Sept. 1, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Nearly 30 members of the University of Notre Dame's 1953 football team will be returning for their 55th reunion this weekend when Notre Dame opens its 2008 season against San Diego State.
Members of the squad will be honored throughout the weekend, including at the game on Saturday.
Team members tentatively expected to return are Bob Arrix, Pat Bisceglia, Joe Bush, Leo Callaghan, Wayne Edmonds, Dick Fitzgerald, Dick Frasor, Dick Hendricks, Bob Joseph, John Kegaly, John Lattner, Jack Lee, Fred Mann, Paul Matz, Coach Bob McBride, Tom McHugh, Jim Mense, Jim Milota, Rockne Morrissey, Sam Palumbo, Tony Pasquesi, Bob Ready, Bob Rigali, Paul Robst, Bob Salvino, Robert Taylor, Frank Varrichione and Neil Worden.
On its way to a 9-0-1 record, the 1953 Irish defeated five ranked opponents, including wins over fifth-rated Oklahoma, 15th-ranked Pittsburgh, fourth-ranked Georgia Tech (ending a 31-game Yellow Jacket win streak), 20th-rated Navy and 20th-ranked USC.
Led by Heisman Trophy winner Lattner, the Irish ranked second nationally in total offense, and fourth in both scoring and rushing.
Notre Dame that season produced the only backfield in the history of college football to have all four starters drafted by the NFL in the first round - Lattner, running backs Joe Heap and Worden and quarterback Ralph Guglielmi.
Lattner won both the Heisman and Maxwell awards and was a unanimous first-team All-American. Tackle Art Hunter was a United Press International first-team pick, and end Don Penza was a second-team selection. Heap also was an Academic All-American that year.
The Irish finished second in the final Associated Press and UPI polls to end the regular season behind unbeaten Maryland. But, after the Terps lost in the Orange Bowl, 10 other selectors chose Notre Dame the national champion.