100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

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The storied Notre Dame football program has long been full of pride and passionate fans, as the Fighting Irish have provided decades of incredible memories for its legion of alumni and followers, and author John Heisler captures this tradition and others in this essential fanbook. Created for the serious football fan who wants to enhance their Fighting Irish IQ, this book reveals special stories and experiences from fans and memorable moments about past and present players and coaches. As a longtime ND employee in the sports information and athletic departments, author John Heisler shares what’s really important and he touches on some of the most famous games, players, and traditions in Fighting Irish history, including Knute Rockne’s “Win One for the Gipper” speech, the team’s game day walk from the Basilica to Notre Dame Stadium, Joe Montana’s legendary comeback performance in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, Indiana State Police Sergeant Tim McCarthy’s public safety messages, and the team’s storybook and inspirational 2012 season. From singing the Notre Dame Fight Song at the Friday night pep rally at the Joyce Center to taking in a game at historic Notre Dame Stadium, this guidebook covers all there is to Irish football, making a must read for any fan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781600788727
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Edition description: Revised and Updated!
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 236,636
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

John Heisler is in his 35th year as a member of the University of Notre Dame athletics staff. He was named to his current post of senior associate athletics director for media and broadcast relations in 2004 after spending 16 years as sports information director. He has written or edited eight other books on Notre Dame football, including collaborating with Lou Holtz on the New York Times bestseller The Fighting Spirit. He’s a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame. He lives in Granger, Indiana. Bryant Young was a defensive tackle who started for three seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He played for the San Francisco 49ers for 14 seasons and was elected to the Pro Bowl four times. He is currently the defensive line coach at the University of Florida. He lives in Gainesville, Florida. Frank Stams was a member of Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship team. He played for three NFL teams during his professional career. He was born in Akron, Ohio.

Read an Excerpt

100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

By John Heisler

Triumph Books

Copyright © 2013 John Heisler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62368-303-0


Knute Rockne

He Could Coach — And So Much More

Knute Rockne first put his personal stamp on the Notre Dame football program back in 1913 when, as a senior end on the Irish roster, he collaborated with quarterback Gus Dorais to help beat powerful Army in a game that firmly attached Notre Dame's name to the college football map. But it was five years later, when he became the Irish head football coach in 1918, that he began a 13-year tour of duty that saw his star rise to the highest point in the Notre Dame galaxy.

In those 13 seasons, Rockne produced five Notre Dame teams that finished unbeaten and untied, plus six more with only a single loss. His Notre Dame squads produced consensus national titles in 1924, 1929, and 1930. He won 105 games against only 12 defeats — and his all-time winning percentage of .881 remains the best in the history of college football.

Along the way, Rockne coached legendary figures like the Four Horsemen and all-around superstar George Gipp. On 11 occasions, Rockne's players were selected as consensus All-Americans — and eight Notre Dame players that he coached are now in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Originally hired as a chemistry research assistant, Rockne developed a reputation as a master motivator and marketer whose flair for promotion and the creation of national rivalries against teams like USC furthered the Notre Dame football name. He also served as Notre Dame's athletics director, business manager, ticket distributor, and track coach. When the College Football Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1951, one of the names on the list was Knute Rockne. That came 20 years after Rockne died tragically in a plane crash near Bazaar, Kansas.

Actually, Rockne had a rude introduction to football.

As a young Norwegian immigrant to the Logan Square district of Chicago, Rockne first played the game with his immigrant neighbors on the sandlots. A slender and swift ball carrier, Rockne broke away from his pursuers for a long run, a sure touchdown. But a rowdy group of fans for the opponents stepped in, stripped the ball away from his cradled arms, and mistook his body for a punching bag.

When Rockne finally arrived home, his parents took one look at his tattered body and announced that his football career was over. But a few bumps and bruises would not keep Rockne away from the game he loved for long. With his parents' blessing, he returned to the gridiron in high school and later emerged as the country's most respected, innovative, and successful college football coach of all time.

After Rockne finished high school, he worked as a mail dispatcher with the Chicago Post Office for four years and continued his athletic endeavors at the Irving Park Athletic Club, the Central YMCA, and the Illinois Athletic Club. By then he had saved enough money to continue his education and boarded the train for South Bend and Notre Dame. After a difficult first year as a scrub with the varsity, Rockne turned his attention to track where he earned a monogram and later set a school record (12–4) in the indoor pole vault. Those accomplishments gave him incentive to give football another try. This time he succeeded and eventually was named to Walter Camp's All-America football squad as a third-string end. During his senior season (1913) when he served as captain, Rockne and his roommate, quarterback Gus Dorais, stunned Army with their deadly pass combination and handed the high-ranking Cadets a 35–13 setback.

