Aug. 20, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The 11 consensus national championship football seasons at the University of Notre Dame are now honored as part of the fourth Notre Dame Stadium gate to feature the history and tradition of the Irish football program.
Oversized replicas of championship rings representing all of those 11 teams are now on display at Gate E of Notre Dame Stadium. Above each ring is a display that includes the names of the head coach and team captains, plus game-by-game scores from that season. The championship seasons represented are 1924, 1929, 1930, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1966, 1973, 1977 and 1988.
The Gate E rings and displays are part of a multi-year plan to theme the five entrance gates to Notre Dame's home football facility. They were created by Lou Cella, senior sculptor of Timeless Creations, Inc., a division of the Rotblatt-Amrany Fine Art Studio in Highland Park, Ill.
Cella created the statue of former Detroit Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell at Comerica Park in Detroit, and he also did the sculpture of Father Theodore Hesburgh and Father Edmund Joyce (former Notre Dame president and executive vice president) just south of the Hesburgh Library on the Notre Dame campus. He also created the national championship coaches display that opened last season at Gate D of Notre Dame Stadium.
The national championship display at Gate E is the fourth of the Notre Dame Stadium gates to be finished, following the Heisman Trophy display at Gate B that opened in 2005, the All-America display at Gate A that opened in 2006, and the national championship coaches display at Gate D that opened in 2007. Funding for all the themed gates has been provided by the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
Prior to the 2005 season, three-by-eight foot replica Heisman Trophies were added to the Gate B display, where pictures of all seven Irish Heisman winners were placed earlier. The honoring of Notre Dame's Heisman Trophy winners took the form of seven individual panels installed within existing brick niches of the old stadium wall just inside Gate B - with one display each for Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Leon Hart, John Lattner, Paul Hornung, John Huarte and Tim Brown. Each display consists of a three-by-eight-foot aluminum panel, powder-coated in Notre Dame blue and serving as a background for holding an oversized, three-foot-tall replica of the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman replicas are finished in bronze, cantilevered off of the blue aluminum panels and sculpted from an original Heisman Trophy.
Notre Dame's 79 consensus All-America football players were honored inside Gate A in `06, with panels containing authentic Notre Dame helmets with nameplates. Those displays were designed by Rockwell Group of New York and fabricated by Show Motion Inc., of Connecticut.
Then in '07, mixed media wall relief portraits and action montages of the five Notre Dame national championship coaches were positioned at Gate D. Those displays recognized championship coaches Knute Rockne (1924, '29, '30), Frank Leahy (1943, '46, '47, '49), Ara Parseghian (1966, '73), Dan Devine (1977) and Lou Holtz (1988).