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Monogram Club Musings: Michigan State Edition

Sep 24, 2013, 8:54 AM EDT

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After two straight away games, the Monogram Club Musings are back with a wrap-up of Michigan State weekend! As is often the case with games involving the Fighting Irish and the Spartans, Saturday was a slugfest, but Notre Dame prevailed, 17-13, thanks in part to Cam McDaniel’s tie-breaking touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Without further delay, here’s the second 2013 edition of the Monogram Club Musings!

Michigan State Game Notes

  • Student body president and fencing Monogram winner Alex Coccia (’14) presented the colors along with vice president Nancy Joyce, and St. Mary’s College student body president Kat Sullivan and vice president Maddy Martin.
  • Notre Dame Stadium fan favorite and 2010 honorary Monogram recipient Sgt. Tim McCarthy returned with his traditional end of the third quarter traffic safety announcement: “Always remember, if your driving is well-polished, you’re going to have a great finish.”

Sightings Around Campus

  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who earned her master’s degree in political science from Notre Dame in 1975, returned to campus for the weekend. She took in the pep rally with her godson on Friday evening, before hitting the links at Warren Golf Course with women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw on Saturday morning, and enjoying the Irish victory in the afternoon.
  • Notre Dame football legend Lou Holtz took a quick break from his duties with ESPN to return to the Golden Dome. Holtz spoke to members of the Fighting Irish coaching staff on Friday morning, and then gathered with the Lou’s Lads Foundation for the organization’s annual reunion dinner, emceed by former ND wide receiver Derrick Mayes (’96).
  • Speaking of ND legends… 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack (’48) and several family members made the trip from Davenport, Iowa. As you may remember reading about on Twitter, Lujack recently scored his eighth hole-in-one while playing at Crow Valley Golf Club in his hometown last month. Not bad for an 88-year-old.

1973 National Championship Reunion

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of their perfect 11-0 national championship season, more than 80 members of the 1973 Fighting Irish squad returned to campus for the weekend. The fun began at Friday’s football luncheon, where Dave Casper (’74), Robin Weber (’76) and Eric Penick (’75) were featured as guest speakers.

“We didn’t win because we were more talented,” Penick said. “A lot of other teams had more talent. We won because we were more loyal and more committed to one another, and because we had one of the greatest coaches, in my opinion—who cared about me after I left Notre Dame—that I’ve ever dealt with in my life. He’s still my coach. He’s still my friend.”

At the pep rally, emcee Jack Nolan introduced the ’73 squad, before tri-captain Frank Pomarico (’74), Weber, and kicker Bob Thomas (’74) spoke to the Purcell Pavilion crowd.

On Friday evening, the 1973 team gathered for dinner in the Monogram Room. Joe Alvarado (’74) led the festivities, while other speakers included Townsend, Tom Parise (’76) and Marv Russell (’77), who delivered a rousing speech to his old teammates and friends. Undoubtedly however, the highlight of the night was the final speaker—head coach Ara Parseghian, who even at age 90, can still crack jokes, motivate, and inspire with the best of them. Watch the video below for a few highlights from Ara’s remarks.

On Saturday, the ’73 team tailgated in the Legends parking lot, before heading into the House That Rockne Built, walking down that same tunnel they ran out of 40 years ago.

More than 80 members of the team were honored on the field during pre-game ceremonies, with Notre Dame Stadium public address announcer and 2007 honorary Monogram recipient Mike Collins (’67) introducing the Fighting Irish to the sellout crowd.

Monogram Club Events

In addition to the events surrounding the national championship reunion, the Monogram Club held its usual home football weekend festivities. More than 500 football Monogram winners and their guests came to the Schivarelli Football Players’ Lounge on Friday, enjoying appetizers, and an evening of camaraderie in the Notre Dame locker room.

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The calm before the storm in the Notre Dame locker room on Friday evening.

Once again, the Monogram Room was a popular lunch spot on Saturday afternoon. Nearly 750 Monogram winners and their guests stopped by to fuel up for game time. As always, Karen Demeter picked out a delicious menu, including Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, potato wedges, pasta salad, and fruit.

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Checking out the latest Monogram Club gear at the merchandise table.

In traditional Monogram Club fashion, the weekend wrapped up with another great post-game Mass in the Monogram Room. Honorary Monogram recipient and former football team chaplain Rev. Paul Doyle, C.S.C. (’65) presided before a crowd of more than 350. After Mass, Fr. Doyle blessed the new Sports Heritage Hall display celebrating more than four decades of women’s athletics at Notre Dame.

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Fr. Doyle blessing the Women’s Athletics Wall located in the Sutherland Family Concourse at the Joyce Center.

The Monogram Club was also proud to present a pair of honorary Monograms during the weekend. We’ll have a recap of those on the blog later this week.

The Irish take on #14 Oklahoma at Notre Dame Stadium in the biggest game of the young season on Saturday at 3:30 pm ET. Stay tuned to @NDMonogram for all the action throughout the weekend, and check back next week for the latest Monogram Club Musings!

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