|Here at Notre Dame the excitement of growth still abounds, just as it has since the golden dome, Notre Dame's familiar landmark and the shining symbol of its tradition, first cast its glint across the Indiana plains. As a campus dweller for most of these years, I was witness to it daily. I am in my 48th year of involvement with the University of Notre Dame, having lived in nine different buildings on the campus, including the Athletic & Convocation Center, the focal point of activity for present-day coaches and athletes, situated next to the football stadium, where I could almost feel the presence of the great ghosts: George Gipp, perhaps the most controversial and multi- talented man ever to play for Notre Dame, whose untimely death brought him a measure of immortality; the Four Horsemen, who won immortality on the typewriter of Grantland Rice--"Outlined against a blue-gray October sky."|
|I am fortunate, indeed, that my life has taken me deep into the realm of Notre Dame's spirited and spiritual life. I have met and mingled with champions--players, coaches, administrators, trainers, students and cheerleaders. I cherish these friendships, but most of all I cherish the memory of those I have known and come to love.
Now, in my "retirement," I count my days in privileged moments. Senior years are an adventure, I believe, a special gift from God. One thing is for certain: they allow ample time to reflect on thrills and rewards too numerous of recount here. In my book, "NOTRE DAME ODYSSEY," published in 1993, I detail the highlights of those wonderful Notre Dame years. There are only a handful left of my books, but I am happy to have contributed to Notre Dame mysticism and lure by telling little known stories of Louis Sockalexis, John Henry Shillington, Mario Tonelli, Pat O'Dea, "Chef" Grant and many others.
In the final chapter of my Notre Dame Odyssey, titled "The Next Fourty Years," I make known my for Notre Dame's future, one of which has already been realized with the erection last season during the dedication ceremonies for the newly-enlarged football stadium, of a statue honoring the late and great Frank Leahy. Fifty years ago, the 1948 season, in which a kept Leahy and his lads from four consecutive national championships as a result of four consecutive unbeaten seasons, even the most skeptical had to admit that here was probably the greatest football mind of any Notre Dame coach in history. Yet, his great achievements for the most part were ignored for those fifty years. In my Odyssey, I made an impassioned plea, appealing for recognition for the great coach, finally realized last season with the erection of his statue by the stadium. Looking back over my years of involvement with Notre Dame, it is not difficult to select a number of highlight accomplishments, such as my years with Joe Boland on the Irish Football Network, helping to bring the story of Notre Dame football to fans and service personnel around the world, every game, every season. The purchase by Notre Dame of the Adco Sports Book Exchange, better known as "The Goldfaden Collection," from Los Angeles and Hollywood, comprising fifty-six tons of sports books and memorabilia, compared by one California sportswriter to the invasion of Normandy.
Admittedly, one of my greatest thrills came from working with Steve Sabol and the NFL Films crew for one solid year to produce the film and video cassette of "WAKE UP THF ECHOES: The History of Notre Dame FootbalI." The film, premiered in 1983, may be Notre Dame's first and foremost recruiting tool to this day. Poking into little known nooks and crannies in the enormous International Sports and Games Research Collection (now called the Edmund P. Joyce Sports Research Collection) to uncover and put to use old football film footage, still photos, programs and more worked wonders in producing that award-winning documentary.
And speaking of the International Sports and Games Research Collection, referred to by me as The INSPORT Years, must rate very high in my book of fond memories. Imagine telephone calls from Barbra Streisand's husband, Frank Sinatra's business manager, golfer Tom Watson, and others. Not to mention the opportunity to serve varsity football players and other athletes academically on a daily basis. It was not unusual for the guest chair in my office to be occupied by Joe Montana, Kelly Tripucka (or his father, Frank), or another "big name" in the field of sport.
Today, however, I have more than rich memories to keep me going. On every home football Saturday, I can still be found at my tables behind the Basilica, offering visiting fans my books, collections of rare Notre Dame football photos which I call "Gallery of Leqends," Joe Montana collectors' plates and more. In 1998, I will offer a new item, a Knute Rockne commemorative medallion, minted in Norway and imported here.
Most of all in 1998, I will offer my hopes and prayers for a successful and safe football season for all involved, and that this involvement will allow for Subway Alumni faithful around the world to occupy a place of respect and endearment in the heart of Notre Dame and her administrators. May God bless you and yours and Long Live the Subway Alumni!