Jul 17, 2013, 3:34 PM EST
A new weekly Irish UNDerground feature revolves around the @NDSportsBlogger taking time away from his desk to go find an interesting artifact around the University of Notre Dame Athletic Department, enjoy…
This week’s item on ‘Wayback Wednesday’ required some research and deductive reasoning skills to just figure out what it is.
The item, an old-looking football is adorned with a variety of names of past greats like Johnny Lujack, John Lattner, Bob Ready, Terry Brennan and a host of others.
What was interesting about the ball was the fact that some players didn’t overlap in their time on campus. Upon further research, all the former student-athletes on the ball were former players under Coach Frank Leahy.
After figuring this out, it became obvious what the inscription on the front of the ball meant – ’4 Leahy’ – it was a retirement or celebration ball of sorts for their head coach. Additionally, the man that would take over for Leahy after his retirement was signed directly below this area, Terry Brennan.
A tackle on Knute Rockne’s last three Notre Dame teams, Leahy graduated from Notre Dame in 1931. He went to Georgetown as line coach in 1931 and went to Michigan State the following year to take a similar position. Leahy took over as line coach at Fordham in 1933 and stayed until 1938 under Jim Crowley, coaching the famed Seven Blocks of Granite from 1935-37 when the Rams lost two combined games.
In 1939, Leahy went to Boston College as head coach for two years, guiding the Eagles to a 20-2 record and a 1941 Sugar Bowl victory. Leahy came to Notre Dame as head coach the next season. He entered the Navy in 1944 and was discharged as a lieutenant. He returned to Notre Dame for the 1946 season and stayed until resigning for health reasons in 1954. While at Notre Dame, Leahy had six undefeated seasons, five national championship teams and an unbeaten string of 39 games in
the late 1940s. He was selected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1970
These are the best conclusions we could make from this gem. If you have any information about the ball, feel free to let me know on twitter at @NDSportsBlogger or via email at AHorvat3@nd.edu …
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