May Calendar

May 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, 75 Years of Notre Dame All-Americans and The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia.


May 1

Irish Landmark

No freshman running back at Notre Dame ever had a better season that Jerome Heavens in 1975. He set the school's frosh record for rushing yards in a game (148 vs. Georgia Tech) and in a season (756).


May 2

Quote, Unquote

"You've got to believe in what you're saying. You've got to believe in what you're saying so strongly, you won't compromise. If you believe in something so strongly that you can put your name on the line, the players will usually do it. But Lord knows you better be right."

-- Coach Lou Holtz


May 3

Irish Landmark

Quarterback Blair Keil and wide receiver Joe Howard combined on the longest pass play in Notre Dame history against Georgia Tech in 1981. Howard ran virtually the length of the field on a 96-yard completion for a touchdown.


May 4

Elmer Layden, Running back/Quarterback/Punter (1922-24); Head coach (1934-40) is born in 1903.

5'11", 1621bs.

Known as the Quiet Horseman, Elmer Layden had an association with Notre Dame that spanned nearly twenty years, and he left behind a legacy of quality football as both a player and a coach. During his three seasons on the Notre Dame varsity the team compiled a record of 27-2-1. In his seven seasons as coach, Notre Dame was a tremendous 47-13-3.

Layden was the biggest and fastest of the Four Horsemen (which included Don Miller, Jim Crowley, and Harry Stuhldreher), the most famous, and quite possibly the best backfield in college football history. He was capable of running a 10-second 100-yard dash and was also the team's best defensive player and punter.

Layden arrived in South Bend from Davenport, Iowa, in 1921 at the tender age of eighteen. The following season he saw time at left halfback and quarterback on a team that won eight games and lost and tied one apiece. Layden saw time as a starter, rushing for 453 yards on 80 carries (an average of 5.7 yards a carry). Some of his highlights were an interception that preserved a 0-0 tie against Army, a touchdown reception from Stuhldreher in a 19-0 victory over Camegie Tech, and a touchdown pass thrown to Miller.

In 1923, the 162-pound Layden was the team's starting fullback, and he proved that he was up to the challenge. He gained 420 yards on 102 carries and scored 5 touchdowns, and also caught 6 passes for 78 yards and 2 scores. On defense he broke open a game in which Notre Dame beat Princeton, 12-0, with an interception and subsequent 40-yard touchdown return. Two weeks later, by averaging 48 yards per kick, he kept Purdue stuck in its own territory in a 34-7 Fighting Irish victory. The squad's only loss that season was to Nebraska, 14-7, a week later, and it finished at 9-1.

In the third game of the 1924 season, Layden and the rest of the quartet became living legends. He scored a touchdown in the 13-7 victory over Army at New York's  Polo Grounds, and also picked off a pass at mid-field to set up the eventual game-winning drive. The nickname Four Horsemen was coined by sportswriter Grantland Rice in his report on the game in the October 19, 1924, edition of the New York Herald, Tribune. Rice was comparing the four football players to the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Famine, Pestilence, War, and Death) when he likened Layden and his teammates to "famine, pestilence, destruction, and death" for their opponents.

Layden was part of a unique team that year. Notre Dame was 10-0, and outscored opponents 285-54 (including a 27-10 victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl) en route to its first consensus national title. Layden chipped in with his usual season, rushing for 423 yards on 111 carries and 5 touchdowns. The consensus All-American also threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Crowley. Layden might have played his best game in the Rose Bowl. He scored 3 touchdowns: one on a 3-yard plunge, one on a 78-yard interception return, and another on a 70-yard interception return. His booming punts also kept Stanford mired in its own territory.

After he graduated, Layden returned to Iowa in 1925 to practice law and coach football at a small school called Columbia College in Dubuque. After two seasons, eight victories, five losses, and two ties, Layden moved to Pittsburgh to coach Duquesne University, where he also served as athletic director. In seven seasons, he led Duquesne to a formidable 48-16-6 record (.728). In 1933, his Duquesne team not only beat the University of Miami 33-7, in the Festival of Palms Game, an early version of the Orange Bowl, it also stuck crosstown rival and national powerhouse Pittsburgh with a 7-0 loss. That was enough to earn him a call from South Bend. Layden fit the Fighting Irish like a glove. He was a favorite son, owner of a gifted football mind, an organized administrator, a guy who could work a crowd from a podium, and certainly not the least of the factors that made Layden attractive to Notre Dame was the fact that he was a staunch Catholic. Before a disastrous 3-5-1 season under Heartley "Hunk" Anderson was completed, Layden was named the sixteenth football coach in the school's history. He would also replace Jesse Harper as athletic director.

