Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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12 AUGUST 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Notre Dame's Dual Citizenship: ACC & Big Ten This July 1 marked a relatively quiet Notre Dame entrance into the Big Ten Conference — in hockey, that is. After four seasons in the 12-team Hockey East, Notre Dame officially became a member of the seven-team Big Ten on the ice. Popular opinion held years ago was that a Notre Dame/Big Ten union was an "all or nothing" proposition. Either the Fighting Irish would join the league in all sports — most notably football — or it could forget any association with the league. That's part of why Notre Dame joined the ACC in 2013. There, the Irish found an excellent home for almost all their Olympic sports without re- linquishing the school's coveted football independence. It is a "partial" football member that generally faces five ACC teams per year in the sport, but it is not involved in the league standings. Another exception was hockey, mainly because the ACC doesn't carry the sport. Thus, Notre Dame found a new home with Hockey East. While the league was exceptional competitively, it was not practical from a travel and fiscal standpoint, nor in creating rivalries with buzz. Weekend series against Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Merrimack, UMass, Northeastern, UMass Lowell, etc., are not going to generate the same type of enthusiasm as Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota, etc. What evolved was a mutually beneficial union. For the Big Ten, it adds a marquee name to a conference that needed more than the six hockey members it had last year: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The Big Ten did the same when it added the Johns Hopkins men's and women's lacrosse programs to the league to enhance it with more teams. Under head coach Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame has advanced to the Frozen Four three times, most recently this past April. In terms of tradition, Big Ten hockey programs take a back seat to no one. Michigan leads the nation with nine national championships, while Wisconsin has six, Minnesota five and Michigan State three. The Irish have a past with most of the Big Ten hockey teams. From 1971-81 in the WCHA, Notre Dame competed against fellow league mem- bers Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then from 1992-2013 in the CCHA, the Irish were in the same conference with the Wolverines, Spartans and Ohio State. Notre Dame will make its Big Ten hockey debut Nov. 3-4 with a series at Ohio State. The 24-game format in the league will end with the 2018 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. LOU HOLTZ SPEAKS AT IRISH INVASION Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz (1986-96) turned 80 this Janu- ary, but his vibrant nature and humor remain timeless. Shortly after returning from a trip to South Korea, Holtz at- tended the Irish Invasion June 10 at Notre Dame Stadium, a show- case for the football team's recruiting efforts. He then ad- dressed the promising group of future college football prospects as a surprise guest speaker. Current Irish head coach Brian Kelly introduced Holtz, and the talk lasted about three and a half minutes, with the emphasis on making right choices. Here is most of the transcript: "Whatever is going to happen to you the rest of your life is go- ing to be because of the choices you make. You talk about going to college and playing football — it's a choice. You choose to do drugs, drop out of school, join a gang — you're choosing to have difficulty in life. … You make good choices and great things are going to happen to you. "I also hope you realize how lucky you are. Let me tell you a little about me. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was born during the Depression. True story. I was born in a cellar, not in a hospital. My dad had a third-grade education. We had one bedroom for my sister, myself and my parents. We had a kitchen, we had a half bath that didn't have a tub, a shower or a sink. There was no welfare, there was no food stamps, there was no safety net. We lived there seven and a half years. "The reason I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth was I was born in this country … and I wasn't unloved. I was taught that I was born in a great country and if I was willing to work hard and care about other people, that great things can happen. "And I was fortunate because I was involved in football at an early age. Football is the greatest game in the world, and I hope you appreciate how lucky you are, because God gave you the talent. I used to pray, 'Oh, I want to be a good athlete.' I wasn't a good athlete, but it put me in the coach- ing profession for many years. You're blessed — just make good choices … "You decide what you want to do … but answer these questions honestly: What sacrifice are you willing to make to do that? Too many people in this world want something to happen without understanding there's going to be a price for it. "Second thing you have to ask yourself: What skills and talents do I have to acquire in order to do that? Maybe its blocking, tackling, whatever, get stronger … "Third question: Who do I have to work with in order to get this done? It's your high school teammates, your high school coaches — and then what problem am I going to have? Football is a great game because it's a togetherness game. One man cannot make a team, but it can ruin a team. "Enjoy your last year or two years of high school. Relish it, cherish it. Don't be afraid about the future — just make damn sure you make good choices. "You want to be happy for an hour, eat a steak. You want to be happy for a day, play golf. You want to be happy for a week, go on a cruise. Going on a cruise is like being in jail, except in jail you don't have a chance to drown. You want to be happy for a month, buy a new car. You want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. "You want to be happy for a lifetime — make good choices and bring your ass to Notre Dame. Thank you." Under head coach Jeff Jackson, Notre Dame has advanced to the Frozen Four three times, most recently this past April. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND The 80-year-old Lou Holtz, shown talk- ing with his former player and cur- rent Notre Dame assistant Todd Lyght, made an appearance at the Irish Invasion June 10. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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