The first football game after the September 11 attacks, a home game against Michigan State, featured a special pregame show. Father Malloy said a prayer, and the stands were filled with people holding paper American flags. Some in attendance wondered why the Irish weren’t on the field; Michigan State’s players and coaches were. It turned out that the athletic directors had agreed ahead of time to keep their teams off the field during the ceremonies, but at the last minute Michigan State’s coach decided his players should witness the spectacle. . . . Notre Dame sophomore Mickey Blum, a member of the men’s lacrosse team, lost his aunt and cousin when part of the plane carrying American Airlines Flight 587 crashed through the roof of their home in Rockaway, New York, last October. . . . First-year student Amy Peterson is a finalist in a contest to design the commemorative quarter for her home state of Alabama. The winning entry was expected to be picked around December. . . . In his first collegiate game, freshman point guard Chris Thomas recorded the first triple double in Notre Dame basketball history. A triple double is double-figure totals in three statistical categories. Thomas had 24 points, 11 assists and 11 steals in a 95-53 home win over New Hampshire. . . . The statue of Father William Corby, CSC, in front of Corby Hall has a new plaque clarifying the priest’s role at the Battle of Gettysburg. Nicknamed “Fair Catch” Corby because of his outstretched arm, the statue actually depicts Corby giving general absolution to Union troops before the second day of the battle. (The original plaque implied that he’d done this before the battle began.) Installed in 1911, the Corby statue is a replica of one erected earlier on the actual rock at Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge where the priest performed the rite. Corby later served two terms as president of Notre Dame. . . . Scholastic writer Jacklyn Kiefer went searching for a “time capsule” she’d heard existed behind a medicine cabinet in one of the residence halls — and she found it. The items fished out from behind the wall included a 1960s-vintage can of Dad’s root beer (unopened), a 1966 football program, two bras and a brick-size toy named “Frederick the Sperm.” All the items were replaced, and the location of the stash was kept secret so future generations of residents can add to the collection. . . . A potentially ugly confrontation was avoided in October when a former Notre Dame football player banned from campus in connection with an alleged sexual assault decided not to challenge the ban when his new team came to play in Notre Dame Stadium. The student was expelled after a fellow freshman accused him of sexually assaulting her in 1997. He denied the charge and no criminal charges were ever filed, but he agreed to abide by the findings of a campus disciplinary hearing. He later enrolled at West Virginia and had been playing for the Mountaineers. In the days leading up to October 13 West Virginia game, a controversy erupted over whether the ban applied to his visiting as part of a team. Two days before the game, the player announced his decision to stay home. . . . For the final home game of the football season The Observer devoted its entire pregame pullout, Irish Insider, to the team’s nonscholarship players or walk-ons. One of the most interesting cases was senior Matt Sarb, part of the kickoff coverage unit. According to Sarb, his great-great-great grandfather helped build the Main Building; his great grandparents lived next door to Knute Rockne and sponsored the coach’s conversion to Catholicism; his great uncle and aunt bought Rockne’s home, and his great uncle still lives there. About 20 of Sarb’s relatives have attended the University, and his father, Pat, a cornerback, was one of the players who gave up their jerseys so Dan Ruettiger ‘76 (Rudy) and three other senior walk-ons could dress for the 1975 season finale. . . . The Observer is organizing a 35th anniversary reunion bash for staff alumni April 22. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . The entire 1995 freshman class of ND football players earned their degrees, and that accomplishment earned Notre Dame a share of the 2001 American Football Coaches Association’s Academic Achievement Award. The only other team to achieve a 100 percent graduation rate during the period was Vanderbilt. The overall graduation rate for the 95 institutions surveyed was 59 percent. Notre Dame won the award for the sixth time. . . . Track and cross country coach Joe Piane, Notre Dame’s longest-tenured coach at 26 seasons, was named national cross country coach of the year by the United States Track and Field Coaches Association. Two Irish runners finished in the top 10 at the NCAA cross country championship race last fall. Luke Watson was fifth and fellow senior Ryan Shay was sixth. The Irish as a team finished sixth. . . . The administration granted a change in parietals asked for by the Campus Life Council last year. Guests of the opposite sex are now allowed to be in dorm rooms as early as 9 a.m. instead of 10 (9 was already the rule on football weekends). . . . The Main Building is one of 11 finalists in an online competition to identify America’s best public restroom. Among the other nominees are bathrooms in the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Washington, D.C., and in the Space Quest Casino in Las Vegas. The survey contest was sponsored by Sanis, a maker of specialty products for restroom cleaning. . . . Brace yourself: Notre Dame men are carrying purses. Actually, they’re roomy bags with a single wide strap that goes over the opposite shoulder. The bags have displaced the venerable backpack among large percentage of students of either gender this year. . . .Monica Gonzalez played the entire season for the women’s soccer team against the wishes of the University. The Office of Residence Life and Housing placed Gonzalez on disciplinary probation — making her ineligible for participation in varsity sports — last September in connection with a report from a Mexican university where she studied abroad last spring. The report said she had bought marijuana for the brother of a teammate of hers on the Mexican National team. Gonzalez is from Texas, but people of Mexican ancestry are eligible to play on the team. Gonzalez said she only accompanied the brother on a trip to the grocery store and had nothing to do with his buying the drug on the way home. After Residence Life ruled against her, the fifth-year senior obtained a preliminary injunction to allow her to keep playing for the Irish. Notre Dame’s attorneys challenged the injunction, but a judge affirmed it, which essentially allowed her to play out the season. Gonzalez started on defense all year and made first-team all-Big East. The Irish women won the Big East but were upset at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament. . . . Senior Andrew Nerlinger finished second but took home some great memories and $2,500 in cash playing in the Jeopardy! college tournament last fall. The show, taped in October at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, aired November 7. A philosophy and math double major from Wilmington, Delaware, Nerlinger qualified through a tryout last summer in Baltimore. The other contestants on the show were women from Stanford and Brown. He lost to the Stanford student after missing the Final Jeopardy question, about the inspiration for the Pied Piper legend. His vanquisher went on to win the whole tournament. . . . The NBC game show Weakest Link held tryouts in South Bend and at least two members of the campus community were picked, senior Courtney Carson and Julie Flory, assistant director of public relations. As this issue went to press, neither of their shows had aired. They were sworn to secrecy about the results. . . . The day before the Irish rock band U2 played the Joyce Center, senior Tim Collins told a story in The Observer that’s hard to believe, but he swears it’s true: He and his girlfriend went on a “double date” with the band’s lead singer, Bono, and his wife. In spring 2000, Collins said he and his friend were studying abroad in London. One day during a break they went to Dublin. They were hanging around outside the band’s recording studio in an industrial part of the city and planning on taking a picture of the building when the singer appeared. Collins mustered the courage to ask for an autograph. After hearing how far they’d come, Bono offered them a ride back to the train station. During the drive the subject of Notre Dame came up. Bono told them he had heard Notre Dame was different from most colleges in America. He asked how. “Julie explained that our school has a great sense of community and it is a really spiritual place,” Collins wrote. “Bono responded by saying, ‘So, it’s a place with a lot of soul.’ We said that we couldn’t have agreed more. Notre Dame has never been as cool to us as when Bono said that we have a lot of soul.”
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