Layden turned the ship around instantly, wining three of his first four games as coach and leading the Fighting Irish to a 6-3 record in 1934. That turned out to be his worst season as coach. In 1935 he brought an underdog team to Columbus, Ohio and beat the vaunted Scarlet Scourge of Ohio State in a legendary 18-13 come from behind victory. He led Notre Dame to a 19-0 victory over the University of Minnesota on November 12, 1938, which was the school's three-hundredth win. The team won all of its other ten games that season and was named national champion by several organizations, but not the Associated Press. Despite his outstanding seven-season record of 47-13-3 (.769), Notre Dame never won a consensus national championship duting his tenure.

Layden left in a huff after the 1940 season, during which the team won seven of its nine games. When his contract expired he was only offered a one-year extension, which he refused to sign. To put this in perspective, his previous contract extension had been for five seasons. He departed South Bend for a high-paying job as commissioner of the National Football League, a post he held for five years. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Along with Jesse Harper, Elmer Layden is considered one of the most underrated and unhearalded Notre Dame coaches.

From "The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia."


May 5

Chuck Sweeney End (1935-37) is born in 1914.

6'0", 179lbs.

After graduating from Trinity High School in Bloomington, Illinois, where he starred in both basketball and football, Sweeney worked the summer months as a seaman on a freighter. Not long afterward he stepped ashore and headed off to Notre Dame. Sweeney tried out for the basketball and football teams and played for both during his first two years at school, but then concentrated solely on football. He earned his first letter in 1936 and cracked the starting lineup in 1937, contributing a great deal on both offense and defense. Notre Dame went 6-2-1, and Sweeney was good for many big plays. In a 9-7 victory over Navy, he stopped halfback Allan McFarland in the end zone for the winning safety. His heroics earned him first-team All-American honors.


May 6


The Notre Dame Board of Trustees approves the first plan to expand Notre Dame Stadium since in construction in 1930. An expansion of the rectangular bowl would raise the stadium's capacity by 21,150 seats to 80,225 in 1997. Most of the extra seats would go to contributing alumni, whose allotment would double to 32,000. Moreover, allotments would increase slightly for staff, faculty, alumni clubs, and benefactors.


May 7

Luther Bradley, Strong safety (1973, 1975-77) is born in 1955.

6'2", 200 lbs.

Bradley, of Muncie, Indiana, holds the Notre Dame career record for interceptions (17), and book-ended his college run by playing on two national championship teams (1973 and 1977). The ferocious hitter made many All-America teams during his time in South Bend, and also holds the record for the most yardage on interception returns in a game (2 for 103 yards against Purdue in 1975, including a 99-yard return for a touchdown that is the second-longest return in school history). After making 153 career tackles in college, Bradley played in the Japan Bowl and was selected in the first round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He played for them for four seasons before retiring.


May 8

Irish Lore

In 1997; Paul Zimmerman wrote a feature in Sports lllustrated entitled .'The Golden Boys," which debated the merits of the two contenders for the title of greatest college football team of all time-the 1946 Notre Dame squad and the 1947 Notre Dame squad "Which team was better? Hard to say," Zimmerman wrote. "Both were national champions, both were unbeatens. ...Most veterans of both teams give a slight nod to the 1947 squad "


May 9

Quote, Unquote

"Being a Notre Dame football player automatically puts you in the national spotlight, more so than players from any other school.  Don't let those fans down. Be honest with yourself. Give that second and third effort. Bring Notre Dame football back to where it belongs -- on top."

--Don Hogan, former Notre Dame player who had been seriously injured in a car accident, in a letter to the 1964 team.


Dan Devine, former Notre Dame head coach died on this date in 2002. Devine's first coaching post was at East Jordan High School in Michigan, where he led the team to undefeated seasons in 1948 and 1949. The next year it was off to Michigan State, where he was freshman coach and eventually an assistant coach on the varsity, in charge of the offensive backfield. In 1955, Devine became a head college coach, accepting the post at Arizona State University. In three seasons he had phenomenal success, as Arizona State was 27-3-1. Under Devine the team went undefeated for the first time in school history and finished twelfth in the final Associated Press poll. His performance at Arizona State did not go unnoticed. The University of Missouri grabbed him, and in thirteen seasons Devine's teams were 92-38-7. The Tigers played in the Orange Bowl their second season under Devine, and in 1960 were 10-1, won the Orange Bowl 24-21 over Navy, and were ranked fifth in the nation.

