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.
Marchy Schwartz was a brilliant all-around halfback in 1930 and 1931 for the Fighting Irish, leading the team both years in rushing, passing, and scoring on his way to back-to-back consensus All-American selections. He finished his career with 1,945 yards, second at the time only to George Gipp.
Charles Dorais Quarterback (1910-13), 5'7", 145lbs., was born in 1891
"Gus" Dorais, from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, and Knute Rockne were more than just teammates. They were close pals who revolutionized the way football was played.
Back in the summer of 1913, the quarterback and left end worked together as lifeguards at the Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. When there were no lives to save, the two chums would toss a pigskin and work on different pass patterns. When they arrived back on campus for their senior season, the two put what they learned in their special practice sessions to use. This was cutting-edge stuff in the second decade of the century. The forward pass had only been legal since 1906 and was still considered a gimmick - that is, until Notre Dame had breakout success with its forward pass strategy, which propelled the Fighting Irish into national prominence.
Early in that season the scores that Notre Dame won by were astounding. The first victim was Ohio Northern University, which was drubbed 87-0. Next was the University of South Dakota, which went down 20-7, and the next week Alma was annihilated 62-0. The total score of Notre Dame's first three games in 1913 was 169-7, and the forward pass became a viable offensive option.
In Notre Dame's fourth game of the year, a 35-13 defeat of perennial national powerhouse Army, Dorais completed his first 12 passes, including 3 for touchdowns. He finished the game with 14 completions in 17 attempts for 243 yards, including a record 40-yard completion to Rockne. Army began to overplay the pass, and Notre Dame then used its all-around offense to hurt its opponent with the run.
Up to this point, college football, for the most part, was a sport of brute force. Big men plowed into other big men to open holes for smaller men to run through. The win over college football's marquee program, however, changed all that. Notre Dame, with its newfangled forward pass, changed the game's strategy forever.
The 1913 season was Notre Dame's third straight undefeated year with Dorais, a 1954 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, at the helm. He did much more than pass and hand off. His 7 field goal attempts in one game (he made 3 in a 30-7 victory over the University of Texas in 1913) are still a school record.
An education and an unparalleled football career weren't all that Charles Dorais got out of Notre Dame. He also got his nickname, Gus, in a freshman literature course. The class was discussing Dante's Inferno, and the professor brought up the novel's French illustrator, an artist named Gustave Dore. Although Dore and Dorais are spelled differently, they are both pronounced "dor-RAY." Dorais's classmates began calling him Gustave, and the nickname was shortened to simply Gus.
Dorais left Notre Dame to embark on a professional career, playing for a bunch of teams, including the Massillon Tigers. After his playing days were over, he couldn't leave the game. He started a long run as a coach at Columbus College in Iowa, where he worked from 1914 to 1917. He then was hired as an assistant at Notre Dame for a brief period after World War I, but the brunt of his career, or at least seventeen years of it, were spent at Detroit University. He worked there from 1925 to 1942 and finished his college coaching career with a quite respectable 150-70-13 record. He also compiled a record of 20-31-2 as head coach of the Detroit Lions from 1943 to 1947.
From: The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia by Marder, Spellen, and Donovan.
Jack Connor, in his definitive book on the Frank Leahy era, Leahy's Lads, recounted a pivital yet humorous moment in practice before the 1947 season. Leahy apologized to his veteran, defending national championship team for not stressing fundamentals enough. With that, he grabbed a football and said, "Lads, this is a football." The ever-wisecracking "Ziggy" Czarobski, a standout tackle, instantly blurted" "Hey, Coach, not so fast."
The 1946 Notre Dame national championship team had perhaps the greatest defense in modern Fighting Irish history. It allowed only 24 points in nine games - a team-record low of 2.7 per contest. What's more it allowed only forty rushing first downs all season - fewer that five per game.
George Melinkovich Halfback/Fullback ( 1931-32) 6'0", 180 lbs.
Melinkovich's career at Notre Dame spanned three coaching regimes. He was recruited by Knute Rockne and then played for both "Hunk" Anderson and Elmer Layden. In his first varsity season, Melinkovich, from Tooele, Utah, was thrust into the starting fullback position afrer starting halfback Nick Lukats broke his leg. It was Anderson's first year as well, and the two helped Notre Dame achieve a 6-2-1 record.