But Rockne — who also fought semi-professionally in South Bend, wrote for the student newspaper and yearbook, played flute in the school orchestra, took a major role in every student play, and reached the finals of the Notre Dame marbles tournament — considered himself primarily a student. He worked his way through school, first as a janitor and then as a chemistry research assistant to Professor Julius A. Nieuwland, whose discoveries led to synthetic rubber. Rockne graduated magna cum laude with a 90.52 (on a scale of 100) grade average.

Notre Dame offered Rockne a post at the University as a graduate assistant in chemistry upon his graduation. He accepted that position on the condition that he be allowed to help Jesse Harper coach the football team. When Harper retired after the 1917 season, Rockne became his successor.

Under Rockne's tutelage, Notre Dame skyrocketed to national prominence and became America's team. With their penchant for upsetting the stronger, more established football powers throughout the land, the Irish captured the hearts of millions of Americans who viewed Notre Dame's victories as hope for their own battles.

"The old padre running the University understood marketing. He realized that up the road in Chicago there was a newspaper or two he could use," said longtime ABC Sports college play-by-play veteran Keith Jackson.

"They were in the perfect position to capitalize because they were a private university. You have to remember, they were called the Catholics for a while. The circumstances were just right. They had a coach and an athletic director in Jess Harper who could deliver.

"Then Knute Rockne came along. He was a chemistry teacher and he might have gone to Alaska and sold refrigerators if he hadn't gone into football. He was a salesman, and he could have sold anything. Notre Dame had Chicago and New York. Columbia never captured New York City. Notre Dame has always been the dominant college football team in New York City because there are all kinds of Catholics there. Not just the Irish."

During Rockne's 13-year coaching tenure, Notre Dame beat Stanford in the 1925 Rose Bowl and put together five unbeaten and untied seasons. Rockne produced 20 first-team All-Americans. His lifetime winning percentage of .881 (105–12–5) still ranks at the top of the list for both college and professional football. Rockne won the last 19 games he coached. Rockne, who was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1951 — the first year of inductions — revolutionized the game of football with his wide-ranging ideas and innovations. Rockne qualified as the first football coach to take his team all over the country and initiate intersectional rivalries. The Irish competed in a national arena. He challenged the best football teams in the land and almost always won.

For all of his contributions to the game of football, The Sporting News recognized Rockne as the 76th most powerful person in sports for the twentieth century. In its 2008 book, The College Football Book, Sports Illustrated listed Rockne and Alabama's Bear Bryant as its all-time coaches.

The NCAA Official Football Records Book listed 12 major college dynasties from the twentieth century "because of historical significance, and all represent an outstanding record as well as at least one national championship." Notre Dame was one of three schools to place two dynasties on that list (1919–30 under Rockne; 1946–53 under Frank Leahy), with Oklahoma (1948–58; 1971–80) and Alabama (1959–67; 1971–80) also earning double distinction.

Using his medical and anatomical knowledge, Rockne designed his own equipment and uniforms. He reduced the amount of bulk and weight of the equipment, while increasing its protectiveness. He also introduced the gold satin and silk pants that cut down on wind resistance. Rockne foresaw the day of the two-platoon system and often used his "shock troops," a full team of second-stringers, at the start of games.

Inspired by the precision and timing of a chorus line, Rockne added the Notre Dame shift to his playbook. In the shift, all four backs were still in motion at the snap. Opponents were so dumfounded by the shift that they couldn't find a consistent way to handle it. The rules board finally enacted a law against the shift. Rockne also attempted to outsmart his coaching peers by downplaying his squads' talent. He never boasted about his team or its strengths; rather, he lamented his squad's lack of skill every chance he got. Rockne believed that half of football strategy was passing, while most of his counterparts kept the ball on the ground.

"Rockne is the greatest college football figure of the twentieth century, no ifs, ands, buts about it," said ESPN's Beano Cook. "People recognize his picture now. They know it's Rockne. When he died, if I recall, it was the first funeral ever broadcast nationally on radio. That's the kind of impact he had. For me, it was easy to pick Rockne as the No. 1 coach. He has been dead 70 years (now more than 80), and everybody still knows his name."

