Jul 3, 2013, 10:31 AM EDT
Notre Dame began their ACC tenure on July 1, 2013 after an 18-year relationship with the BIG EAST that dates back to 1995.
(I would like to thank Notre Dame Media Relations, Fighting Irish Digital Media and the Associated Press for contributing to this piece)
Inside the athletics lore of Notre Dame are great games, legendary players and stoic coaches. As any sports fan can attest, moments and heroes are what are remembered, or as the great quote from the movie Sandlot reiterates, “Heroes are remembered, but legends never die.”
So with this week being the official beginning of this new partnership for many of our athletic programs with the Atlantic Coast Conference, I went school by school to try to remember my favorite moment that I remember seeing as it happened or was told to me through a story or book. Additionally, there are many links/connections between our schools that remain today that can be useful trivia questions when you are trying to impress people at parties.
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
Ingelsby’s Leaner • Feb. 21, 2001 • Men’s Basketball • Current assistant men’s basketball coach Martin Ingelsby hits the shot of his life as the 18th-ranked Notre Dame men’s basketball team upsets the ninth-ranked Boston College Eagles, 76-75, on the Joyce Center floor. With just 3.7 seconds left, guard Martin Ingelsby hit the game-winning shot on leaner by the left elbow.
Ryan Sidney, one of Boston College’s top defenders went on to say after Ingelsby’s make, “I’ve always said that no one scores on me, and I still feel that way. Ingelsby got a lucky shot off and put the ball in the basket. I played it the best way I could have.”
BC Connection: Along with many other great Notre Dame coaches, current head baseball coach Mik Aoki was the head coach for the Boston College baseball team prior to accepting his current role at Notre Dame … additionally, former Irish men’s basketball player Alex Dragicevich is a member of the Eagles men’s basketball team and is eligible to suit up for Boston College this season after sitting out a year due to transferring.
The Comeback Kid • Nov. 12, 1977 • The fifth-ranked Notre Dame football team traveled to 15th-ranked Clemson to play in Memorial Stadium and came away with a 21-17 victory en route to winning the national championship with an 11-1 record.
In the Clemson game, Notre Dame trailed 17-7 late in the third quarter before quarterback Joe Montana and Vagas Ferguson got the offense rolling. After scoring a touchdown to pull within three, the Irish needed to get the ball back and that is exactly what the Notre Dame defense did, forcing a fumble and recovering around midfield. From there, the Irish moved right up the field and took the lead on a Montana sneak into the end zone.
Clemson Connection: This connection is a little stretch, but here goes nothing … Brad Brownell, head men’s basketball coach at Clemson, graduated in 1993 from DePauw University (Greencastle, Ind.). At that time, the DePauw football team was coached by Nick Mourouzis, a 1959 graduate of Miami (Ohio). The end of the connection comes when I tell you who recruited Mourouzis to Oxford, Ohio … then Redhawks head coach Ara Pareseghian … additional crazy connection is that the director of basketball operations at Clemson used to work as an assistant at DePauw, creating another indirect link to Notre Dame.
DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Last-Minute Miracle • Nov. 26, 2011 • Women’s Basketball • In regards to Duke, there are many great moments, both good and bad across a variety of sports for Notre Dame, but one of my favorite comes from the 2011 Junkanoo Jam tournament in the Bahamas, pitting the fourth-ranked Irish against the seventh-ranked Blue Devils. Down by as many as 18 in the second half, the Irish rallied to pull within three, 54-51, with a minute to play. After Kayla McBride hits one of two free throws and Skylar Diggins converts a fast break layup, the game is knotted at 54.
With just under 20 seconds left, Duke dribbles the ball across the mid court stripe and fires up a jumper that goes astray and heads out of bounds for Notre Dame possession. With just four seconds to play, the Irish get the ball to Natalie Novosel who drives the length of the court and banks in a runner as time expires to win the Junkanoo Jam title. The Irish would go on to be the 2012 NCAA runner-up after falling to Baylor in the title game that season.
Duke Connection: Former Notre Dame Director of Athletics Kevin White is the current AD at Duke University … also, current Irish men’s golf coach Jim Kubinski was a former assistant golf coach at Duke … women’s lacrosse head coach Christine Halfpenny was an assistant at Duke from 2004-2006 … men’s basketball head coach, Mike Brey, spent eight years on the Duke men’s basketball staff before beginning his head coaching career at Delaware.