Missouri never lost more than three games in a season during the Devine era. He also served as the school's athletic director from 1966 to 1971. In 1972, he left college and graduated to the professional ranks as coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers responded to him instantly, going 10-4 in his first season and winning the division title. He was named the NFC Coach of the Year by the United Press International and the Pro Football Writers Association of America.

Three years later, Devine was on the sidelines in South Bend. On December 17, 1974, Notre Dame announced that Devine would become the twenty-fourth head coach in the history of the program. Devine, an extremely successful college coach, was then coming off a less-than-stellar stint as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, with a record of 25-28-4. His assignment at Notre Dame was not an easy one. Not only was he taking over one of the most storied programs in the game, he was also replacing Ara Parseghian, who, in eleven years, led Notre Dame to a remarkable 95-17-4 record.

Devine's teams, though, were up for the challenge. During his six-year run, and despite underutilizing quarterback Joe Montana, the Fighting Irish were a more than respectable 53-16-1 and won the national championship in 1977, his third year in South Bend. The only blemish on that otherwise perfect record was a 20-13 loss at the University of Mississippi in the second week of the season. After that, Notre Dame steamrolled, including winning its final two games over the Air Force Academy and the University of Miami by a combined score of 97-10. The Fighting Irish went on to the Cotton Bowl and clinched the national title by cruising past number five-ranked Texas,  38-10. Notre Dame impressed all the voters and was ranked number one in every poll for the first time in school history. The team didn't have any down seasons under Devine, and went 9-2-1 in his final season, 1980. Devine retired from Notre Dame after a 17-10 loss in the Sugar Bowl to Georgia on January 1, 1981. (He said that he was vacating the post because his wife was in poor health.) His overall coaching record was 126-42-7 (.742).

Devine did come out of retirement to become the executive director of the Arizona State Sun Angel Foundation in Phoenix. Then, in 1992, he went back to the University of Missouri, where he had coached for thirteen very successful seasons, to become its athletic director. He was a 1985 inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame and retired for good in 1994.

From "The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia."


May 10

Irish Legend

Tom Schoen of Euclid, Ohio, was a standout safety and punt returner on the 1966 and 1967 Fighting Irish teams of Ara Parseghian. In 1966, Schoen picked off seven passes and returned two for touchdowns, and he also returned one punt for a score as the Irish won the national title.


May 11

Irish Lore

How good were the postwar Notre Dame teams of Frank Leahy? So good that in 1947, Leahy advised guard George "Cud" Tobin-who had returned to Notre Dame after three years off to fight in World War II-to leave school and take a $5,000 offer from the NFL's New York Giants. Leahy's reasoning was that Tobin probably would be a first-teamer with the Giants, but would not see much playing time with the immensely talented Fighting Irish.


May 12

Irish Lore

Frank E. Hering was Notre Dame's captain and coach in 1898 and he later became the longtime president of the school's Alumni Association. But Hering earned greater fame as the "Father of Mother's Day" because it was his brainchild for Americans to once a year set aside this day to honor mothers.


Frank E. Hering was Notre Dame's captain and coach in 1898 and he later became the longtime president of the school's Alumni Association. But Hering earned greater fame as the "Father of Mother's Day" because it was his brainchild for Americans to once a year set aside this day to honor mothers.

This excerpt on the Notre Dame-Mother's Day connection is from a great book, Out of Bounds by Larry Weaver and Mike Bonifer:

Why did you annually spend one May day of your adolescence buying your mother satin-wrapped coat hangers and perfumed guest soap? For Mother's Day, of course. And whom do you blame for that? Why, Francis E. Hering, Notre Dame's first full-time football coach. Of course.

On February 7, 1904, six years after he had resigned as the Notre Dame coach, Hering addressed the national convention of the Fraternal Order of Eagles at the English Opera House in Indianapolis. Hering's harangue, "Our Mothers and Their Importance in Our Lives," was the opening salvo in his campaign to institute Mother's Day. Ten years later, a brief interlude by government standards, Congress took action and Hering had his wish. Florists and candy makers all over America should have his picture hanging on their walls.

