Sept. 4, 2007
A statue of former University of Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, will be dedicated on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, at Notre Dame Stadium.
The dedication, slated for 9:30 a.m. EDT, on the morning of the Notre Dame-Michigan State football game, will take place at Notre Dame Stadium's Gate D, which honors the Irish national championship football coaches.
All of Parseghian's former players and coaches have been invited to the dedication ceremonies - and more than 200 of them are expected to attend. John Huarte - winner of the 1964 Heisman Trophy - will be speaking at the dedication on behalf of Parseghian's former players. The general public is welcome to attend the ceremony.
The Parseghian statue shows the former Irish coach on the shoulders of his players following the '71 Cotton Bowl win over top-rated Texas. The statue was sculpted by Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna, who also created the Frank Leahy and Moose Krause statues east of Notre Dame Stadium, as well as the Knute Rockne sculpture at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend, Ind.
The sculpture has been funded completely by donations from Parseghian's former players, assistant coaches and student managers. Plans for the statue were spearheaded by former Irish football player Peter Schivarelli (he played in '69 and '70).
The sculpture will complement bas relief portraits of the five Notre Dame national championship coaches - Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz - that now are located at Gate D, designated the national championship coaches gate.
Parseghian served as Notre Dame's head coach from 1964 through the '74 season (he previously had been head coach at Northwestern for eight seasons and Miami of Ohio for five). His Irish teams won consensus national titles in 1966 and 1973, and also claimed the McArthur Bowl Trophy from the National Football Foundation following a 9-1 campaign in '64. His 11 Notre Dame teams combined for a 95-17-4 record (.836) - and his Irish posted victories in the 1971 Cotton Bowl, the 1973 Sugar Bowl (over top-ranked Alabama) and the 1975 Orange Bowl (again over unbeaten Alabama).
Parseghian was chosen the national college coach of the year in 1964 by the Football Writers Association of America and by the American Football Coaches Association. Only one time in 11 seasons did one of his teams lose as many as three games in a season, and on 40 occasions during that period Irish players received first team All-America recognition. He coached eight NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipients, 17 Academic All-Americans and five eventual winners of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. Parseghian was selected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
In 1994, Parseghian started the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation to fund study of Niemann-Pick Type C Disease in hopes of moving toward a cure. The foundation has raised more than $22 million to combat the disease, which has claimed three of Parseghian's grandchildren. The disease, also known as NP-C, is a genetic pediatric neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system, usually in school-age children.
By interfering with children's ability to metabolize cholesterol, the NP-C causes large amounts of the substance to accumulate in the liver, spleen and brain, leading to a series of ultimately fatal neurological problems.
The former Irish team captains under Parseghian who are confirmed to attend the ceremonies include Jim Carroll (1964), Phil Sheridan ('65), Jim Lynch ('66), Mike Oriard ('69), John Dampeer ('72), Greg Marx ('72) and Dave Casper ('73).
All-Americans under Parseghian expected to attend include Huarte (1964), Carroll ('64), Tony Carey ('64), Kevin Hardy ('64, '66, '67), Lynch ('65, '66), Nick Eddy ('66), Pete Duranko ('66), Jim Seymour ('66, '67, '68), George Goeddeke ('66), Mike McGill ('67), Oriard ('69), Clarence Ellis ('70, '71), Marx ('72), Dampeer ('72) and Casper ('73).