June 28, 2006
The Notre Dame Monogram Club's fourth annual Football Fantasy Camp will take place this Wednesday - Sunday on the Notre Dame campus, as 59 participants are set for an authentic Irish football experience. For the third consecutive year, the camp - organized again by former Irish quarterback Pat Steenberge - sold out far in advance, and this year's group includes 32 who have taken part in the fantasy camp in the past.
Camp participants arrived on Wednesday to take walking tours of the campus during the afternoon and will kick things off with a reception in the Joyce Center tonight. That will include a welcome from Monogram Club executive director Jim Fraleigh and the first in a series of special speakers that will bring former Irish players, current and former coaches, and several other Notre Dame and college football personalities to address the camp.
The players will head to the locker room in Notre Dame Stadium early Thursday morning to dress and have meetings before taking part in the first of the day's two 75-minute practice sessions on the team's practice fields. In the evening, participants will head to the Northern Indiana Center for History to view its latest exhibit - a tribute to legendary Irish football coach Knute Rockne - and then tour the College Football Hall of Fame. Friday will be a similar day, with practices both in the morning and evening and dinner with more guest speakers in the evening.
On Saturday - Game Day - the participants will have meetings with their coaches in the morning before attending mass celebrated by Monogram Club executive director emeritus Rev. Jim Riehle, C.S.C., at The Grotto. They will then return to Notre Dame Stadium, go through pre-game warm-ups on the field and - after some final preparations in the locker room - touch the "Play Like a Champion" sign and run onto the field through a tunnel of friends and family for the fourth annual Blue-Gold Fantasy Game, a flag football affair which kicks off at 1:35 p.m. and features many of the accoutrements of an Irish home game (including live public-address announcing, game officials, and players names on the scoreboard). The post-game will feature media interviews and an autograph session before a reception and dinner in the stadium's press box. The camp winds up with an awards brunch on Sunday morning with each participant receiving a tape of the fantasy game, a team photo, and a Notre Dame helmet as mementos of the experience.
Proceeds from the camp go to the Notre Dame Monogram Club for its various projects, which include providing many services to current student-athletes, scholarship assistance to children of club members, plus funding the visual enhancement project involving banner and themed gate additions to Notre Dame Stadium.
For more information on the Monogram Club, see www.ndmonogramclub.com. For more information on the Football Fantasy Camp, check www.globalfootball.com and www.ndfootballfantasycamp.com.
Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Michael Haywood (ND defensive back from 1982-86) leads a group of five current Notre Dame coaches on the staff of this year's camp. He is joined by defensive line coach Jappy Oliver, head special teams coach/assistant defensive backs coach Brian Polian, quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas, and director of personnel development Ron Powlus (record-setting Irish quarterback from 1993-97). In addition, former assistant coaches and current Notre Dame administrators Brian Boulac (ND left end from 1960-62) and Tony Yelovich return to the staff, and MacArthur (TX) High School head coach Remon Smith rounds out the coaches.
A total of 20 other monogram winners are slated to take part in the camp, including eight All-Americans and a pair of Academic All-Americans. See below the complete list:
Marty Allen (manager, 1957-58) Terry Andrysiak (QB, 1984-87) Reggie Brooks (RB, 1989-92) Phil Carter (RB, 1979-82) Dave Casper (TE, 1970-73) Pat Eilers (SE, 1987-89) Tom Gatewood (SE, 1969-71) Mark Green (RB, 1985-88) Kris Haines (WR, 1975-78) Mirko Jurkovic (G, 1988-91) Blair Kiel (QB, 1980-83) Scott Kowalkowski (OLB, 1986-90) George Kunz (OT, 1965-68) Greg Marx (DT, 1970-72) Gary Potempa (LB, 1971-73) Frank Stams (DE, 1984-88) Pat Steenberge (QB, 1970-71) Tim Sullivan (LB, 1970-73) Rich Thomann (OLB, 1969-71) Robin Weber (TE, 1973-76)
This year's camp features three seniors (fourth-year participants), 13 juniors (third year), 15 sophomores (second year), and 28 freshmen (first year). The participants range in age from 21 to 72, with an average age of 48. They hail from 23 states and one foreign country (Great Britain; another currently lives in Belgium). The three seniors have participated in all four Football Fantasy Camps. This year features an all-time high of five different father-son combinations: the Bagattas, Dedarios, Fazios, Moreheads, and Wileys. See below the full list:
Seniors Robert Haberkorn, age 45 - Cape Girardeau, MO Bob Johnson, 43 - Lititz, PA John Thomas, 57 - Dallas, PA Juniors James Barry, 26 - St. Charles, IL Frank Bagatta, 53 - Smithtown, NY Nigel Brown, 44 - Tonbridge, United Kingdom Keith Cross, 33 - Holden, MA Joe Dedario, 64 - Phoenix, AZ Michael Haveard, 44 - Pensacola, FL Ron Henry, 46 - Doral, FL Tom Highland, 58 - Columbia, MO Bart McGloin, 41 - Wheatfield, NY Terrence Novak, 50 - Vacaville, CA Jeff Pace, 51 - Dallas, PA Rick Peltz, 37 - South Bend, IN Bob Wiley, 54 - San Diego, CA Sophomores Chris Alley, 45 - Tazewell, VA Frank Bagatta, Jr., 21 - Smithtown, NY Richard Bell, 54 - Greenwich, CT Mike Brennan, 36 - Ocala, FL Joe Colgan, 48 - Chicago, IL Jim Dedario, 40 - Phoenix, AZ Artie Dumesnil, 42 - Terrytown, LA Mike Fletcher, 48 - Indianapolis, IN John Harris, 36 - Holmdel, NJ Dan Kindelt, 60 - Woodland, CA Ned Lesnick, 63 - Portland, OR Thomas Lesick, 47 - West Des Moines, IA Dick Morehead, 59 - Jacksonville, FL Chris Secreto, 45 - Redmond, WA Mark Smith, 46 - Cleveland, TN Freshmen Jeff Balitsos, 34 - Franklin, TN Francis Cribbs, 72 - Torrence, CA Tim Demarais, 54 - South Bend, IN Patrick DeMare, 60 - Brighton, MA Matt Edmonds, 46 - Granger, IN Brian Fazio, 28 - Phoenix, AZ Gene Fazio, 54 - Phoenix, AZ John Fitzmartin, 58 - Warsaw, IN Jim Fontana, 47 - Aliquippa, PA Tony Frogameni, 47 - Sylvania, OH Gerry Geiger, 68 - Collinsville, IL Jack Giacomini, 64 - Rancho Santa Fe, CA Joe Hession, 51 - Carmel, IN Timothy Kopp, 60 - Wrightsville, PA Larry Leamy, 69 - Marshall, MI Neil Lenane, 42 - Bradenton, FL Bill McDonough, 48 - Burke, VA Danny McNally, 38 - Alpharetta, GA Grant Morehead, 34 - Lawrenceville, GA Blaine Morehead, 30 - Waxhaw, NC Jack Nealon, 48 - Dallas, TX Jim Noone, 62 - Fairfax, VA Michael O'Donnell, 66 - San Juan Capistrano, CA Dick Scott, 33 - Black Diamond, WA Tom Soisson, 47 - South Bend, IN John Van Soest, 25 - Paterson, NJ Bob Wieneke, 41 - South Bend, IN Matthew Wiley, 23 - Chicago, IL