Reflections of the Dome

Some of the trophies and memorabilia of a 32-year career as director of athletics surround Moose Krause in 1981.

Edward W. (Moose) Krause, a Notre Dame legend, died in his sleep on December 11, 1992, at the age of 79.

Moose, the son of a Chicago butcher, was born in the "Back of the Yards" neighborhood of Chicago as Edward Kraucuinas. His coach at De LaSalle Institute, Norman Barry (the other halfback with George Gipp on the 1920 Notre Dame National Championship team) shortened the name to Krause when he found Kraucuinas too hard to pronounce. It was Barry who chided the newcomer Krause, 'You are big enough to be a moose and you can't even block that little guy.'  From that day until the day he died, Krause was known to the world as "Moose."

Moose and his brother, Phil dominated the sports scene at De LaSalle during the late 1920s. Moose won All-City honors in football, basketball, baseball, and track, and led De LaSalle to two national Catholic basketball championships.

Moose began what turned out to be a lifetime commitment to Notre Dame when he enrolled there as a freshman in 1930. As a tackle, he became an All-American while playing on the 1932 and 1933 teams. He was an All-American center on the basketball team for three years.

After graduation, Moose was named captain of the College All-Star football squad in the first ever All-Star Game played against the professional champions, the Chicago Bears. In recalling the game, he said, "On the first play of the game, the Bear player opposite me threw a punch that landed on my jaw and said, 'So you're the hotshot guy from Notre Dame.'On the second play, I punched him square in the mouth and said, 'Yeah, I'm from Notre Dame. What do you want to do about it? He never said another word and I had no trouble with him the rest of the game."

Moose went on to coach football, basketball, track, and baseball at St. Mary's College in Winona, Minnesota, before going to Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. He stayed at Holy Cross for six years, coaching football and basketball until he was summoned by Notre Dame's athletic director, Frank Leahy, to return to his alma mater in 1942.

In 1942, Krause became the tackle coach under Leahy and also the assistant basketball coach under the legendary George Keogan. When Keogan died in 1943, Moose became the head basketball coach. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps during the war before returning to Notre Dame in 1946 to assume his duties as head basketball coach and the number one football assistant to Frank Leahy.

In 1948, Moose gave up his football duties to become assistant athletic director under Leahy while continuing his basketball coaching. In 1949, he was named athletic director, a position he held with distinction until his retirement in 1981. In 1951, he was "fired" by the athletic director (himself) as head basketball coach. In typical Moose style he used to say, "Best move I ever made--we needed a change."

After his retirement Moose maintained an office in the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center - one which probably has had more visitors through the years than any other place on campus. All the former athletes loved to stop in and chat with Moose, who was always a gracious and delightful host

Those who should know say that there was the largest collection of former athletes ever assembled at one time at Moose's funeral with the exception of a Monogram Club gathering. In a fitting tribute to Moose, his son, Fr. Edward Krause, CSC, characterized him as a "gentle giant" in his heartfelt homily.

He told of how, for more than 20 years, his father cared for his wife, Elsie, who had suffered brain damage and paralysis in a automobile accident. For the last eight years before she died in 1990, Moose would visit her twice daily in a nursing home to spoon-feed her. In the last months before she died, Moose would go to the nursing home a third time every day to sing her to sleep.

Father Ed captured the spirit of Moose when he said, "My father lived the way he played ball. He never gave up, he never stopped trying. He was faithful and he was loyal."

Ara Parseghian, riding in the limousine with the other pallbearers, got off the quip of the day when he said to his fellow pallbearers, "Who recruited this group of pallbearers? It's the worst recruiting job I've ever seen. I forgot my cane, George Connor has trouble walking, Lou Holtz has a hernia, George Kelly can't breathe, Dick Rosenthal has two balloons for knees, and Colonel Stephens is so short his feet don't touch the ground. Moose in the casket is in better shape than any of us."

According to Bill Fischer, there is one of Moose's accomplishments for which he has never received credit. 'When Notre Dame was looking for a new head coach, they discovered that Lou Holtz had an escape clause in his contract with Minnesota. I asked Father Reihle, 'Who do you suppose whispered in Holtz's ear about a Notre Dame escape clause? Nobody has the kind of foresight to have such a clause put in a contract.' Reihle didn't know. I asked around and never got an answer. 'Then one day I asked Moose Krause who it was that whispered to Holtz. Moose answered,You're talking to the man. I had been fighting to get Holtz for the last 10 years, but nobody would listen to me. I told Lou, "I'm still fighting for you and I may win. And when I do, and Notre Dame calls on you to become its head coach, I want you to be able to get out of your contract."'

'One day I told that story to Bernie Crimmins, who said, 'Bill, that story you just told about Moose is one hundred percent correct. Moose is the man and nobody gives him credit for it"'

Moose was a delight to be around whether it was on the golf course, just visiting, or in his booth at Notre Dame Stadium. It was there that Moose was at his best. He would hold court with the variety of friends he entertained as his guests. George and I, along with Creighton Miller and Buddy and Mike Romano, called his booth 'Heaven,' because it was not only the highest point in the stadium, but because it was so enjoyable; we thought this must be a glimpse of heaven. There was a time when George and I thought we were going to be banished from "Heaven."

Several years ago my brother George called me and said, "I am really in deep trouble."
  "What's wrong?" I inquired. 'Moose just called me and chewed me out for forgetting his birthday [February 2, Groundhog Day]."
About a week later I was at a Notre Dame function in Chicago and saw Moose. I said, "I hear George is in deep trouble." Moose said, "He forgot my birthday, no cigar, no gift, not even a card. And you're in trouble too, I didn't hear from you either. 'Later that same evening I reported the conversation to George, who said, 'We have to do something to get back in Moose's good graces. He might ban us from going to 'Heaven' and we can't let that happen."

George planned a delayed birthday celebration for Moose to be held the day before the Monogram outing in early June. We came up with the idea that we would honor Moose with an award entitled, "The First Annual Groundhog Day Award." George purchased a double-extra-large-sized white jacket and had the groundhog symbol with Moose's name put on the left breast of the jacket. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek award and had it framed. George had about 20 T-shirts made with the symbol of the groundhog on the front with the words, 'Moose Krause Groundhog Day' on the front of the shirts.

On the appointed day, George and Mike Smith took Moose to lunch at the Ramada Inn in South Bend, for what Moose thought was a lunch just for the three of them. In the dining room there were about 20 of his former players gathered to surprise Moose. After a fun-filled lunch and at George's signal, we all put on our T-shirts. With George acting as emcee, we had our awards ceremony- Moose loved it. While Moose was standing and giving a thank-you speech, I leaned over to George and whispered, "If he goes on the attack well know we made a hit."

Moose was very gracious in thanking everyone for his day, and particularly George and me. As soon as he sat down, he turned to the two of us and said, "And don't be late next year.' We both burst out laughing. George said, 'You're right we're in, he's on the attack"

As a student coach, athletic director, goodwill ambassador, and in his emeritus status, Moose consistently enhanced the reputation of the university by his unswerving loyalty to his family, the university, and his legion of friends. When many of us think of Notre Darne and what it stands for, we have only to look at Moose Krause for our model.

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