Back to Hering's remarkable football career. After quarterbacking the University of Chicago squad in 1893 and 1894, Hering surfaced as coach of the Bucknell Bisons; he probably played for the Bisons as well, under an assumed name. By 1896, Hering had landed the Notre Dame coaching job. Following accepted practice under the era's hazy eligibility rules, Hering was also team captain, starring at a number of positions. Besides all that, he found time to teach English and study law; and he actually collected part of his pay in cuts of beef from the Notre Dame farm.

Hering brought the team its first regional recognition. Schools such as Indiana, Purdue, Illinois and Michigan State were coaxed into the schedule for the first time, while Chicago and Michigan returned from a few years' absence. Despite the tougher opponents, the Blue and Gold managed to win two-thirds of its games. People were beginning to get the idea that the boys from South Bend could play football with the best of them.

Coaching was a young man's game in those days. Hering left after the 1898 season and a three year record of 12-6- 1. He continued bumping heads in pro ball for years, worked as a magazine editor, and in later life published a volume of poetry. Nor did he neglect his pet project: staking a spot on the calendar for mom. Notre Dame soon had the rare distinction of being coached by the Father of Mother's Day.

Now, when's the last time you gave your mom an autographed football?


May 13

Irish Humor

"I can remember," Father James Riehle, team chaplain, says, "Dan Devine coming up to me on the sideline and saying: 'Hey, Father, say a prayer, we're going to throw a long pass.' They threw it and completed it for 70-some yards and Dan said:'Thanks for the prayer.' The thing is, I never said a prayer.

"It is amazing when we lose a game that someone will come up to me and say: 'I guess you didn't pray hard enough, Father.' As if I had anything to do with it. But this is the mentality of people. I keep saying to them: 'What do we do when we play Boston College? Do you think God's up there flipping a coin to decide which Catholic school to help?'


May 14

Irish Legend

Nick Rassas of Winnetka, Illinois, is one of the great "rags to riches" stories in Notre Dame history; After joining the football team as a walk-on, he not only worked his way into the starting lineup at safety in 1964 and 1965, he was one of the nation's most scintillating punt returners. In 1965, he set the Notre Dame single-season average with 19.1 yards per punt return, helping him to earn consensus All-American honors.


May 15

Irish Legend

Pat Filley Guard (1941-44), 5'8", 175 Ibs

"Peanut" Filley played alongside some of the most talented players in Notre Dame history. He was the smallest player in the starting lineup on the 1943 team, which was 9-1, and gave the Fighting Irish its first national title in thirteen years. Filley, a local product from South Bend, was as spirited as he was talented. He was the team's emotional leader, and although the team was packed with eventual College Football Hall of Famers (halfback Creighton Miller, tackle Ziggy Czarobski, and quarterbacks Angelo Bertelli and Johnny Lujack), it was Filley, a junior, who was named the team's captain. He was also the captain of the team his senior season, becoming the first player to hold the title twice. After his junior season he was selected a first-team All-American; the rich-with-talent Fighting Irish dressed five other All-Americans that year. Filley ended up his four-year college career in 1945 with another All-American campaign.

The Cleveland Browns selected Filley in the tenth round of the draft, but he never played a down as a pro. He took a job at Cornell, working as an assistant for former Notre Dame coach Ed McKeever, but ten years later, an arthritic condition cut his coaching career short. He moved into the front office, where he worked more than thirty years in sundry positions, such as assistant director, ticket manager, director of operations, and associate director in charge of scheduling.


May 16

Irish Humor

From Four Horsemen Jim Crowley:

Before one of the Army games, Rockne used a "little white lie" to motivate his players. Crowley recalls:

"Before the game, Rockne came in and told us: 'I just heard that Army's going to kick you off the schedule.' Then he paused for effect. 'Well, they might be able to kick you off the schedule, but they can't kick you off the field.' He used that as his theme for that day, and we went out and won the game. The next day we picked up the New York Times and found out that he had signed a new five-year pact with West Point officials. We found out reading the story that he had signed it the Friday before the game - and he was telling us the night before the game that they were going to kick us off the schedule!"

Crowley adds with good humor, "They were all lies, blatant lies. The Jesuits would call it mental reservation, but he had it in abundance. "


May 17

Tim Grunhard Guard/Center (1986-89) born in 1968

Head coach Lou Holtz liked Grunhard's attitude. He looked at the big lineman from Chicago as a throwback. Grunhard played a lot of minutes, earned four letters, and was twice named an All-American. His best season was his final college campaign. In 1989 he was on the field for almost 300 minutes as Notre Dame averaged a whopping 287.7 yards rushing a game, and Grunhard earned All-American honors. Grunhard, who started twenty-four games during his four college seasons, was also named an honorable mention All-American as a junior. The Kansas City Chiefs picked him in the second round of the 1990 NFL draft.