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
On To Omaha • June 10, 2002 • Baseball • The Notre Dame baseball team punched their ticket to Omaha (Neb.) and the College World Series for the first time since 1957 after a 3-1 victory over Florida State in the third and deciding game of the NCAA Super Regional in Tallahassee, Fla.
Chris Niesel led the Irish to victory on the mound, working eight solid innings, scattering six hits and surrendering just one run. J.P. Gagne dominated the ninth inning while picking up his sixth save, striking out all three batters he faced.
On offense, Steve Sollman drove in two of the Irish runs with an RBI single and sacrifice fly. Javier Sanchez provided an insurance run in the seventh inning with an RBI single as well.
FSU Connection: Former Notre Dame football player Greg Hudson was a member of the Florida State football staff from 2010-12 as he served as linebackers coach, he is currently on the football staff at Purdue … Boo Corrigan, a 1990 Notre Dame graduate and former athletics administrator for the Irish, spent three years as assistant director of marketing at Florida State from 1992-95. Corrigan is currently the Athletics Director at Army.
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
The Rudy Play • Nov. 8, 1975 • Football • There is one moment in this game that outshines the brilliant 24-3 victory for Notre Dame, the play of Rudy Ruettiger and the movie that would be made because of this game.
As the crew at Fighting Irish Digital Media portrayed in the following video, most of the movie, Rudy, is full of factual information. Without the Georgia Tech game, the movie Rudy probably would not have come to fruition.
Georgia Tech Connection: Georgia Tech Director of Athletics Mike Bobinski is a 1979 Notre Dame graduate, playing four years on the Irish baseball team. He would later return to the University as a business manager for five years in the mid 80’s.
Lapira’s Golden Goal • Nov. 18, 2006 • Men’s Soccer • A Joseph Lapira strike with 3:04 remaining in the second overtime period propelled the 12th-seeded Notre Dame past fifth-seeded Maryland 1-0 and into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship. The win knocked off the defending NCAA Champion and sparked Lapira’s M.A.C. Hermann Trophy victory, the honor bestowed upon the best college soccer player.
Lapira, the nation’s leading goal-scorer, struck a low shot to the right of a diving Maryland goalkeeper Chris Seitz, beating the Terrapins ‘keeper for the victory.
Notre Dame would go on to fall in their first NCAA quarterfinal contest 3-2 against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Terps Connection: Assistant men’s swimming coach Matt Tallman was previously an assistant on the Terrapins swim staff in 2000-01 before being hired at Notre Dame.
The Near No-No • May 12, 1999 • Baseball • One of my best memories as a kid was watching this game as it unfolded in the Eck Stadium bleachers…Miami’s Mike Rodriguez broke up Notre Dame’s bid for a no-hitter with two strikes and two outs in the ninth inning but the No. 2-ranked Hurricanes failed to avert their first scoreless game since 1995, as the No. 24 Irish held on for a 1-0 victory in exciting non-conference baseball action Wednesday night at Eck Stadium.
Sophomore righthander and All-American Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) closed the final five innings to improve to 10-2 for the season and 17-5 in his career. Heilman’s 72-pitch outing included seven strikeouts, four groundouts and three walks, plus the 1-2 single by Rodriguez in the ninth.
Miami (36-12) saw its scoring streak snapped at 248 games (sixth-longest in NCAA history), with the previous shutout versus the Hurricanes coming in a 4-0 loss to Texas A&M on May 29, 1995. Miami averted its first no-hit effort in 2,078 games, stretching back to a 4-1, seven-inning loss to Florida Southern on April 18, 1964 (the last nine-inning, no-hitter versus Miami came in an 18-0 loss to Florida State on April 18, 1958).
The visitors were one hit away from another dramatic late-inning rally, but Heilman struck out fellow Team USA invitee Manny Crespo to end the game.
Brian Seever struck out looking on three pitches to open the ninth before Bobby Hill sent a 1-2 pitch down the leftfield line, with junior leftfielder Matt Nussbaum making a sliding catch to his right for the second out.
