January Calendar


On this date in Notre Dame Football History:

Sources for the calendar are 100 Years of Notre Dame Football by Gene Schoor, The Fighting Irish 1999 Calendar, Knute Rockne by Francis Wallace, The Notre Dame Football Scrapbook by Cohen, Deutsch and Neft and The Fighting Irish Football Encyclopedia by Mike Steele, Shake Down The Thunder by Murray Sperber, One for The Gipper by Patrick Chelland, Knute Rockne by Francis Wallace and 75 Years of Notre Dame All-Americans.

January 1

1971: Notre Dame ends Texas' 30-game win streak by defeating the Longhorns 24-11 in the Cotton Bowl

1975: Notre Dame defeats Alabama 13-11 in the Orange Bowl. Although the stakes weren't as high as the previous year (Only Alabama was ranked number one, undefeated and looking for a national championship), the atmosphere was just as electric and frenzied as the 1973 Sugar Bowl. And this game was to be Ara Parseghian's last as head coach at Notre Dame. After 11 successful seasons and two national championships, he was hanging up his coaching playbook. (from the 1999 Notre Dame Football Media Guide)

1906: Tackle Fred Miller is born.

1930: Quarterback Bob Williams is born.

1967:  Tackle Andy Heck is born


January 2

1978: Behind an unrelenting defense that forces six turnovers and bottles up Heisman Trophy-winning Earl Campbell, fifth-ranked Notre Dame destroys No. 1 Texas 38-10 in the Cotton Bowl. A day later, the Fighting Irish (10-1) would be voted 1977 national champions in Coach Dan Devine's third season. "We earned it on the field," Devine says. "We played number one and we beat them."


January 3

Irish Lore

Even Knute Rockne wasn't able to attract high school halfbacks from heaven every year. The Four Horsemen graduated after the 1924 season, and in 1925 the Fighting Irish went an un-Rockne-like 7-2-1. At a postseason banquet in New York, Rockne was at his self-deprecating best: "If anyone knows where there are four more horsemen, I'll see him outside immediately."


January 4

1925: All time great Irish quarterback Johnny Lujack is born. Johnny was an understudy to quarterback Angelo Bertelli in 1943 when Bertelli won the Heisman Trophy. After World War II, Lujack became a great QB in his own right, piloting the Fighting Irish to back-to-back national championships in 1946 and 1947. The Connellsville, Pennsylvania, native won the Heisman Trophy in 1947 and was named consensus All-American. Coach Frank Leahy called Lujack "the greatest all-around player it has been my privilege to coach," for Lujack was a shifty runner, brilliant defender, and the team's punter to boot.

1989: The Fighting Irish return to South Bend as national champions for the first time in eleven years after having disposed of undefeated West Virginia 43-21 in the Fiesta Bowl two days earlier. The Irish jumped out to a 23-6 halftime lead, then cruised to victory, giving them their first 12-0 season in school history. "I've underestimated this team in a lot of areas," Coach Holtz says. "If you ask me, 'is this a good football team?' I'd have to say yes because nobody proved it otherwise."


January 5

Irish Lore

If you ever needed statistical proof that Notre Dame has the all-time richest tradition in college football, here it is. [Note: statistics as of 1999] The school with the best winning percentage of all time? Notre Dame (76 percent). With the most national championships? Notre Dame (eleven). With the most consensus All-Americans? Notre Dame (seventy-seven). And with the most Heisman Trophy winners? Notre Dame (seven)


January 6

1937: Lou Holtz is born in Follansbee, West Virginia. He would grow up in East Liverpool, Ohio, and play college football at Kent State University. In 1960, he would launch a spectacular career as a football coach that would reach its climax from 1986-1996, when he would guide the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a shining 100-30-2 (.765) record and one national championship, in 1988. Happy Birthday, Lou!


January 7

Irish Lore

Today, the universally accepted pronunciation of Knute Rockne's first name is to make the "K" silent, as in "NOOT." The proper pronunciation, however, and the one Rockne preferred, was to sound out the "K," as in "Ka-NOOT."


January 8

Irish Lore

It wasn't Notre Dame's original intention to become a powerful independent school with a national recruiting base and a schedule featuring the best teams from coast to coast. It happened by accident, out of necessity. From the late 1890s until at least the late 1920s, Notre Dame desperately sought admission into the Big Ten conference but, time and again, was flatly turned down. In the 1910s, Big Ten schools went so far as to boycott Notre Dame. "I was forced to get a national schedule," said Jesse Harper, coach and athletic director from 1913 to 1917. " I had to go someplace where I could get some ball games." The rest, as they say, is history.