From "The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia."


May 18

Criag Hentrich Kicker/punter (1989-92), 6'1", 1971bs. is born in 1971.

Hentrich came to Notre Dame from Marquette High School in Alton, Illillois, with a fabulous reputation. In addition to kicking and punting, Hentrich also played safety and quarterback. At Notre Dame, he was a versatile kicker and as effective as a punter as he was as a placekicker. He holds the school record for punting average (44.1 yards) and extra points (177) and extra-point percentage (.983), as he missed just 3. With 294 career points, Hentrich is second in all-time scoring at Notre Dame. His 39 field goals tied Dan Reeve's 1977 mark for second in school history behind John Carney, who made 51 three-pointers in 1986. He set the school's single-season record for punting average as a freshman (44.6 yards) and broke it the following year when his kicks averaged 44.9 yards. Also as a freshman, Hentrich kicked 8 field goals and made 44 of his 45 extra-point attempts, for 68 points.

As a sophomore, the four-year letter winner nailed all 41 of his extra-point attempts and 16 of his 20 field goals for a kicker's-record 89 points. Hentrich missed two games with a knee injury as a junior, but that hardly slowed down this stat machine. He attempted only 8 field goals (but made 5), and set a school record with 48 extra points, not missing any. In 1991 his punting was down to 42.9 yards per kick.

Hentrich had successful knee surgery to repair a torn ligament and was alive and kicking by the fall of his senior season. He averaged 43.8 yards per punt, and made 10 of 13 field goals and 44 of 46 extra points (his first misses since his freshman year). He finished with 74 points and was twice honored as an honorable mention All-American (as both a punter and kicker). After Notre Dame, Hentrich was selected in the eighth round of the 1993 NFL draft by the New York Jets. He punted with the Green Bay Packers from 1994 to 1997, and joined the Tennessee Titans in 1998.

From The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia


May 19

Mirko Jurkovic, Guard/Defensive Tackle (1988-91) 6'4", 289 lbs. is born in 1970

Jurkovic began his Notre Dame career as a defensive tackle and finished it as one of the best offensive linemen in the country. The immovable object from Calumet City, Illinois, was one of just two freshmen to earn a letter in 1988, playing 48 minutes on the national championship team as a backup defensive tackle. The next season he switched to the other side of the ball and began a three-year tour at offensive guard. He played 69 minutes at that position as a sophomore behind senior Tim Grunhard. The following season, after Grunhard moved on, the position was Jurkovic's. He played more minutes during his senior season than any other Fighting Irish offensive player, and the team's offense was ranked eleventh in the nation.

Jurkovic's play was definitely noticed. He made several top All-American teams, and was also named the Notre Dame Lineman of the Year by the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. The Chicago Bears selected him in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL draft, and he played one season with the team.


May 20

Irish Legend

John Huarte Quarterback (1962-64), 6'0", 180 lbs. is born in 1943.

It would have been generous to consider Huarte even a remote candidate for the Heisman Trophy as he entered his senior season. Injuries limited him to 8 passes as a sophomore and 42 as a junior. A coach who believes in a player, however, can make a big difference, and Ara Parseghian helped Huarte win the coveted Heisman award.

Parseghian was brought in to turn around a Notre Dame program that had gone 2-7 in 1963. He put the ball in Huarte's hands, and when it wasn't in his hands it was either in the air or in receiver Jack Snow's hands. That year Huarte, who had an odd yet extremely accurate sidearm passing motion, completed 114 of 205 passes for 2,062 yards and 16 touchdowns. Snow caught 60 of those balls for 1,114 yards, second best in the NCAA. Notre Dame went 9-1 that season, and if it had not been for a 20-17 upset (home job) by USC in the season finale, Parseghian would have started off his rebuilding effort with a national title. Huarte beat out the University of Tulsa's Jerry Rhome for the Heisman and was also the United Press International Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. Huarte, who set twelve school records as a senior, was the first in an impressive line of quarterbacks for Parseghian, a list that also included Terry Hanratty, Joe Theismann, and Tom Clements.

The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets selected Huarte in the sixth round of the draft. Huarte chose New York, which, in retrospect, was probably the wrong choice. The Jets had also signed a flamboyant quarterback from the University of Alabama named Joe Namath, who was offered $400,000, twice the contract Huarte received. Namath became the American Football League's Rookie of the Year, while Huarte spent most of his first year on the taxi squad. The opportunity he received in his last year of college wasn't there his first year in the pros.