Rodriguez fell behind on a 1-2 count but then drilled a fastball into shallow left field, ending the no-hitter. Rodriguez swiped second base while Heilman went to his tough slider for a 2-2 count on the righthanded-hitting Crespo, who then swung and missed at a low-and-outside slider to end the night’s excitement.
Canes Connection: Assistant men’s golf coach Scott Gump is a graduate of Miami, earning honorable mention all-american accolades prior to turning pro in golf.
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Getting Over the Hump • Dec. 1, 1995 • Women’s Soccer • The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer squad was coming off a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Tar Heels in the 1994 NCAA Championship Game and had made it back to the College Cup in 1995 only to be squared up against North Carolina yet again. The Tar Heels, the number one overall seed, had the opportunity to play in fron of their home crowd as they took on Notre Dame in the national semifinal.
Notre Dame would get the last laugh this time after an own goal in the 20th-minute gave the Irish the lead at 1-0, a margin that they would not relinquish throughout the match. With the victory the Irish would go on to play Portland in the NCAA Championship Game, winning that match 1-0 on a Cindy Daws goal in the third golden goal period.
Since the game on Dec. 1, 1995, the Irish have won three NCAA titles, found themselves in seven NCAA Championship Games and on four occasions have had players receive the game’s highest honor, the Hermann Trophy.
Tar Heels Connection: Bubba Cunningham, current North Carolina Athletics Director, was a member of the Notre Dame Athletics Department staff for 14 years from 1988-2002, rising to the title of Associate Athletics Director … head women’s tennis coach Brian Kalbas at North Carolina played tennis at Notre Dame in the late 80’s, graduating in 1989 …
N.C. STATE WOLFPACK
Irish Blitz Wolfpack • May 10, 2013 • Women’s Tennis • In the first meeting in the history of the two programs the University of Notre Dame women’s tennis team claimed the early advantage at doubles before winning the final three singles decisions of the day to defeat N.C. State 4-1 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Championship at the University of Michigan Varsity Tennis Center.
The No. 24 Irish swept consecutive decisions at the first and second doubles courts to take a 1-0 match lead. The 82nd-ranked tandem of Britney Sanders and Julie Sabacinski got Notre Dame off to a fast start at the second court, downing Elisa Hande and Nicole Martinez 8-4. No. 76 Jennifer Kellnerand Chrissie McGaffigan clinched the opening point for the Irish at the first court with an 8-6 victory at first doubles over Joelle Kissell and Tatiana Illova.
NC State Connection: Jon Tenuta, former Notre Dame football co-defensive coordinator was a member of the N.C. State football staff after leaving South Bend.
Thomas To Torin • Feb. 9, 2003 • Men’s Basketball • (AP) Pittsburgh’s Brandin Knight had just hit his only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left that tied the game. He was near midcourt guarding Chris Thomas as the game clock ticked down. He smiled and started talking to his counterpart from Notre Dame.
“He said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be,”‘ Thomas said. “I said, ‘You’re right.”‘
Knight wasn’t smiling for long.
Thomas started to drive around Knight to get a shot off, but saw a crowd of players ahead. At the last second, he spotted Torin Francis under the basket and passed inside. Francis scored with .6 seconds left to give No. 10 Notre Dame a 66-64 victory over the fourth-ranked Panthers on Sunday.
“I cut to the ball and he found me at the last minute,” said Francis, who was 3-for-3 from the field in the second half after being held without a shot in the first half. “I just put it up.”
The Panthers had one last chance, but Jordan Cornette swatted away the inbounds pass by Jaron Brown as time expired. The Notre Dame students then swarmed the court as officials checked the videotape to make sure that time had run out.
Pitt Connection: Men’s and women’s diving coach Caiming Xie was the assistant diving coach at Pittsburgh from 1991-92 … former Notre Dame women’s basketball director of operations Stephanie Menio is a 2004 graduate of Pitt, spending two years with the Panthers after graduation as a marketing assistant. Menio is now an assistant athletics director and the Senior Women’s Administrator at Army.
Orange Squeezed By Irish • Jan. 21, 2012 • Men’s Basketball • Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey’s viewing selection for his players the night before meeting top-ranked Syracuse was an easy choice. The Notre Dame coach showed a video of former Irish teams upsetting No. 1 teams over the years.
Brey and the current group of Irish now have their own spot in that collection.
