A lot has happened since Notre Dame head football coach Jesse Harper and assistant coach Knute Rockne established the Club in 1916. When the Monogram Club was founded only four sports (football, baseball, track & field, basketball) had varsity status at Notre Dame. Today there are 26 varsity sports at the University.
Harper’s vision was to have the University’s varsity letter winners unite to promote spirit, unity, leadership and sportsmanship. He also sought to bring former student-athletes back into the University’s fold as members of its Monogram Club.
Below is a timeline of the evolution and milestones of the Club.
Note – For each sport there is a person(s) or fact that represents a strong tie to the Monogram Club. The individual(s) doesn’t necessarily indicate the most prominent person or moment from that sport.
Football Gains Varsity Status in 1887
Forty-five Monogram Club presidents have been football Monogram winners. Joe Rustic (’79) (pictured) was the most recent as he served as Club president from 2009-11.
Baseball Gains Varsity Status in 1891
Notre Dame baseball alums Chuck Lennon (’61, ’62) and Dick Nussbaum (’74, ’77) at this fall’s baseball reunion. Nussbaum (right) served as Monogram Club president from 2011-13, while Lennon (left) was the executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association from 1981-2011. Lennon, who spent time as a Club advisor, received the Monogram Club’s Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award in 2011.
Men’s Track & Field Gains Varsity Status in 1889
Dr. Bill Hurd (’69, track & field) was a world-class sprinter at Notre Dame before becoming a noted eye surgeon. He received the Monogram Club’s Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award in 2002 for his work performing voluntary eye surgery to the poor in Africa, Mexico and Brazil.
Men’s Basketball Gains Varsity Status in 1897
Rev. Edward A. ‘Monk’ Malloy, C.S.C. (’63, ’67, ’69) earned a Monogram with the Notre Dame basketball team before going on to become the 16th president at the University. Malloy was presented the Monogram Club’s Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award in 2005.
Monogram Club Founded
The Monogram Club’s first official meeting was held on March 26, 1916.
Notre Dame athletic director and head football coach Jesse Harper (left), along with assistant coach Knute Rockne (right), formed the Notre Dame National Monogram Club.
The first Monogram Club president was football center J. Hugh O’Donnell (’16) who is seen here with head football coach Frank Leahy when O’Donnell was University of Notre Dame president.
Note – Up until the 1940s, the Monogram Club president typically was a current student-athlete who usually held the position for one year.
Men’s Cross Country and
Men’s Tennis Gain Varsity Status
Jim Murphy (’49, cross country/track & field) continues to serve the Monogram Club board in the role of director emeritus.
Former All-American, and current head coach of the Fighting Irish men’s tennis program, Ryan Sachire (’00) is one of 20 members of the Notre Dame athletics coaching/team operations staff who earned a Monogram while attending the University.
Men’s Golf Gains Varsity Status
Mike Heaton (’68, ’71) earned Monograms in both football and golf. Heaton served as Monogram Club president from 1999-2001 and was instrumental in the foundation of the Club’s Catastrophic Relief Fund, which was renamed the Heaton Fund in the fall of 2015.
Men’s Fencing Gains Varsity Status
Legendary fencing coach Mike DeCicco (’49, fencing) led the Fighting Irish to five national championships during his 34 years as head coach. He was the 2009 recipient of the Club’s Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award.
The Monogram Men pose for a photo during the 1940 football game versus Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium. Coincidentally, 75 years later the Monogram Club kicked off its 100-year anniversary celebration the same weekend the Fighting Irish played host to Georgia Tech.
Bob Sanford, a 1940 Notre Dame graduate, received the Alumni Association’s Volunteer of the Year award for 2014. Sanford earned a Monogram as a cheerleader during his days at Notre Dame.
In 1945, Frazier Thompson (’47, track & field) became the first African-American to earn a Monogram.
First Honorary Monogram Awarded
Jack ‘Mac’ MacAllister was the first individual to receive an honorary Monogram. Since then, 282 have been issued with Philip J. Purcell III being the most recent as he received his honorary Monogram in the fall of 2014.