Huarte was released by the Jets in 1966 and spent eight seasons around the NFL and AFL as a backup.


May 21

Irish Legend

Ara Parseghian, Notre Dame head coach from 1964-1974, is born in 1923.

In Akron, Ohio, a boy is born to Michael Parseghian, an Armenian-born banker, and his French-born wife, Amelie. The couple names the boy "Ara" -after an Armenian king of about the ninth century B.C., a legendary figure in Armenia's struggle for freedom. Ara Parseghian would go on to immediately resurrect the lifeless Notre Dame football program in 1964, and over eleven years he would completely restore the fight in the Irish - winning two national championships.


May 22

Irish Legend

Tony Hunter, Tight end/Wingback/Split end (1979-82), 6'5", 226 lbs. was born in 1960

Hunter was Ohio's prep football player of the year in 1978 and was reunited with his high school coach at Notre Dame. Gerry Faust, who had coached Hunter at Cincinnati's Moeller High School, replaced Dan Devine as the Fighting Irish's coach in 1981, Hunter's junior season. The deep threat started seven games at split end his freshman season and caught 27 passes for 690 yards and 2 touchdowns. His 25.6-yards-per-catch average as a freshman was a single-season school record.

Hunter was an exceptional blend of size and speed, and he used it to lead Notre Dame in receiving the ensuing three seasons. He became the starting split end in 1980 and led the team in receiving, with 23 catches for 303 yards. He also rushed the ball 5 times for 52 yards. In 1981, reunited with Faust, Hunter played tight end, split end, and wing-back. Again he was the team's leading pass catcher, with 28 receptions for 397 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 27 times for 68 yards and a touchdown.

By 1982, Hunter had become as good a blocker as a receiver, and he settled in to what was probably his natural position: tight end. As a starter, he was Notre Dame's leading receiver for the third consecutive season, with 42 catches for 507 yards, and was named a first-team All-American. As of 2000, he was the team's sixth all-time receiver, with 120 receptions for 1,897 yards.

The Buffalo Bills selected Hunter twelfth overall in the 1983 NFL draft. He played with the Bills in 1983 and 1984, and with the Los Angeles Rams from 1985 through 1987. In his NFL career, Hunter caught 134 passes for 1,501 yards and 9 touchdowns.


May 23

Irish Legend

Raghib Ismail Flanker/Split end (1988-90), 5'10", 175 lbs.

"Rocket" Ismail could have relied only on his incredible 4.12 40-yard-dash speed to be a college standout, but the fleet-footed receiver also had moves to juke defenders and the guts to go across the middle of the field. Ismail was stunningly quick off the line, and he was not only tough to catch, he had the leg strength to break tackles in the event that he was caught. He put all of those skills together to play three All-American years at Notre Dame and nearly won the Heisman Trophy as a senior.

Ismail was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, after the death of his father. He went on to become one of the best prep athletes in Pennsylvania history. As a tailback, the blue-chip prospect rushed for 4,494 yards and 62 touchdowns in three years on the varsity football team at Meyers High School. He also won a state track and field championship in the 100 meters, long jump, and 400-meter relay.

Ismail weighed only 175 pounds and was too small to play tailback in college, but he certainly had the jets to play split end. That is where he would start half the games as a freshman, on a 12-0 team that won the national championship under head coach Lou Holtz. That season Ismail was clocked at 4.33 in the 40-yard dash. When he later worked out for NFL scouts, he would cut .21 off that time. Ismail caught 12 passes for 331 yards, intimidating defenses with a 27.6 yards-per-catch average. He also led the nation by averaging 36.1 yards on 12 kickoff returns.That season he scored 4 touchdowns and was named an honorable mention All-American.

In 1989 Holtz moved Ismail to flanker to take advantage of his versatility, and Ismail performed incredibly well. For the season, he caught 27 passes for 535 yards, returned 20 kickoffs for 502 yards and 2 scores, averaged 7.5 yards on 64 carries for a total of 478 yards and 2 touchdowns, and returned 7 punts for 113 yards and another touchdown. He capped the season, in which Notre Dame went 12-1, with a Most Valuable Player performance in a 21-6 victory over the University of Colorado in the Orange Bowl. Ismail was named a consensus All-American; by the end of the season he had another distinction. He became the first college player to run back two kickoffs for touchdowns in two different games. As a freshman he scored twice on kickoffs against Rice University, and did it again as a sophomore against Michigan.