January 9

1948: Terry Hanratty is born in Butler, PA. A great quarterback best remembered for his sophomore year (1966) under Ara Parseghian when he teamed with Jim Seymour for a potent passing offense that decimated virtually every team except MSU. Terry was hurt in that game. He had a superb arm, was an excellent ball handler, great reader of defensive secondary coverage's, good runner, and had an intangible ability to take a team to new heights. In 1966 started at QB for the national champions.

1956: Ken MacAfee is born. From Brockton, MA. One of the best tight ends ever to play for Notre Dame. Had perfect dimensions for the modern TE, with enough speed to have played from the split end position. Had fine hands and an uncanny sense for finding seams in coverage's to help his quarterbacks Tom Clements and Joe Montana. In 1974, backed up at SE until an injury gave the chance to move to TE. In 1977 he started for the national champions, was consensus All-American and the Walter Camp Player of the Year.


January 10

Irish Legend

1892: Ray Eichenlaub, bruising fullback for Jesse Harpers great 1912-13 teams. Member of team that upset Army in 1913 along with teammate and end, Knute Rockne. Must be given serious consideration for any all-time Notre Dame team. Started four years at fullback;crunching runner with good speed and tremendous strength. He was a fine blocker and good receiver. Against Army in 1913, his sledge-hammer blows into the line occupied the defense while Dorais and Rockne tuned up the passing game for the win. Was voted all-american in 1913.


January 11

Irish Legend

Jeff Burris, a native of Rock Hill, South Carolina, was a standout all-around player on the Notre Dame teams of the early 1990s. After leading the team in punt returns as a sophomore, as a junior in 1992 he led the squad in interceptions with five and scored four touchdowns as a running back in short yardage situations. As a free safety and tricaptain in 1993, he helped lead the team to an 11-1 record and was a consensus All-American.


January 12

Irish Legend

The first Notre Dame player ever to receive All-American attention was plucky fullback Louis "Red" Salmon. From 1900 to 1903, Salmon smashed his way to fame as one of the most feared inside runners of early Midwestern football. Standing only five-foot-ten and weighing no more than 170 pounds, the redheaded Salmon nevertheless was not only a bruising runner but a fine kicker and fierce tackler as well. In 1903, he was the first Notre Damer selected to Walter Camp's All-American team as a third-teamer.

1967: Ned Bolcar, excellent linebacker for Lou's late eighties teams, is born.


January 13

Irish Lore

Coach Lou Holtz recruited some amazingly talented squads. The 1990 offense in particular was loaded with future NFL stars. It featured Rick Mirer at quarterback; Ricky Watters, Tony Brooks, and Dorsey Levens at tailback; Rodney Culver and Jerome Bettis at fullback; Raghib Ismail and Lake Dawson at wide receiver; and Derek Brown and Irv Smith at tight end.


January 14

Irish Lore

Legendary coach Knute Rockne was a master of psychology, always knowing precisely when to give a pat on the back or, if needed, a kick in the pants. He was never more swift to act than when he suspected a player was getting a swelled head. Indeed, Rockne couldn't stand to see a person's ego run amok. "Egotism is the anesthetic which deadens the pain of stupidity." he often said.

1932: Tackle Frank Varrichone is born. Good lineman for Leahy's last three teams and Brennan's first. Most famous for his fainting tactic at the end of the first half in a 14-14 tie with Iowa. On the next play Guglielmi threw a touchdown pass to Shannon to end the half. Leahy's tactic was legal, and Iowa's Evashevski had used it earlier in the season. Made All-American in 1954.

1967: Great linebacker on Lou Holtz's 1986, 1988 and 1990 teams. Named All-American in 1988 and 1990.


January 15

Irish Lore

By October 29, 1887, arrangements were being made to have the University of Michigan's mighty football team to drop by the Notre Dame campus in November to teach an eager group of students the new game of "rugby football." Even then, the student newspaper, the Scholastic, reflected the confidence that would become synonymous with Notre Dame football: "There is good material here for a fine team, and the boys will undoubtedly give the Michigan players a hard "tussle."


January 16

1942: Guard Dick Arrington was born. One of the first African-American players on the Irish roster. Played in 1963, and then for Ara Parseghian's teams in 1964 and 1965.

1971: Defensive Tackle Junior Bryant is born. Played for Lou's teams 1989-1992.