Honorary Monogram recipients include (left to right) Father Theodore Hesburgh (’39), Father Jim Riehle (’49) and President Gerald Ford. They are pictured here with Dick Rosenthal (’54, basketball/baseball) and Marty Allen (’58, student manager).
Wrestling Gains Varsity Status (ended 1992)
Mike Golic (’85) is well known for his football prowess, but he also was a member of the Notre Dame wrestling team. He is among a long list of Fighting Irish student-athletes who have earned a Monogram in multiple sports.
Men’s Swimming & Diving Gains Varsity Status
Former Fighting Irish swimmer Don Casey (’82, ’83) currently is the second vice president of the Monogram Club. He will serve as Club president from 2019-21.
Hockey Gains Varsity Status
Thanks to two-time Monogram winner Dave Bossy (’77, hockey) the Monogram Club was able to team with the Center for Social Concerns to provide financial assistance for student-athletes who volunteered to work in summer service projects through the Dave Bossy Scholarship Grant. Bossy was a Monogram Club director from 2002-05.
Women’s Fencing and
Women’s Tennis Gain Varsity Status
Fencing and tennis became the first women’s sports at Notre Dame and Mary Behler (tennis), Catherine Buzard (fencing), Jane Lammers (tennis), Christina Marciniak (fencing) and Kathleen Valdiserri (fencing) were the first female Monogram winners.
The first Notre Dame women’s tennis team.
The women’s fencing team became Notre Dame’s first female program to win a national championship when they captured the 1987 NCAA title.
Women’s Basketball and
Men’s Soccer Gain Varsity Status
1977 was a special year to gain varsity status since both the women’s basketball (2001) and men’s soccer (2013) programs have won a national championship.
Field Hockey Gains Varsity Status (ended 1987)
The first Fighting Irish field hockey team posted an 8-6 record in its inaugural season.
Father Riehle Begins Tenure As Executive Director of the Monogram Club
Father Jim Riehle (’49, honorary) served as the executive director of the Monogram Club from 1978-2002. Since then, Bill Scholl (’79, honorary), Jim Fraleigh (’88, student manager), Beth Hunter (honorary) and Brant Ust (’00, baseball) have held that position.
First Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award Presented
Ray Meyer (’38, basketball) was the first recipient of the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award, which is the highest honor bestowed upon active Monogram Club members.
Volleyball Gains Varsity Status
Julie Pierson Doyle (’85, volleyball) became the first female president of the Monogram Club when she held office from 2005-07.
Brennan-Boland-Riehle Scholarship Fund Established
Since its foundation, the Brennan-Boland-Riehle Scholarship Fund has issued $4,452,308 in scholarship assistance to children of Monogram winners. It’s named in honor of Joe Boland (pictured), Rev. Thomas Brennan, C.S.C., and Rev. James Riehle, C.S.C.
Women’s Swimming & Diving and
Men’s Lacrosse Gain Varsity Status
These two programs have produced the last two Monogram Club presidents. Haley Scott DeMaria (left) (’95, swimming) served as president from 2013-15 and Kevin O’Connor (right) (’89, lacrosse) took over in the fall of 2015 and will remain in office until 2017.
Women’s Cross Country Gains Varsity Status
Notre Dame’s most recent national champion is Molly Seidel (’16, cross country/track), who won the cross country title this fall and the 10,000-meter crown last spring. Over 800 Notre Dame student-athletes can claim they have won a national championship.
Ring of Names Installed in Heritage Hall
One of the most visible Monogram Club initiatives is the Ring of Names located in the concourse at the Joyce Center. Updated at the end of each decade, the Ring of Names, which first appeared in 1987, permanently displays the name of each individual who has earned a Monogram at Notre Dame. Additionally, the Monogram Club oversees Sports Heritage Hall, the athletic department’s “hall of fame” located within the Joyce Center.
Women’s Golf and
Women’s Soccer Gain Varsity Status
Ashley Armstrong (’15, golf) received the Monogram Club’s Postgraduate Scholarship last spring.
Kate Sobrero Markgraf (’98, soccer) serves as an advisor on the Monogram Club’s board of directors. She was a member of Notre Dame’s 1995 national championship team that celebrated the 20th anniversary of that achievement this fall.