In 1932, Melinkovich stepped up and led the team in rushing (88 carries for 503 yards} receiving (7 catches for 106 yards}, scoring (48 points}, and kickoff return average (41.0 yards}. He was named a first-team All-American by many organizations. He missed the entire 1933 season with a kidney ailment, but was back on campus in 1934. Layden, who took over the program in 1934, found himself a man short at the halfback position, so Melinkovich became his starting right halfback. The versatile backfield player with speed, power, and soft hands had another great season. He led Notre Dame in rushing (73 carries for 324 yards} and scoring (36 points}, as Layden kicked off his phenomenal coaching career with a 6-3 record.
From: The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia by Marder, Spellen, and Donovan.
Todd Lyght is one of only a handful of Notre Dame players ever to be twice pciked as a consensus All-American. A brilliant cornerback from Flint, Michigan, Lyght started on Lou Holtz's 1988 national championship squad, then earned back-to-back All-American honors in 1989 and 1990. He was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1991.
'It wasn't until we were on campus for a week or so, solidly, that Ara Parseghian got caught up with the Notre Dame spirit. ...We were having staff meetings quite late at night. ...We heard this great commotion outside our window. ...There, in front of the Rockne Memorial Building, were hundreds of students, all carrying torches.They were singing the famous "Notre Dame Victory March" and chanting, 'Ara, Ara, Ara. ' He turned to us with tears in his eyes."
-Parseghian's offensive backfield coach, Tom Pagna
Michigan still lays ferocious claim to the 1947 national championship over Notre Dame because, in the first ever postbowls AP poll, the Wolverines were voted No.1 over the Fighting Irish after whipping USC in the Rose Bowl, 49-0. That was an unofficial count, however. What's more, United Press conducted its own postbowls poll -not of writers or coaches, but of the twenty-two USC Trojans who played against both Notre Dame and Michigan. The Trojans' choice? Notre Dame, by a 17-5 count.
Knute Rockne's celebrity in the sporting world was matched only by that of legendary New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth. Rockne's tragic death hit the nation like a sledgehammer. When reports first began to circulate, local newspapers across America were flooded with phone calls. Telephone operators at the Chicago Tribune were so overwhelmed with inquiries, they answered every call this way: "Yes, it's true about Rockne. "
Wayne Millner of Salem, Massachussetts, earned lasting fame as the recipient of the game-winning pass in the "Game of the Century" -an 18-13 victory over Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in 1935. An end, Millner latched on to a 19-yard touchdown pass from Bill Shakespeare with a half minute remaining to cap an amazing Notre Dame comeback. Millner was a consensus All-American selection after the season. Wayne starred for the Washington Redskins from 1936 (when the team moved from Boston) till 1941, then came back for the 1945 season after WWII. Millner then worked as an assistant coach for Frank Leahy at Notre Dame and became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952.
All Time Irish Legend Joe Montana is born in 1956.
Montana actually playd his best football before and after he attended Notre Dame. It's difficult to believe that Montana, a gifted AII-American football player and three-sport star in high school on his way to becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the history of professional football, completed just 1 of 6 passes on the junior varsity in South Bend.
Montana was one of seven signal callers to arrive on campus in 1974. He turned down a basketball scholarship from North Carolina State, was a champion high-jumper in high school, and was also named to the Parade magazine All-America football team. The versatile athlete out of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, was outplayed, however, and was quickly demoted and continued to struggle.
Montana began to find his stride as a sophomore, surprising some observers with his nerves of steel. He got a second chance to make a first impression as the team switched head coaches, and new coach Dan Devine had a chance to evaluate Montana without preconceived ideas about his play. Montana replaced injured starter Rick Slager during the third game of the season, and, as- tonishingly, led the Fighting Irish to a 31-7 win over Northwestern. Off the bench, Montana brought Notre Dame back two other times before a broken finger in the eighth game ended his season.
Injuries continued to plague Montana, who missed the entire 1976 season with a separated shoulder. The third game of the season continued to be pivotal for him. His college career began to flourish in 1977, when he came in to relieve starting quarterback Rusty Lisch during the third game of the season and turned a 24-14 deficit into a 31-24 victory over Purdue. He started the next game, a 16-6 victory over Michigan State, and the next twenty games after that one. "The Comeback Kid" completed 99 of 189 passes for 1,604 yards and 11 touchdowns that year, earning him honorable mention AII-American honors. The Fighting Irish were undefeated in his nine starts, which included a 38-10 drubbing of number one-ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. As a senior, Montana capped off a 9-3 season with another AII-American honorable mention. He had his best year statistically by completing 141 of 260 passes for 2,011 yards and 10 touchdowns (he was only the third Notre Dame passer to top 2,000 yards in a season).