Jack Cooley had 17 points and 10 rebounds against a Syracuse team missing its shot-blocking, rebounding center Fab Melo and the Irish surprised the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Orange 67-58 on Saturday night.
Fans stormed the court after Notre Dame’s victory, marking one of the best victory’s in program history. The victory would catapult the Irish into the national conscience and begin their run to the NCAA Championship.
‘Cuse Connection: Notre Dame men’s swimming coach Tim Welsh spent three seasons on the Syracuse swim staff in the 1970’s … women’s cross country coach Tim Connelly also was a member of the Syracuse coaching staff prior to arrive in his current position at Notre Dame.
Taming Sampson • Feb. 22, 1981 • Men’s Basketball • The top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers and Notre Dame met at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago in front of crowd of 16,546. Virginia entered the contest undefeated and sported one of the best players to ever play college basketball in Ralph Sampson while the Irish countered with a plethora of players including Kelly Tripucka, the late Orlando Woolridge, John Paxson and Tracy Jackson.
The Fighting Irish would wind up knocking off the eventual NCAA Championship third-place team 57-56 on the back of Tripucka’s 15-point, 5-rebound performance. Jackson would chip in 14 points and haul in 5 rebounds as well. Woolridge hit the game’s defining shot, knocking in a buzzer-beating 16-footer as time expired.
Notre Dame would finish the season at 24-6, losing in the third round of the NCAA Championship.
Cavaliers Connection: Head men’s lacrosse coach Kevin Corrigan was a graduate of Virginia, spending three seasons in the midfield for the Cavaliers … assistant men’s basketball coach Anthony Solomon also spent his playing days as a member of the Cavaliers.
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Rallying Before The (Pep) Rally • Nov. 7, 2003 • Volleyball • The 12th-ranked University of Notre Dame volleyball team was stretched to the limit, but eventually rallied from a 2-1 deficit for a five-game victory (30-22, 25-30, 29-31, 30-24, 15-13) over Virginia Tech in the Joyce Center. The match, which was played immediately before the Irish football pep rally, attracted a crowd of 8,643, breaking the previous Joyce Center attendance record for volleyball by more than 5,000.
The decisive game was tied at 9-9, 11-11, and 12-12, with Irish junior Emily Loomis breaking the final deadlock with a kill. Sophomore Lauren Brewster, the nation’s leader in blocking, then delivered a solo block on a Liz Kapp attack attempt to put the Irish within one point of victory. After a Hokies timeout, Kapp converted on a kill to save the first Notre Dame match point. Brewster then took a set from senior co-captain Kristen Kinder and drove it into the Sport Court to clinch the Irish triumph.
Va. Tech Connection: Women’s lacrosse head coach, Christine Halfpenny played at Virginia Tech from 1996-99 and was an assistant for the Hokies in 2003 … former volleyball assistant coach Greg Smith was the head volleyball coach at Virginia Tech for five years before joining coach Brown’s staff at Notre Dame. Smith is currently the head volleyball coach at Toledo.
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Thomas’ Tally Trumps Wake • Nov. 16, 2012 • Women’s Soccer • A young Notre Dame women’s soccer squad upended the third-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons 2-1 in the second round of the NCAA Championship this past year.
Freshman Crystal Thomas was the hero, perfectly timing her run to gather in a chip over the top by junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish, just beating Wake Forest goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to the ball at the top right of the box. Thomas then rounded the sprawling netminder and deftly tucked her 12-yard shot inside the far left post for her 10th goal of the season.
After taking Thomas out for strategic and physical purposes, Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum inserted her back in the lineup in the 67th minute and it was readily apparent the rookie striker was chomping at the bit to make her presence known, immediately harassing the Wake Forest defense into a corner kick. Thus, it came as no surprise four minutes later (at 70:25) when Thomas found herself in the right place at the right time, racing on to Laddish’s chip and showing the composure of a wily veteran to become the first Notre Dame rookie to score double-figure goals in a season since 2008 (and send the Fighting Irish on to the next round).
Wake Connection: In 2005, Notre Dame provost and history professor Nathan O. Hatch was appointed the 13th president of Wake Forest University … prior to his current position as assistant athletics media relations director, Michael Bertsch spent three years in a similar position in Winston-Salem.
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