Softball Gains Varsity Status
Notre Dame’s current softball staff features four Monogram winners. Associate coaches Kris Ganeff (’99) and Lizzy Ristano (’01) along with director of operations Kasey O’Connor (’12) are former Fighting Irish players, while head coach Deanna Gumpf received an honorary Monogram in 2011 (pictured third from right).
Women’s Track & Field Gains Varsity Status
In 2014 the Monogram Club began issuing commencement stoles to graduating student-athletes and student support staff. The idea for the stoles came from track & field student-athletes, and 2014 graduates, Jess Christian (left) and Logan Renwick (right).
Women’s Lacrosse Gains Varsity Status
Maureen ‘Mo’ Whitaker (’02) joined the Monogram Club’s board of directors in the fall of 2015. She was a three-time Monogram winner during her time with the Fighting Irish women’s lacrosse team.
Rowing Gains Varsity Status
Monogram winner Anna Kottkamp (’15, rowing) became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to be named valedictorian.
Troy Murphy (basketball) was a three-time recipient (1999-2001) of the Monogram Club Team MVP Award. The Club annually sponsors the MVP award for every Fighting Irish team.
Monogram Club Hosts First Monogram Jacket Ceremony
The Monogram Club hosted its first Monogram jacket ceremony in 2008. The ceremony, which is held in the fall and spring, honors first-time Monogram recipients from every sport along with student managers, athletic trainers, video technicians and cheerleaders.
Monogram Club Postgraduate Scholarships Established
The Monogram Club annually issues $5,000 grants to one male and one female senior student-athlete to help further their education.
Then Monogram Club executive director Beth Hunter (right) was on hand to present national championship rings, which were purchased by the Monogram Club, to the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program at the 2010 team banquet.
Monogram Club Establishes Fourth Quarter Farewell
On the Saturday before commencement, the Monogram Club hosts the Fourth Quarter Farewell. The event provides an opportunity for graduates to gather one last time with their fellow student-athletes, coaches and administrators. Alex Coccia (pictured) spoke at the 2014 event. Coccia (’14, fencing) was class president and a Rhodes Scholar.
Several Monogram winners have competed in the Olympics. In the fall of 2012, those who competed at the 2012 Summer Games in London were honored during the football game against Pittsburgh.
Monogram Career Network Launched
The Monogram Career Network (MCN) connects current Notre Dame student-athletes with Monogram winners and other supporters of the Monogram Club. MCN strives to deliver on the 40-year promise that is bestowed upon Notre Dame student-athletes. MCN was founded by Will McCarthy (’95, ’99, swimming) and Byron Spruell (’87, ’89, football).
MCN annually hosts events on campus and around the country.
The Monogram Club, in conjunction with the Student Welfare & Development office, hosts MCN lunches on campus. These gatherings allow student-athletes to network with Club members and other Monogram winners.
Thanks to the Monogram Club’s team-hosting program, the men’s soccer team was able to enjoy a safari during their trip to Zimbabwe in the spring of 2014. The team-hosting program allows Fighting Irish teams to obtain financial assistance to attend educational
or cultural opportunities while traveling for competition.
Tom Hawkins (’59) was inducted into the Notre Dame Basketball Ring of Honor on January 17, 2015.
The Monogram Club launched its 100-year anniversary celebration during the Georgia Tech football weekend (September 18-19). In addition to the regular football weekend festivities, the Club held its Annual Mass, Meeting & Reception along with having the pre-game tunnel for football Monogram winners.
Monogram Club 2015-16 Board of Directors
The Monogram Club welcomed record crowds to both the Friday Schivarelli Players’ Lounge reception and the Saturday pre-game reception during the 2015 football season.
Monogram Club members and staff participated in the Alumni Association’s service project during Shamrock Series weekend in Boston. The volunteers packed 37,000 pounds of Thanksgiving food for 1,500 Boston area families in need.
The Monogram Club took the Riehle Open on the road for the first time ever. Club members and guests played TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on November 27.
The Monogram Club celebrated its official 100th birthday on March 26, 2016.