The NFL scouts still underrated Montana, who was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 1979 draft, eighty-second overall. Montana proved the naysayers wrong. His sixteen-year NFL career is one of the best ever. He led the 49ers to four Super Bowl wins, passed for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns, led the league in completion percentage 5 times, was named NFL MVP twice, won three Super Bowl MVPs.
From: The Notre Dame Football Encyclopedia by Marder, Spellen, and Donovan.
Al Ecuyer was a three year starter at guard in the late 1950s who, in 1957, was a consensus All-American pick under Coach Terry Brennan. The native of New Orleans, Louisiana, was also a great defender, as he tied for most tackles as a senior in 1958 with eighty-eight. Al also played in the legendary Notre Dame victory over Oklahoma in 1957, ending their undefeated streak.
"I hope I was able to do a little something
to help make Notre Dame the unique place that it is today. An awful lot of
Notre Dame rubbed off on me in six years-- and I know I've left a little
bit of my heart behind too."
Frank E. Hering coached two teams in the Notre Dame area in the late 1890s -- the University of Notre Dame and the Commercial Athletic Club of South Bend. It was the era of the vagabond football player, and Notre Dame was trying to purify its football team. "Previous to 1896, Notre Dame had little respect for amateurs, and the students became discouraged because of the professional men who were annually being played," the South Bend Tribune noted in 1898. Thus, on the South Bend CAC, Hering probably welcomed the football nomads who used to go knocking on Notre Dame's door.
Knute Rockne graduates magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, with a four-year average of ninety-three. He would remain at the school as assistant football coach to Jesse Harper, and would also teach chemistry. Four years later, Rockne would take over as head football coach. The rest, as they say, is history.
For Fathers Day 2002 we honor all Notre Dame Dad's. The first story is about the famous Miller family, and the second is a story from good old Jack O'Brien that he sent to me back in 1998.
The greatest "like father, like son" story in Notre Dame history has to be that of Red and Creighton Miller. In 1909, halfback Red Miller tore through the Michigan defense and was the game's most outstanding player on both sides of the ball as Notre Dame won in Ann Arbor, 11-3. Thirty-four years later, on Notre Dame's very next visit to Ann Arbor, his son Creighton Miller did the exact same thing, as the Fighting Irish won 35-12.
Jack: I grew up about 40 miles from campus, and was able to watch every game on WNDU-TV. Then, I moved to California and had, for several years, to settle for Mutual Radio. Many is the day I recall sipping my scotch, alone, during a broadcast, sitting in my car along Skyline Drive, which was the highest point in the area, and the only one from which I could receive a clear signal. (Of course, that was long ago, when drinking and driving was still considered respectable.)
I play a lot of golf, and have had the opportunity to play with Dick Rosenthal, Lou Holtz and Moose Krause. I played in a charity event with Moose, and a couple days before called to tell my father we were going to play together. I invited Dad along, and, although he was kind of shy at fancy country clubs, he decided to come along. I told Moose before we teed off that Dad had always idolized him. By the third hole, Moose had thrown me out of the cart and was riding around with Dad, regaling him with stories of the 40s and 50s. Two days later, Dad died, and on his death bed, told me that day was the best of his life. (He thought marrying my mother and my birth ran a close second) ! ! ! ! ! !
Ever Irish, J.
"People accuse me of trying to downplay our team and build up our opponent each week. I tell our team before the season begins that it serves no purpose for me to to our and say how great they are. If they're any good, no one will have to tell them."
--Coach Lou Holtz
All-time great Angelo Bertelli is born in 1921.
Angelo Bertelli Quarterback/Running back (1941-43), 6'1", 173 Ibs.
A funny thing happened when Bertelli was voted winner of the Heisman Trophy. He wasn't anywhere near a college campus. With four games to play in 1943, his final collegiate season, Bertelli was called into service by the Marine Corps (Conveniently for the Army team, Angelo was drafted only days before the Army-ND game in New York. We still won, 26-0) It was no surprise that he was in contention for the Heisman, let alone a runaway winner; runner-up Bob O'Dell of Pennsylvania had 177 votes compared with 648 for Bertelli, who had been close to the coveted trophy twice before. As a sophomore, he had finished second in the voting behind Minnesota's Bruce Smith, and sixth, as a junior, behind winner Frank Sinkwich.
