notre Dame Celebrates a Century of Success
Over the last 100 years, no team in college football has been as successful as the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have the most wins and best winning percentage of all teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A).
Since 1908, Notre Dame has won 743 football games, one more than Alabama and six more than third-place Texas. The Irish have an overall winning percentage of .741 in the last 100 seasons while Ohio State ranks second at .731 and Michigan is third at .730.
2008 Schedule NotesFor the 18th consecutive year, NBC Sports will televise all home games nationally from Notre Dame Stadium.
Purdue (38th appearance at Notre Dame, 34th at Notre Dame Stadium), Michigan (17th at Notre Dame, 14th at Notre Dame Stadium) and Stanford (12th, all at Notre Dame Stadium) all last played at Notre Dame in 2006.
Syracuse will be making its first trip to South Bend since 2005, for its sixth all-time game against the Irish, its third in South Bend.
Pittsburgh will be playing at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 2004 -- and its 29th time overall.
San Diego State and Notre Dame will be meeting for the first time.
Six of the '08 Notre Dame opponents played in postseason bowl games following the 2007 season - Michigan (won Capital One Bowl), Michigan State (Champs Sports Bowl), Purdue (won Motor City Bowl), Boston College (won Champs Sports Bowl), Navy (Poinsettia Bowl), and USC (won Rose Bowl).
The only road game with a confirmed kickoff time is the Nov. 15 Notre Dame-Navy game in Baltimore, Md., with a noon EST start (CBS Sports will televise).
Please note that South Bend observes Eastern time (including DST) all year around. In 2008, daylight time ends and standard time begins on Nov. 2.
Irish Open '08 Campaign on Rare Winning Streak
Notre Dame currently is riding a two-game winning streak and opens the 2008 campaign with the longest winning streak to start a season since 1993. The Irish won the final seven games in 1992 and then won the first 10 games of the '93 season. Last year, Notre Dame defeated Duke and won at Stanford to close out the season. Eighteen of the 22 players who started in those two games return for the Irish this year.
Campaign '08 Will See Irish Cover All Corners of Country
The Fighting Irish will see almost as much of the United States as the presidential candidates in 2008 as the six road games have the Irish playing in almost every region of the country. Notre Dame will play in red states and blue states as well as undecided states and even at Michigan State.
Notre Dame will accumulate some serious frequent flyer miles as it will travel 5,652 miles during the '08 season. The only bus trip for the Irish is the first road game of the season at Michigan State. The Sept. 20 tilt will count a paltry 157 miles towards the overall mileage. The longest trip is the Thanksgiving weekend venture to Los Angeles, which at 1,815 miles just edged Seattle at 1,808 miles for top honors.
Notre Dame Stadium Set to Host 200th Consecutive Sellout
Notre Dame opens the 2008 season at home for just the third time in the last eight seasons and the Irish will be playing in their 200th consecutive sellout. The streak started Sept. 28, 1974 against Purdue when the capacity of Notre Dame Stadium was 59,075 and will continue Sept. 6, 2008 with a packed house of 80,795.
San Diego State serves as the opponent and will be playing the Irish for the first time. The Aztecs will be the 47th school to appear at Notre Dame Stadium during the current capacity crowd streak. Navy and USC, predictably, have appeared the most times at Notre Dame since 1974, each playing 17 games against the Irish, while Michigan State and Purdue have each made 16 trips to the "house that Rockne built."
Weis To Visit U.S. Troops In Middle East This May
Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis will take part in a first-of-its-kind tour this May when he travels with four other college football coaches to the Middle East to meet with members of the United States military.
Weis will participate in meet and greets at various military bases throughout the Middle East from May 20-26 as well as coach flag football teams made up of servicemen and women. He will also take part in a symposium, allowing audience members to ask questions.
"I am honored to be selected to a group of collegiate football coaches to visit our troops in the Middle East the week leading up to Memorial Day," said Weis. "My family and I believe this to be a small way to thank and support our troops for defending our country. As a proud Notre Dame alumnus, I consider this trip to be a privilege and I'm looking forward to this with great anticipation."