Ismail came back for his junior year in 1990 and devastated opposing defenses. He started at flanker and played a little tailback on a 9-3 Notre Dame team. He caught 32 passes for 699 yards and 2 touchdowns, rushed the ball 67 times for 537 yards (for 8.0 yards per carry) and 3 touchdowns, returned 14 kickoffs for 336 yards and a touchdown, and ran back 13 punts for 151 yards. A consensus first-team All-American, Ismail was named Player of the Year in 1990 by the Walter Camp Foundation and the Sporting News. Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer was the only player to finish ahead of Ismail in Heisman Trophy voting. Penn State coach Joe Patemo, who must have felt bummed losing the local product, called Ismail "one of the three or four best players ever to play college football."


May 24

Irish Humor

If Notre Dame was generally short of talent in 1956, there was, however, a good supply of enthusiasm. Paul Hornung recalls: " At no time during the season did we feel we were lying down as far as spirit is concerned. We were trying in every game." Losing made a philosopher out of Hornung and his teammates. "After we lost the first one," he says, "Coach Brennan said not to worry , because every time you lost, you learned something. So I figured by the end of the season we weren't the best, but we sure must have been the smartest team in the country."


May 25

Irish Landmark

Dave Reeve set the long-standing Notre Dame record for the longest field goal by kicking a 53-yarder against Pittsburgh in 1976. It smashed the previous record of 49-yards set by Joe Perkowski fifteen years earlier against USC.


May 26

Irish Humor

From former player and coach Tom Clements: "When Lou hired me," he says "he told me that he didn't know if I could coach. But he said he was doing society a favor by getting a lawyer off the streets."


May 27

Irish Legend - Memorial Day Tribute to Jack Chevigny

Jack Chevigny, was a halfback on the 1926 Notre Dame team who gained immortality for scoring the winning touchdown in the come-from-behind "Win One For the Gipper" game against Army.

Tragically, Jack was killed on Iwo Jima towards the end of World War Two. Irish Legends found an old article in our files which recalls the incredible story of Jack and a souvenir pen he was given later in his coaching career.

Souvenir Pen Give Late Jack Chevigny Used by Jap Envoy in Signing His Nations Surrender

It was the end of a 0-0 half in the 1928 Notre Dame-Army game. The players of a badly bruised Notre Dame team were hardly able to drag themselves to the dressing rooms. it was then that Knute Rockne told the boys of George Gipp, who game his life for Notre Dame, and fulfilled Gipp's last wish when, for the first time, he told the boys what Gipp had said on his death-bed:

Gipp's Request

"Some time, Rock, when the team's up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys --tell them to go in there with all they've got and win one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock; but I'll know about it and I'll be happy."

The team, forgetting their aches and pains, ran out on the field for the last half. As Jack Chevigny slashed his way for the winning touchdown, he said: "There one for the Gipper!"

Jack Chevigny became a great football player, so great that in timehe was made head coach at the University of Texas. His first game was with Notre Dame which he won and at the close of the season a banquet was held in honor of the team. In appreciation of his great work Chevigny received a gold fountain pen which was inscribed, "To Jack Chevigny, a Notre Dame boy who beat Notre Dame"

Of course, Jack was proud of having produced a team which could  beat Notre Dame; but he was also very proud of the fact that he was a Notre Dame alumnus, and because of this he never liked the inscription on the pen.

After Pearl Harbor, Jack joined the Marines.

Killed on Iwo Jima

He was killed on Iwo Jima by a sniper bullet.

But that dosen't end the story of Jack Chevigny.

When the Japanese envoys came on board the Missouri, one of the U.S. personnel noticed the pen with which one of the Japanese envoys was about the sign the surrender documents. They discovered that this pen bore the inscription, "To Jack Chevigny, a Notre Dame boy who beat Notre Dame." It was the pen that Jack had received at the football banquet years before. The Japanese had found or taken it at Iwo Jima.

Jack's pen was later sent home by his buddies, who had the inscription changed to read the way Jack would have wanted it: "To Jack Chevigny, a Notre Dame boy who gave his life for his country in the spirit of old Notre Dame."


May 28

Irish Humor


It is not generally known, but I experienced first-hand what it was like to face Rockne and Notre Dame from an opponent's bench. You see, I was a substitute for Marquette in 1921, when Notre Dame, after trailing at halftime, came back to beat us, 21 to 7, in a memorable game.

