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Commentary, Departmental News, Sports Desk, Station Programming

Wake Up The Echoes


The winner of the “Living with Sportz” Fan of the Day for December 1st is Dan Moore. Dan is a huge Oklahoma State fan. He has been a reader, follower and listener to Living with Sportz for some time. Dan has asked that Living with Sportz Radio be on satellite radio to listen while driving truck. Dan is definitely “Living with Sportz.” Congrats Dan!!!

Thank you to last night’s special guests, Dave Goren and Cool Mike. It was a great show and I am honored to have such wonderful and informative guests on Living with Sportz Radio.

Coryell Factor: Coryell won three straight division titles (1979, 1980, 1981) with the Chargers, reaching the playoffs four consecutive times. Don Coryell, Hall of Fame 2011

In my article yesterday, I mentioned that I did not view LSU as one of the most storied football programs in the long history of college football. I know that they have had a nice run over the last decade but today I am going to talk about one of the most storied programs in college football history. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Growing up in the Midwest and long before every game was televised, there was one sure thing. Every Sunday morning, you could turn on the television to a 30 minute recap of yesterday’s Notre Dame football game. With only 3 channels and yes, you had to get up to change the channel, we would rush home from church to catch the highlight show of the Notre Dame game. I was not a Notre Dame fan and was not catholic but it was one of the few times you could watch any college football. As I got a little older we would get the game of the week on television. Wow, it seems so long ago in this day when you can watch as many as 50 games on any given Saturday.

We got our news and sports news from the newspapers and maybe the late Saturday night’s local sports would update the scores of the day. There was no ESPN or for that matter any sports stations on television. We always had the Notre Dame highlight show on Sunday’s and it was narrated by the great Lindsey Nelson. I am truly aging myself with that one. Notre Dame was college football in the 60’s and early 70’s. You either loved them or hated them, but then again, it is still the same today with regards to your loyalty to this great university.

I am still not a Notre Dame fan nor do I hate them. I guess in quite a few ways I don’t understand them. This school has won 11 National Championships and is 2nd in all time winning percentage only trailing Michigan. The way these two schools have been of late, these numbers may change soon.

Take a look at everything that has been accomplished at Notre Dame

* As of the end of the 2009 football season, Notre Dame has the 3rd most wins in NCAA history (837), trailing only Michigan (878) and Texas (845).

* As of 2009, Notre Dame also has the fewest losses of any Division I-A program (291) (minimum 700 games played).

* Notre Dame has 102 winning seasons in 121 years of football, and only 13 losing seasons. The football program has the most individual Heisman trophy winners at seven (Ohio State has seven Heisman trophies that were won by six players).

* As of 2009, Notre Dame has produced more All-Americans (99), consensus All-Americans (80) and unanimous All-Americans (31) in football than any other college program.

* Notre Dame is represented by 48 players and coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame, the most of any university.

* Ten former players are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, second only to USC(11). Notre Dame has produced the second largest number of players to go on to play in the National Football League of any program in the country. As of the 2010 NFL draft, 466 players have been drafted, second only to USC’s 468

* Since 1962, Notre Dame has graduated 98.74% of its football players in four years. As of 2006, only 13 football players in this time have left Notre Dame without finishing their degree requirements. Also of note is the 90% graduation rate of ND’s African-American players (only Navy and Boston College have higher African American graduation rates).

The Days of Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and even Lou Holtz have passed and now the Irish faithful long for the days of their youth when Notre Dame was the center of the college football world. Lets take a look at the truths and the mystique that makes up Notre Dame.

The truths are that most of what made Notre Dame great have been taken away by progress. They were the first to go out and get their own TV contract. Now, every team that is any good has all of their games on television. Can anyone remember the last Ohio State game that you couldn’t find on television? Another truth is that you have to be academically gifted to attend Notre Dame. When you go to Notre Dame, you will have a heavy dose of reality when it comes to the classroom. You go to Notre dame to get a degree in 4 years, not play football and study when you want. School comes first, not football. I know that they have made minor concessions over the last few years but not enough to attract a border line student who is a world class player. There aren’t that many Rocket Ismael’s or Tim Brown’s out there anymore.

Notre Dame also has a disadvantage to recruiting that the university sees as an advantage. No conference affiliation in football. I believe this severely hurts them. Today’s athletes want to compete for championships. Notre Dame hasn’t been in the National Title picture for some times and today’s athletes don’t even know who Ara Parseghian is and Lou Holtz is that old guy on ESPN. They have no memories of the mystique of Notre Dame. They want to be seen and maybe attend classes now and then. I hate to admit it but most of the elite athletes today have NFL on their minds when they commit to a university and getting a degree is not on the top of the list when selecting their college.

Lets get to a reality at Notre Dame, their location. Have you ever been to South Bend, Indiana? They have two seasons in South Bend, July and winter. When do you have a potential football player visit? Now ask the same thing about LSU, USC, Florida or Alabama. Nice weather is a consideration. I believe that outside of the coaching staff, the city that the university is located is the major factor of where an athlete chooses. South Bend may be number 250 when deciding to play college football.

As mentioned, the number one reason an athlete chooses a university is the coaching staff, finally Notre Dame got it right. Brian Kelly is a terrific coach and will need some time to get the right athletes in the right spots. Watching Notre Dame this season, it appeared that Kelly was stumped on the sidelines. Why? Because he knows what he wants to do, he doesn’t have the athletes yet to accomplish and implement his game plan. Kelly will get the athletes to accomplish great things at Notre Dame, I have no doubt about that. Heck, he was able to recruit top notch players to Central Michigan and Cincinnati so Notre dame will be a piece of cake to recruit.

As much as I love to look to the past when writing my articles, Notre Dame needs to look at the present and forget about their storied past if they expect to win championships again. Loosen up the academic standards, join a conference and unfortunately they cant move South Bend. I love the people of South Bend but I am a 50 year old non-athletic sports writer, not a talented running back who can run a 4.3 40 yard dash, unfortunately.

There are so many more points about the Fighting Irish but it would turn this article into a book. For now, I have faith in Brian Kelly and fans of the Irish have great years ahead, It is time to wake up the echoes. I can almost hear Knute Rockne leading the 4 horsemen if I listen real closely.

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About livingwithsportz

I was a professional baseball umpire for 11 seasons from 1979-1989. I follow all sports and read and study everything to do with all aspects of sport. I am now a 50 yr old man who feels the need for a new career and am hoping to get into the sports information age. I love starting discussions about controversial sports and life subjects. I am originally from Wisconsin. I am a diehard cheesehead and have been a lifelong Packer and Badger fan. I have lived all over the country and hope to give an interesting perspective to sports.

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