The Irish head coach will be joined on the tour by Mark Richt (University of Georgia), Randy Shannon (University of Miami), Jack Siedlecki (Yale University) and Tommy Tuberville (Auburn University).
Morale Entertainment is organizing the tour in association with Armed Forces Entertainment. This is the first tour involving NCAA football coaches and Armed Forces Entertainment. A television concept for the tour is being developed by Morale Entertainment in conjunction with Big Dog Productions. Broadcast details will be released at a later time.
Armed Forces Entertainment is the lead Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. Founded in 1951, Armed Forces Entertainment brings a touch of home to more than 500,000 troops annually, embracing the best of Americana that stretches across all genres of entertainment. Visit www.armedforcesentertainment.com for more information. To learn more about NCAA head coaches participating in this tour, please visit www.coachestour2008.com.
Notre Dame Football Team Eclipses 3.0 GPA For Fifth Straight Semester
Members of the 2007 University of Notre Dame football team combined to post a semester grade-point average above 3.0 during the '07 fall semester, marking the fifth straight semester (and the first five times in recorded history) that the Irish football team has topped the 3.0 GPA level as a group.
Fifty-one of the 94 players registered at least a 3.0 mark for the '07 fall semester and 15 of 25 starters (including punter, placekicker and long snapper) earned at least a 3.0.
"I'm very pleased that our football team has earned this distinction for a fifth consecutive semester," head coach Charlie Weis said. "We are truly committed at Notre Dame to what the priorities of a student-athlete should be. Excelling in the classroom and graduating in four years are just two examples of that. I'm very proud of our team and am appreciative of all the effort put forth by them and our academic services department."
The Irish were led in the classroom and on the field by two second-team Academic All-Americans, tight end John Carlson and defensive lineman Trevor Laws. Both Carlson and Laws were enrolled in the graduate studies program at Notre Dame during the fall semester after earning their undergraduate degrees in four years and receiving their respective diplomas last May.
Statistics for the semester cumulative GPAs of the football team were not kept prior to 1992, but before Weis' arrival in 2005, the previous best semester cumulative GPA was 2.911. Beginning with the '05 fall semester, the Irish football team has recorded over a 3.0 combined GPA in each semester.
Weis' first team in 2005 surpassed the 3.0 mark for the first time ever with a 3.044 combined GPA in the fall semester of '05. At that time, that marked the highest figure ever attained by the football team. Then, the Notre Dame players followed that up with a combined and unprecedented 3.072 mark in the spring semester of '06. The fall semester of '06 saw the Irish football team post a 3.041 cumulative GPA and 61 of the 104 players achieved at least a 3.0 during that semester. In the spring of `07, Irish players improved on that and recorded a 3.043 combined GPA.
The football team was also named co-recipient of the 2007 Academic Achievement Award from the American Football Coaches Association. The Irish shared the honor with Northwestern University after both schools graduated 95 percent of the freshman class that entered in 2001-02. Weis will accept the award in Anaheim, Calif. on Jan. 7, at the annual AFCA Convention.
Three Former Players And One Former Coach Make Hall Of Fame Ballot
The names of three former Notre Dame football all-stars -- Tim Brown, Dave Casper and Jim Seymour - along with former Irish head coach Lou Holtz appear on the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) ballot released this week. The ballot contains names of 75 players and eight coaches vying for induction in 2008.
The ballot hit the mail to the more than 12,000 members of the NFF and College Hall of Fame whose votes will be recorded and submitted to the Foundation's honors court, which deliberates and is responsible for selecting the class. The honors court, an 11-member panel chaired by Gene Corrigan (former Notre Dame athletic director, Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner and NCAA past president) and also including former Notre Dame associate athletic director and sports information director Roger Valdiserri, is comprised of athletics directors, conference commissioners, Hall of Fame coaches and members of the media.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced later this spring and then inducted at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame's 51st Awards Dinner in December at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
To be eligible for the ballot, players must have been chosen first-team All-America by a major/national selector as recognized and utilized by the NCAA for their consensus All-America teams, played their last year of intercollegiate football at least 10 years prior, played within the last 50 years and be retired from playing professional football. Coaches must be out of the college coaching profession for at least three years, coached a minimum of 10 years and 100 games as a head coach, not be coaching on the professional level and have won at least 60 percent of their games. In both cases, the candidate's post-football record as a citizen may also be weighed.