It was the pride of my movie life to play the role of Rockne, a character study I have since recreated at football banquets and on the night club circuit hundreds of times. In my small way I have tried to pass along the magnificent philosophy and teachings of this most amazing human being. A line he often quoted summed up his philosophy so aptly and applied the today's world just as much as it did to the world of the twenties. .

"If you go hunting with your boy," Rock said, "you won't have to go huntingforyour boy."

God look after him.


May 29

Irish Legend

Kevin McDougal Quarterback (1990-93), 6'2", 1941bs. is born in 1972.

If McDougal had gone to another school, he might have been a four-year starter, but at Notre Dame he had to wait his turn behind All-American Rick Mirer. When Mirer finally left school after the 1992 season, McDougal, from Pompano Beach, Florida, got his chance and more than made up for lost time. His 1993 season was a good career in one year, and he set many passing marks that may never be broken.

In his first three seasons, McDougal played a total of 49:05 in parts of fifteen games. As a senior he led the Fighting Irish to an 11-1 record. They were one play away from a national championship before falling to Boston College, 41-39, in the season finale. For the season, McDougal played 237:46 as the team's starting quarterback, completing 98 of 159 passes for 1,541 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He also ran the ball 55 times for 85 yards and 4 scores. He finished his career with an excellent outing against Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, where he was 7 for 15 for 105 yards, and ran for a touchdown on a 19-yard option in the 24-21 victory.

McDougal's career stats hold up pretty well. He completed 112 of 180 passes (.622 percent, a school record) for 1,726 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. He also rushed 71 times for 159 yards and 6 touchdowns. His senior-year completion percentage of .616 (98 completions of 159 attempts) is still a single-season record, and he is the career leader in completion percentage (.622). His quarterback efficiency rating of 154.41 eclipsed Mirer's mark of 138.9, and his 9.58 yards per pass attempt is a school record for a career. Only John Huarte averaged more yards per pass attempt in a season (10.1 to McDougal's 9.69), and only Mirer's career interception avoidance percentage (.0329) is stingier than McDougal's (.0333).


May 30

Irish Legend

John Krimm Cornerback (1978-81), 6'2", 190 lbs. is born in 1960.

Krimm was a three-year starter at cornerback for Dan Devine and Gerry Faust. He had all the tools to succeed - speed, range, and hitting ability. By the time he was done at Notre Dame he'd made 116 tackles and snared 4 interceptions.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Krimm earned all-state prep honors in both football and track. After his three years of solid work with the Fighting Irish, the Saints were impressed enough to use a 1982 third-round NFL draft pick for Krimm. He played two seasons with the Saints before retiring from pro football.


May 31

Irish Legend

Bob Crable Linebacker (1978-81), 6'3". 225lbs.

Bob Crable just couldn't shake head coach Gerry Faust. After starring for the coach at Cincinnati's Moeller High School, which Crable helped lead to three consecutive state championships, Crable moved on to star at Notre Dame. Crable, regarded as the best linebacker ever to play for Notre Dame, set a school record of 521 tackles, which still stands. Before it was all through, Crable and Faust would be back together again.

Crable did not play much in his freshman season, compiling 13 tackles, considerably less than his career average for one game. The next year, however, Crable was the team's best defender. He led the team in tackles for nine of the season's eleven games and set the single-season and one-game tackle records. Crable was named a third-team AlI- American. In 1980, Crable again led the team, this time with 154 tackles, and first- team All-American honors came rolling in.

In 1981, when Crable was the senior captain of the squad, Faust took over the Notre Dame head-coaching reins from Dan Devine. Crable seemed to welcome his old coach back. He made 167 tackles and intercepted 2 passes during the season and was a near-unanimous first-team AlI-American. He was also named the Most Valuable Player by the Notre Dame Monogram Club for the second time in two years.

Crable holds virtually every record for tackles in the history of the school. He and Bob Golic are tied for tackles in a single game, with 26. Crable made his hits in a 16-10 loss against Clemson in the 1979 season. His 187 tackles that season are also a school mark. Crable's 167 tackles in 1981 are second on the list, and his 521 career tackles are also the standard for future Fighting Irish defenders to shoot for.

Crable was selected by the New York Jets in the first round (twenty-third overall) of the 1982 NFL draft. Injuries limited his career to three seasons, and he went back to Moeller High School to take over the head coaching position that made Faust famous.



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