Bertelli's senior season proved to be magical. He attempted just 36 passes and completed 25, but made the most of his throws, amassing 512 yards through the air. His astounding .694 completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, and 20.5-yards-per-pass average make him one of the most efficient quarterbacks in history. The minimal pass attempt numbers are, however, directly due to his abbreviated season. Still the Fighting Irish were undefeated with him running the offense. The only blemish on the otherwise perfect season was a season-ending loss to the Great Lakes Service Team. The Irish, who scored an average of 43.5 points in games Bertelli played in 1943, still finished the season 9-1 and won the national title.
Bertelli's outstanding football career, which was good for 2,578 yards in three seasons, almost never happened. Prestigious Eastern universities tried to woo "the Springfield Rifle" to play hockey for them. Schools such as Dartmouth and Boston College wanted the strapping athlete from Cathedral High School, but playing football at Notre Dame was an offer the Springfield, Massachusetts, native couldn't refuse. As a sophomore single-wing tailback, Bertelli displayed his arm, completing 70 of 123 passes for a nation-leading .569 percentage, and 1,027 yards and 8 touchdowns. The following season, coach Frank Leahy switched his offense to the T-formation, enabling the Rifle to play quarterback. As a junior, Bertelli heaved 159 passes, completing 72 for 1,039 yards and 10 touchdowns. In a 27-10 win over Stanford, he had a season-high 4 touchdown throws and a record 10 consecutive completions.
After his discharge from the Marines, Bertelli played professionally for the Los Angeles Dons and Chicago Hornets of the All-American Football Conference. Unfortunately, he blew out his knee, and his pro career lasted the same length as his college career- three seasons. He was a 1972 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Irish Legend Tom Clements is born in 1953.
Tom Clements Quarterback (1972-74),6'0", 1891bs.
As a three-year starter at quarterback for Notre Dame, the least impressive season of the McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, native was one of the best for the Fighting Irish.
After throwing for 1,163 yards as a sophomore, a year that Notre Dame went 8-3, Clements's total was down to 882 yards as a junior. But 1973 turned out to be one of those memorable seasons for Notre Dame: the Fighting Irish went 11-0 and won the national championship. Despite a subpar passing year, Clements had a lot to say about the fabulous season. In the championship-clinching 24-23 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, Clements engineered a 79-yard scoring drive late in regulation time, and Bob Thomas's 19- yard field goal with 4:26 to play clinched the win. It was the second national championship under head coach Ara Parseghian, and Clements was named the Most Valuable Player of the bowl game.
As a senior, Clements, an extremely accurate passer who completed more than half of his passes every year as a college starter, got his range back and passed for 1,549 yards for the 10-2 Fighting Irish. An interesting statistic is that in each of his three seasons as starting quarterback at Notre Dame, Clements threw 8 touchdown passes. He even ranked eighth on Notre Dame's all-time passing list until the career of Jarious Jackson (1999) bumped him down to ninth.
Clements never played in the NFL, but played long and prospered in the Canadian Football League. In 1975, while playing for the Ottawa Rough Riders, he won the Schenley Award as the league's Most Outstanding Rookie. The next season he led Ottawa to a Grey Cup victory, again making a clutch play by throwing the game-winning pass with nineteen seconds to go. He was named an Eastern Conference All-Star in that, the 1976 season, as well as in 1977.
He was not even close to through collecting honors. Clements won the Jeff Russel Trophy (CFL Eastern Conference MVP) in 1981. In 1984, while playing for Winnipeg, he won another Grey Cup and was named the game's Most Valuable Player. His career came to an end in 1987, but not before he had thrown for 4,600 yards, 35 touchdowns, and won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player Award. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1994.
Pete Demmerle of New Canaan, Conneticut, was a key member of Notre Dame's 1973 national championship squad as a wide receiver. A year later, he was a consensus All-American selection with forty-three pass receptions. He was also an Academic All-American in 1974
"Boys are generous in their loyalty when they are convinced of your fairness. Of course, they are not always convinced; but the boy who is not reasonable enough to see that the team counts for more than the individual is not worth worrying about. He'll get his hardest lessons out of school."
--Coach Knute Rockne.
Ralph Guglielmi is born in 1933
Quarterback (1951-54), 6'0", 185lbs.
Quarterback Guglielmi may not be a household name like Joe Montana or Joe Theismann, but that doesn't mean he didn't have a stellar career in South Bend. He had come to Notre Dame from Columbus, Ohio, after leading Grandview High School to the Central Ohio football championship. After playing behind John Mazur as a freshman, Guglielmi started his final three seasons in South Bend. He still ranks as the school's twelfth-leading passer through the 2000 season, with 3,037 career yards (he completed 209 of 436 passes). In 1952, his first as a starter, Guglielmi completed 61 of 142 passes for 683 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Fighting Irish finished 7-2-1 and third in the final Associated Press poll. He threw for 792 yards for a 9-0-1 Notre Dame team in head coach Frank Leahy's final season.