Once nominated for consideration, all player candidates are submitted to one of eight district screening committees, depending on their geographic location, which conducts a vote to determine who appears on the ballot and represents their respective districts. Each year, 15 candidates not selected for the Hall of Fame are named automatic holdovers and bypass the district screening process and automatically appear on the ballot the following year.
Notre Dame And ISP Join To Produce Football Radio Network
The University of Notre Dame and ISP Sports, have approved a new, 10-year business partnership in which ISP will become the new exclusive national rights-holder for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts.
The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season -- with ISP managing, producing and syndicating Notre Dame's national football radio network.
ISP, the largest collegiate-only sports marketing firm in the country, represents athletics marketing and multi-media rights for more than 40 Division I-A universities, five major conferences (including two Bowl Championship Series conferences, the BIG EAST Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference) and two postseason football bowl games.
ISP takes over for Westwood One, which had held Irish football radio rights since 1968, originally as the Mutual Broadcasting Company.
"The rapidly changing faces of the various media make radio a critical element in our overall game plan when it comes to exposure and public relations for Notre Dame athletics and, in this case, Irish football," said athletics director Kevin White.
"As we spent a full year assessing the marketplace, we're convinced that ISP has become and will continue to be the pre-eminent stakeholder when it comes to sales and marketing within collegiate athletics.
"Ben Sutton (ISP chairman and CEO) and his staff work solely in the collegiate market, and they are extremely passionate about their dedication to the college game.
"We're grateful to Westwood One for all it has done to help us grow Notre Dame football. We're even more excited about the prospect of further growing the radio portion of the business in partnership with ISP."
"This partnership represents a milestone for our company," Sutton said. "We could not be more pleased to have such a distinguished university, and an athletic program of such rich tradition, as part of our family of schools. We are honored by the confidence that (Notre Dame president) Father (John) Jenkins, Kevin White and their outstanding staff have expressed in us by allowing ISP to represent the Fighting Irish."
ISP has named Ron Murphy the general manager for the Notre Dame ISP Sports Network. Murphy brings over 30 years of advertising sales and management experience, having worked for several notable companies such as CBS, Yankee Entertainment and Sports (Y.E.S.) and FOX Sports Net.
Murphy joins ISP's team of more than 250 professional sales people dedicated to the collegiate market, with relationships with more than 800 radio stations (and more than 100 television stations) around the country.
Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., ISP has nearly 50 sales offices around the country. Sutton founded the company in 1992. Among ISP clients are seven ACC athletic programs (Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest), five from the BIG EAST (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse, Villanova), five from the Southeastern Conference (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt) and three from the Pacific-10 Conference (California, UCLA, Washington). In 2007, the BIG EAST Conference and ISP announced a six-year agreement involving virtually all conference marketing and sales.
Notre Dame remains the only college football program to have its games broadcast on a truly national radio network of linear stations. Joe Boland, former sports director at WSBT in South Bend, originated the Irish Football Network in 1948. In 1956, the Mutual Broadcasting System first carried Notre Dame games on approximately 560 stations. From 1958-67, the ABC Radio Network carried Irish games on a similar-sized network. Mutual began carrying Notre Dame games again in 1968 (that year with 253 affiliates). Mutual eventually became Westwood One (now a publicly held company managed and partly owned by CBS Radio).
LOCAL YOUTHS EARN SCHOLARSHIPS
The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley annually distrubtes scholarship money to area seniors that will attend the University of Notre Dame. The following list is of those students who will receive scholarship aid from the club.
Name High School
Devin Blankinship Elkhart Baptist
Thomas Everett St Joseph's
Joshua Foster Tippecanoe Valley
Amanda Gray Mishawaka
Christine Hamma Clay
Christina Konkey Riley
Kevin McShane Trinity
Rocio Miramontes Penn
Edward Murphy St Joseph's
Ryan Richter St Joseph's
Phillip Salvador Clay
Mitchell Speer St Joseph's
Laura Talboom Adams
Nickolas Winovich Penn
Hanna Yang Penn
-- ND --