January 17

Irish Lore

It isn't often that Frank Leahy takes a backseat to another Notre Dame coach in terms of success, but Ara Parseghian compiled a better record at Notre Dame Stadium than "The Master" did -- 51-6-1 (.888) to Leahy's 37-6-2 (.844). For the record, Knute Rockne was 5-0 (1.000), Elmer Layden was 25-5-0 (.833), Lou Holtz was 51-13-1 (.792), and Dan Devine was 25-7-0 (.781).


January 18

Quote of the Day

"One thing we talked about this game was faith. Having faith in the future; having faith in your country, having faith in Notre Dame; having faith in people; having faith in yourself. Notre Dame was founded on faith. I thought our players exemplified that."

                                                        --Coach Lou Holtz after the Irish battled back in the last minute to beat Texas 27-24 in 1996

1939: Myron Pottios, linebacker was born.


January 19

1971: Reggie Brooks played with the Irish from 1989-1992, first as a cornerback and then in '92, his senior season, as a running back. A great competitor and a tough, fast and elusive runner. His signature play was his "knock-out" touchdown run in '92 against Michigan when he feel unconscious across the goal line after taking numerous hits on route to the endzone. This run was voted Play of the Year in 1992. His best game was against USC in '92 with 227 yards on 19 carries and 3 touchdowns. He did all this with a bad case of the flu.

1974: Highly touted high school quarterback Joe Montana visits the Notre Dame campus on a recruiting trip. The Monongahela, PA, native would be impressed enough to decide to play for Coach Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame. But, after playing only with the junior varsity in 1974, Montana would not get the opportunity to play for Parseghian, who would retire after the 1974 season. Under new coach Dan Devine, however, Montana would enjoy a storybook career with the Fighting Irish leading them to the national championship in 1977.


January 20

Irish Legend

Three of the legendary "Four Horsemen" were consensus All-Americans in 1924 -- quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, left halfback Jim Crowley, and fullback Elmer Layden. Together with right halfback Don Miller, the Four Horsemen ran roughshod over Notre Dame's opponents out of Knute Rockne's famous "shift" offense. All four players eventually were elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.


January 21

1925: George Connor is born. One of the greatest linemen in college football history, from Chicago, Illinois. Connor was a ferocious guard and tackle on Frank Leahy's back-to-back national championship teams of 1946 and 1947, and he earned consensus All-American honors both years. Connor won the Outland Trophy as a junior and was team captain as a senior.


January 22

Irish Legend

Ralph Guglielmi was Notre Dame's star quarterback seemingly all through the early 1950s. He played sparingly in 1951 then started for three straight seasons from 1952 to 1954. In his final year, Guglielmi completed 208 of 435 passes for 3,073 yards and eighteen touchdowns, and he also rushed for twelve TDs. After the season, he was a unanimous All-American selection.


January 23

1907: Joe Kurth is born. He was a fine lineman for Rockne and Anderson on the 1930,1931 and 1932 teams. Had excellent quickness, good strength, and good technique. Especially good on defense. In 1930, he started at right tackle for the national championship team. Helped save the opening win over SMU with an open field tackle of a back loose on a long run. Key blocker in many long touchdown runs during the season. In 1931, started at right tackle. Played a strong defensive game against Pitt but ignored a doctor's warning not to play and spent three days in the hospital. Made All-American in 1931. In 1932 started at right tackle. In the win over Northwestern, tackled the punter for a big loss to set up an Irish touchdown drive and later blocked a punt to create another scoring opportunity. Also elected All-American in 1932.


January 24

1980: Rocky Boiman, linebacker, and a team captain for the 2001 season is born.


January 25

1943: Split end Jack Snow is born. He languished in the shadow of mediocrity until Ara Parseghian came. Combined with Huarte to provide preview of other game-breaking tandems. Had excellent speed, smooth moves, good power, and great hands. Also a good punter. In 1964 he started a split end and had a spectacular year, setting many reception records. For the year, caught 60 passes for 1,114 yards and nine touchdowns. Was a consensus All-American in '64.

1964: Allen Pinkett, who would be become (at the time) Notre Dame's all-time leading rusher, is born in Washington, D.C. From 1982 to 1985, Pinkett would enjoy a spectacular career as running back and would set several school rushing records, including his career total of 4,131 yards. [Autry Denson now of course is the leading career rusher with a total of 4,318 yards]


January 26

1880: Fullback Louis Salmon is born. Played in the 1900, 1901,1902 and 1903 seasons. Also coached the Irish to a 5-3 record in 1904. Notre Dame's first All-American. Was the greatest Irish player -- at least until George Gipp came on the scene. In an age when record keeping was inaccurate, some feats are amazing: scored 104 points in 1903 when TDs were five points; led team to 8-0-1 record without a point being scored against it. Absolutely fierce player; unafraid to throw his 175 pounds into any melee; fierce determination to succeed. Excellent punter and defender, had good speed, moves but was best at "bucking" into the line.