But football never proved enough for Rockne. He wrote a newspaper column once a week; he authored three books, including a volume of juvenile fiction; he was principal designer of Notre Dame Stadium; he opened a stock brokerage firm in South Bend during his last season; he was a dedicated family man to his wife Bonnie and their four children and for years raised much of the family's food in his garden. Rockne also made several public speeches a year and served as a public spokesman for Studebaker.

After the championship season of 1930, Rockne tried to get away for a much-needed rest and vacation. But he was needed in Los Angeles to make a football demonstration movie.

An enthusiastic flier and never one to waste time, Rockne boarded Transcontinental-Western's Flight 599 from Kansas City to Los Angeles on March 31, 1931. Shortly after takeoff, the plane flew into a storm, became covered with ice, and fell into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kansas. There were no survivors.

Rockne became the first athletic coach at any level to be featured on a United States postage stamp on March 9, 1988, when a commemorative stamp in his honor was dedicated at Notre Dame. The stamp honored the 100 anniversary of Rockne's birth. Approximately 160 million Rockne stamps were printed, with the first-day issue originating from the University of Notre Dame Post Office. Highlighting the unveiling of the stamp was an appearance and speech at the Joyce Center by President Ronald Reagan, who played George Gipp in the 1940 Warner Brothers movie Knute Rockne, All-American.

There's a bronze sculpture of Rockne outside the north end of Notre Dame Stadium, adjacent to the tunnel entrance. When it was dedicated in October 2009 it was located on the east side of the Stadium near the ticket windows, but prior to the 2010 season all the sculptures of the former Irish head coaches were relocated outside the various Stadium gates.

The Rockne sculpture shows the former Irish coach in his coaching sweatshirt and baseball pants, with his hands on his hips. Notre Dame graduate Jerry McKenna created the sculpture.

Benefactor Joe Mendelson, who in 2006 established the Joseph T. Mendelson Endowment for Athletics Excellence to provide incremental and non-budgeted funding for Notre Dame's Olympic sports programs, funded the Rockne sculpture through the Notre Dame Monogram Club. Mendelson, who lives in Santa Barbara, California, was a charter member and served as a chair of the advisory council for Notre Dame's Institute for Church Life from 1980 to 1996. He also served on the Snite Museum of Art advisory council from 1986 to 1989 and 1991 to 2000.


Revisit Old Notre Dame Stadium

Legendary History for Irish Grid Facility

For all the legendary players and memorable moments it has hosted on its bluegrass turf over the past 431 games (through 2012), Notre Dame Stadium has unquestionably developed a lore all its own. In service to Irish football since 1930, the stadium continues to be one of the most recognizable and revered structures in the world of sports.

But the Notre Dame Stadium that Irish fans have visited and viewed since 1997 underwent the most involved expansion and remodeling since the facility was first built. More than 21,000 new seats are now available, bringing capacity to 80,795. And, there may be more changes to come based on a recent announcement by the University.

Notre Dame said on May 2, 2013, that it is exploring an innovative approach to campus planning that would take advantage of the central location of the football stadium to make it a hub for, among other possibilities, a student center, media center, and classroom and conference center.

"Inspired by the University's campus master plan, we will study the possibility of accomplishing multiple objectives — namely, preserve the campus' pedestrian character by taking advantage of a central location for needed facilities, retain the integrity of a legendary stadium, improve the visual attractiveness of the exterior stadium wall, and enhance the game-day experience for our football fans," Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University's president, said after presenting an outline of the initiative to members of the Board of Trustees at its spring meeting.

Potential areas of examination include constructing additions to the stadium to provide:

• Space for classrooms, conferences, speakers, meetings, receptions, and other events

• A student center for assembly and activity areas

• Resources for media, including facilities for the University's expanding video and digital initiatives for academic purposes and external relations, as well as a press box

• A location for various hospitality functions for community and campus patrons

• Enhancements to the fan experience, including premium seating options.

The study will include representatives from the offices of the provost, student affairs, executive vice president, University relations and architect, Notre Dame athletics, and other departments, as well as outside consultants.

Costs and other details related to possible projects will be unknown until specific plans — if any — are put in place. Under all circumstances, however, the University will keep the original stadium intact.

