Sept. 16, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Former University of Notre Dame football standouts Bob Kuechenberg and Tom Zbikowski will be inducted Wednesday night into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
The annual induction ceremony will take place at the Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney/Cicero, Ill. Proceeds from the event benefit Standing Tall Foundation and Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Charities.
Kuechenberg will receive the George Connor Lifetime Achievement Award.
A native of Gary, Ind. (Hobart High School), Kuechenberg played for the Irish from 1966-68. He started at right offensive tackle on the 1966 Notre Dame national championship squad, then played as a regular at left defensive end in both 1967 and 1968.
Kuechenberg made 32 tackles as a junior in 1967. He also started at third base on the Notre Dame baseball team prior to the start of spring football drills in 1968. As a senior in '68, Kuechenberg made 44 tackles and tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (eight) and fumbles recovered (two).
Kuechenberg, a fourth-round National Football League Draft selection in 1969 by the Philadelphia Eagles, signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins in 1970 and played 15 seasons for the franchise (1970-84). He flourished as an offensive guard with the Dolphins and participated in six NFL Pro Bowls. Kuechenberg twice earned first-team NFL All-Pro accolades (in 1975 and 1978), and he played on a pair of NFL Super Bowl champion squads in Miami.
A native of Park Ridge, Ill. (Buffalo Grove High School), Zbikowski earned All-America honors as an Irish safety in both 2005 and 2006--including third-team selections both years from the Associated Press. He also received second-team recognition from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2006.
Zbikowski was a two-time captain for Notre Dame (in 2006 and 2007). He registered 70 tackles in 2004 (fourth on the team), 71 tackles to go with five interceptions and 379 punt return yards in 2005, 79 tackles in 2006 and a career-high 80 tackles to go with 234 punt return yards and two interceptions in 2007. In 2005, Zbikowski returned two interceptions and two punts for touchdowns. He finished his Irish career with 300 tackles, more than any other defensive back in Notre Dame history. Zbikowski recorded 757 career punt return yards, which ranks third in school history. He is tied with four other Notre Dame players for the all-time lead in career punt return touchdowns (with three).
A third-round selection of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft, Zbikowski spent four seasons with the Ravens (2008-11), plus one each with the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears. He also recorded four wins as a professional boxer.
Kuechenberg and Zbikowski join a long list of Notre Dame representatives in the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame--including Norman J. Barry, Pete Bercich, Rocky Bleier, Terry Brennan, Tony Carey, Dave Casper, George Connor, Ziggy Czarobski, Dave Duerson, Jerry Groom, Paul Hornung, Jim Johnson, Moose Krause, John Lattner, Elmer Layden, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, John Paxson, Nick Rassas, Knute Rockne, Jim Seymour, Dan Shannon, Father John Smyth, Gene Sullivan, Tom Thayer, Renaldo Wynn and Chris Zorich.