Irish Lore

The man who gets little credit for entrenching football at Notre Dame was Brother Paul of the Cross, a prefect of the Senior Department from 1867 until his premature death at the age of forty-three in 1893. Brother Paul organized campus athletics at the time of football's rise in popularity in the late 1880s. It was he who helped organize the first intercollegiate game against Michigan in 1887, and he who formed the first football association on campus. Fittingly, the man who gave the Fighting Irish their start was born in Ireland.


January 27

1924: Center George Strohmeyer is born

1965: Offensive tackle Tom Rehder is born

1972: Bryant Young is born

Irish Legend

Des Moines, Iowa, native Jerry Groom was a standout linebacker on the national championship team of 1949, then was elected captain of the 1950 squad. The year he was named consensus All-American. Groom was also a great center on offense, appearing in 86 percent of all Notre Dame's plays during his career.


January 28

1974: Derrick Mayes is born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He would become a brilliant wide receiver for Notre Dame from 1992 to 1995, during which time he would set the all-time school records for touchdown receptions --both in a season with eleven in 1994 and in a career (with twenty-two).


January 29

Quote of the Day

"If it was up to me, we wouldn't tell anybody who the players are that sign letters of intent. What happens is this--when you have a good recruiting year, everybody wants to put them in the Hall of Fame. As I'm quick to remind, they're not from Krypton. They're mere mortals. They bleed when you cut them. Let's wait and see how good they are when they get here. That's the time to judge how well you recruited.

                                                                                                                                         --- Coach Lou Holtz


January 30

1946: Tom Schoen is born. In 1965 three sophomore choices for quarterback were in the running, Schoen, Pergine and Don Koenings. Schoen was the quickest, but his passing was erratic. Pergine was the largest and had a strong arm but was inaccurate. Koenings was the best passer, but lack- ed the agility of the other two. Ara called on Bill Zloch, a senior, to fill the spot.

A week after the Northwestern game Zloch suffered from tendonitis and was replaced by Tom Schoen. That year he directed a 69-yard drive against the Wildcats of Northwestern, throwing three straight passes, overcoming two penalties, and still led the Irish to a score. In the Army game he threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Don Gmitter. The Irish performed well enough for a 7-0 halftime lead. Then Schoen bruised his ribs and was replaced by Zloch. The Irish won 17-0.

In 1966 holdover Schoen was pitted against O'Brien and Hanratty in the quarterback battle. Early in spring Ara asked Tom to make a change. His speed, good hands and knowledge of pass defense made him a natural to become a defensive safety. Tom had a desire to play and where was insignificant. It didn't take him long to fit in at that new position.

Midway in the final period of the Michigan State game Schoen came up with his second interception, giving the Irish its last real scoring opportunity.

In the contest with Southern California a perfectly timed pass from Trojan quarterback Toby Page was caught in full stride by Schoen who flew toward the end zone. He was met solidly at the USC three-yard line by the Trojan defender but fought his way forward for the score.

Schoen is still the holder of many all-time individual Notre Dame records: punt returns, most per game: 9 vs. Pittsburgh in 1967, for 167 yards; most per season: 42 in 1967 good for 447 yards; most yards gained per single game: 167 vs. Pittsburgh on nine returns.

Interceptions: most yards gained in a career: 226 yards on 11 steals ('65-67) most touchdowns scored in a season via interceptions: 3 (tied with Randy Harrison who turned the trick in 1974).


January 31

1909: Bert Metzger, superb guard on Rockne's 1928, 1929 and 1930 teams. At only 5' 9" Metzger was the epitome of Rockne's famous "watch charm guards." But even Rock had his doubts and questioned him, to receive the polite reply: "Yes, sir, I'm small, but I'm rough." Often outweighed by 80 or 90 pounds, used incredible speed to be halfway into his block before an opponent knew what was happening. Typified Rockne-style of line play. In 1928, backed up at right guard. In 1929, backed up at right guard for the national champions. In 1930, started at right guard for the repeat national championship teams. Wreaked havoc in the Army secondary, especially on Schwartz's "perfect play" for the 7-6 win. Won unanimous All-American honors.



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