It was the success of Hall of Fame coach Knute Rockne's Notre Dame football teams — plus the legendary coach's own personal building blueprint — that prompted the addition of the original Notre Dame Stadium to the University's athletic plant back in 1930.


Excerpted from 100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by John Heisler. Copyright © 2013 John Heisler. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Frank Stams ix

Introduction xiii

1 Knute Rockne 1

2 Revisit Old Notre Dame Stadium 7

3 Lou Holtz 14

4 Ara Parseghian 18

5 George Gipp 23

6 "Win One for the Gipper" 26

7 The "Notre Dame Victory March" 30

8 Notre Dame Hits the National Map 33

9 Walk Out the Notre Dame Stadium Tunnel 35

10 Joe Montana 37

11 The Epic Confrontation 43

12 The 1973 Championship Season 46

13 The Band of the Fighting Irish 49

14 Fathers Hesburgh and Joyce 50

15 Frank Leahy 54

16 John Lujack 57

17 Team Walk to Stadium 58

18 The Four Horsemen 60

19 Sugar Is Sweet 64

20 The 1988 Miami Game 67

21 The 1993 Florida State Game 71

22 Leon Han 74

23 Fifth to First 76

24 The 1930 Championship Season 78

25 The 1949 Championship Season 81

26 Tim Brown 84

27 Paul Hornung 87

28 The First Game of the Century 90

29 The 1946 Championship Season 93

30 Dan Devine 95

31 John Lattner 97

32 The 1929 Championship Season 99

33 1946-49 Under Leahy 101

34 John Huarte 103

35 Ending the Longest Win Streak Ever 105

36 Angelo Bertelli 107

37 The 1966 Championship Season 109

33 The 1988 Championship Season 111

39 The 1977 Championship Season 114

40 Academics 117

41 The NBC Contract 126

42 Tour New Notre Dame Stadium 130

43 The 1924 Championship Season 134

44 The 1943 Championship Season 137

45 The 1947 Championship Season 139

46 The Rocket Man 141

47 The Ice Bowl 144

48 Bowl Revival Pan II 147

49 Ara's Final Game l49

50 Manti Te'o 152

51 The Standoff 154

52 The Fighting Irish 157

53 Take in a Notre Dame-USC Game 158

54 "Rudy" 159

55 Chris Zorich 164

56 Alan Page 168

57 The Gold Helmets 171

58 "Fair-Catch" Corby, Golden Dome, Touchdown Jesus, "We're No. 1" Moses 173

59 Slap the "Play Like A Champion Today" Sign 175

60 The 1988-89 Win Streak 178

61 Brian Kelly 180

62 The Sculptures 182

63 Back in the Bowl Business 183

64 The Leprechaun 186

65 Wayne Edmonds 186

66 The Green Jersey Tradition 188

67 Walk-Ons 193

68 Schedules 194

69 The Touring Trophies 196

70 Attend a Friday Night Pep Rally 198

71 Attend a Friday Kickoff Luncheon 201

72 Tour the Gug 202

73 Edward "Moose" Krause 207

74 A New Postseason 209

75 Mario "Motts" Tonelli 211

76 Snow Bowl 212

77 The Wisdom of Ziggy 213

78 Catch a Glimpse of Terri Buck 214

79 "This is Sergeant Tim McCarthy for the Indiana State Police" 215

80 Lindsey Nelson and the C.D. Chesley Company 218

81 Rocky Bleier 219

82 Daryle Lamonica 221

83 The Kick 222

84 Stroll Through Heritage Hall 225

85 The Alma Mater 227

86 The "Other" Irish Hall of Famers 228

87 Joe Boland/Westwood One/IMG 234

88 Television Ratings 235

89 Irish Guard 237

90 Clashmore Mike 238

91 Father Jim Riehle 239

92 The Shirt 243

93 Fighting Irish Cover Boys 245

94 Bookstore Basketball 246

95 Walk the LaBar Practice Complex Fields 248

96 Bengal Bouts 249

97 Take a Tour of South Bend/Mishawaka 250

98 Books on Parade 252

99 College All-Star Game 257

100 Opening Day 260


ESPN's College GameDay 261

Top 20 Moments in Notre Dame History 264

The Near Misses 266

The International Versions 269

Acknowledgments 271

Bibliography 272

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100 Things Notre Dame Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
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This book is great. If your a ND fan you must read this!
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I gave the book as a gift to my son. He loves it, and was really happy to get it.
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