When Brian Boulac ’63, ’65M.A. retired in 2009, it marked the end of an era in Notre Dame sports history. It would be the first time in half a century the big man with the booming voice and tender heart would not be an integral member of the University’s athletic department.
Boulac was an 8-year-old in Walla Walla, Washington, when his father took him to Seattle in 1949 to see Frank Leahy’s football team defeat the University of Washington 27-7. He announced his intention to attend Notre Dame on the ride home, a dream fulfilled in 1959 when he enrolled as a scholarship tight end and later earned a monogram with the Fighting Irish. After graduation, he stayed on as a graduate assistant coach, then as an assistant freshman coach when first-year students were not eligible to play varsity.
In 1970, Boulac became the offensive line coach and was instrumental to the two national championship seasons, eight bowl game appearances and six bowl wins that the football program enjoyed during his tenure under Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine. He continued to coach various positions under Gerry Faust and spent seven years as recruiting coordinator, successful enough to be featured in a 1975 Time magazine article, “Brian’s Pitch.”
Elevated into the administrative ranks in 1983, Boulac would manage more than a half-dozen varsity sports over the years, including hockey, volleyball, baseball and fencing. In 1989, he became head coach of Notre Dame’s first varsity softball team, which notched more than 30 wins in each of its first four seasons, claiming three Midwestern Collegiate Conference titles in that span and earning Boulac MCC coach of the year honors in 1989. Two of his four daughters played softball for him at Notre Dame, and Boulac for years stayed close to the team, serving as mentor to numerous alumnae even after his coaching days were over.
A familiar presence at almost any Notre Dame sporting event for decades, Boulac also received the Alumni Association’s Armstrong Award for distinguished service and is honored with a plaque in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. “Considering his long and valuable efforts as a player, a coach, and as an administrator,” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick at Boulac’s retirement, “I don’t think it’s possible to find anyone on campus who has made more contributions to athletics at Notre Dame than Brian Boulac has made over the past five decades.”
Boulac died in June at age 79, survived by his widow, Micki ’83J.D., and their four daughters.
He would tell you everything you wanted to know about the Virgin of Guadalupe. He could make jokes in three languages. He was a mischief, an artist, a storyteller, a man of readily articulated passions and opinions — seeming always to know what to say and how to say it.
Rev. David J. Scheidler, CSC, ’87, ’93M.Div. brought a warm, approachable humanity to his priesthood, a ministry that included two stints as assistant rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and a seven-year term as the rector of St. Edward’s Hall. His gifts for penetrating homilies and wise, compassionate counsel earned him scores of invitations to celebrate the weddings of former St. Ed’s residents and other students — and repeatedly called him away from campus for pastoral assignments in South Bend and his beloved Mexico.
Born in Dallas, Scheidler majored in history and theatre at Notre Dame, studies that sharpened his narrative and dramatic talents. His leading role in The Fifth Sun, a play about the martyred Honduran archbishop Oscar Romero, was powerful and convincing — and pointed toward a looming choice in his own life. “I remember him very fondly as a talented theatre artist and intellectually curious student, one of the best of the best,” said Mark Pilkinton, professor emeritus of theatre. “I hoped he would get his doctorate in theatre and come back to Notre Dame to work with us in FTT, but he had other career plans and goals.”
Whenever he lived on campus after his 1994 ordination, Scheidler served as chaplain of the Notre Dame Folk Choir, where he sang a robust bass. The choir’s founding director, Steven C. Warner ’80M.A., dedicated his composition, “Crux Fidelis,” to him — a meditation on the constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross.
In the last days of the illness that took Scheidler’s life, family and friends consoled each other by sharing orange examples of everything they encountered, an homage to the priest’s favorite color, which he wore whenever he wasn’t in clerical attire. Father David Scheidler died June 6 in Maywood, Illinois. He was 55.
On Fridays before home football games, the office of Paul F. Conway received a steady stream of visitors. The guests were former students, back on campus with their families to say hello and catch up with their former professor. Whenever someone turned up, “He would stop what he was doing and give you his full attention and as much time as you needed,” recalls finance professor Carl Ackermann, a close friend. “He was the finest person I have ever known.”
Conway was a finance professor in what is now the Mendoza College of Business from 1956 to 2006. A native of Troy, New York, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the USS Missouri, witnessed the signing of the peace treaty that ended that conflict and remained on the ship during its postwar world tour.
He was active in many circles at Notre Dame. He served more than two decades on the Faculty Senate and was a member of both the Faculty Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Faculty Board of Athletics. He was a founding member of the former University Club and served as board chairman for many years. Conway displayed his faith in numerous roles at Sacred Heart Parish, including serving on the parish and finance councils. He enjoyed jokes, puns and solving puzzles and had a hearty laugh. Known as a champion of the underdog, he always insisted that everyone be treated fairly.
Conway died June 6 at age 94. He is survived by a daughter, a son and six grandchildren. His wife, Emily, preceded him in death in 2018. An annual Paul F. Conway Award honors a senior finance major of keen intellect who enriches the ideals of Notre Dame.
Kwang-Tzu Yang left his native China in 1948 to study and work in the United States, but often returned to Asia as a guest lecturer even during his retirement. A professor emeritus of aerospace and mechanical engineering who specialized in studies of heat transfer, Yang died July 29. He was 93.
Born in Suzhou, China, Yang attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees under the supervision of renowned physicist Max Jakob. In 1955, he arrived at Notre Dame, where he would serve as department chair and was named the Viola D. Hank Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in 1986. His contributions to the field of heat transfer — the generation, use, conversion and exchange of thermal energy — earned him many prestigious professional honors.
After retiring from research and teaching in 1998, Yang continued to travel and lecture. “People all over the world knew K.T.,” said Professor Joseph M. Powers, a department colleague and friend. “He was a gentleman: kind, gracious, always cheerful and wise.”
Yang played viola in the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. His family was musically inclined and sometimes presented group performances for small audiences. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Heather, as well as their five children, 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.