In 1954, in came a new head coach, Terry Brennan, and Guglielmi helped get him off to a great start. Notre Dame was 9-1 in 1954 and Guglielmi, who played in both the East-West Shrine Game and the College Football All-Star Game (in which he was named Most Valuable Player), earned consensus first-team All-American honors by completing 68 of 127 passes for 1,160 yards and 6 touchdowns
Guglielmi, who threw 18 touchdown passes in his college career, is tied with Rick Mirer for the school record of consecutive games with a pass completion (34). He also rushed for 200 yards and 12 touchdowns and had 10 career interceptions. The Washington Redskins selected him in the first round of the 1955 NFL draft. Two of his teammates were selected later in the first round-tackle Frank Varrichione by the Pittsburgh Steelers and halfback Joe Heap by the New York Giants. Before entering the business world, Guglielmi played for four teams in a nine-year NFL career. The quarterback was a member of the Redskins in 1955 and 1958 to 1960, and also played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1961, the New York Giants in 1962 and 1963, and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1963. In 2001, Guglielmi became the thirty-ninth Notre Dame alum to be inducted into the college Football Hall of Fame.
"I understand alumni. They aren't interested in how rocky the sea is. They are interested in seeing the ship come in. Our fans expect a minor miracle every Saturday and a major one every now and then."
-Coach Lou Holtz
Bob Toneff was born in 1930.
Tackle (1949-51), 6'2", 230 lbs.
Toneff played a considerable amount of time on both offense and defense as a three- year starter at Notre Dame. However, it was as an offensive lineman that he distinguished himself as a college football player.
Toneff came to South Bend from Barberton, Ohio, in 1948, and was the starting right defensive tackle on the 1949 national championship team that won all ten of its games. The following season he started on both sides of the line of scrimmage. In his senior season, Toneff played primarily offense and was recognized as one of the best linemen in the country, rating first-team All-American honors after the season. The San Francisco 49ers selected him in the second round of the 1952 NFL draft. He enjoyed a thirteen-year career with San Francisco (1952-58) and the Washington Redskins (1959-64).
One of the greatest rivalries in college football, Notre Dame-Southern California, dates back to 1926. Coach Knute Rockne and his Fighting Irish hopped a series of trains for four days to get to Los Angeles, stopping along the way to let the players jog and exercise. "Train lag" did not prove a problem as the Irish beat the Trojans 13-12 before 74,378 at the LA Coliseum. Except for three years during World War II (1943 to 1945) when there were domestic travel restrictions, the two storied schools have played every year since.
Eddie Anderson of Mason City, Iowa, was a consensus All-American while captaining the 1921 Notre Dame team of Knute Rockne. Anderson, a favorite pass target of the immortal George Gipp, went on to even greater fame as one of the all-time great coaches. He was head coach for thirty-nine years, at Loras (1922 to 1924), DePaul (1925 to 1931), Holy Cross (1933 to 1938), Iowa (1939 to 1942 and 1946 to 1949), and at Holy Cross again (1950 to 1964).
Pat Filley is born in 1922.
Guard (1941-44),5'8", 1751bs.
"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 AIl-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 various positions, such as assistant director, ticket manager, director of operations, and associate director in charge of scheduling.
Shortly after taking up intercollegiate football in 1887, Notre Dame had trouble lining up opponents. By 1890, enthusiasm waned to the extent that no outside games were held either that year or in 1891. By 1892, however, football was spreading like wildfire through the college campuses of the Midwest, and Notre Dame reentered the fray that year. To stay.
The Notre Dame record for most interceptions in a season was set by cornerback Mike Townsend in 1972, when he picked off ten enemy aerials -- to lead the nation.
"Let me explain my attitude toward total victory. There is no other attitude to take...Unless you have total commitment to excellence, you have a flawed attitude toward life."
--Practically flawless Coach Frank Leahy
The college cheers of yesteryear seem incredIbly corny nowadays, but Notre Dame students used to debate long and loud over which "yell" these school should officially adopt - especially in the 1890s. In 1895, the student newspaper, the Scholastic, offered this one:
The Gold-Hurrah! The Blue-Hurrah!
Houp-a --ra-hoo --ra-hoo-rahoo!
Notre Dame- 'Rah-Hurrah --N.D.U!"
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