Online checkbacks

Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

Checkback: Reappearing Fridays?

Father Malloy, among others, has been concerned for years about the dwindling number of Friday classes, which has turned Thursday night into the unofficial starting point for weekend partying. Last spring the Academic Council approved a proposal aimed at restoring Friday as a major class day.

The change would abolish 75-minute Monday-Wednesday classes and replace them with Wednesday-Friday pairs of the same length. Classes that previously met only on Friday would move to Monday, as would any discussion groups or tutorials that met only on Friday.

Under the arrangement, Monday would become a lighter day for classes instead of Friday. The change is partly to ease scheduling conflicts. But there’s also the hope that students will party less on Sunday night, when many attend dorm Masses, than on Thursday night.

The changes were scheduled to take effect in spring semester 2003, but after objections were raised by faculty — mainly from the Arts and Letters college, which would be most affected — the provost postponed the revision until autumn of 2003.

Checkback: Did the Notre Dame Rodeo Club ever become official?

Notre Dame’s Rodeo Club, founded in 1999 by the Driscoll brothers — Mike ’99 and Neal ’02 of Butte, Montana — along with two other students from Montana, reached its first goal of becoming an official club sports team in 2000-01.

The club has yet to reach its second goal, which is to compete as a team in a collegiate rodeo. But its membership has grown to an anticipated 15-20 active members this year, says President Dylan Reed, a senior from eastern Kentucky who grew up on a quarter-horse farm.

In the past year, the club, renamed the Notre Dame Rodeo Team, has focused on teaching basic horsemanship and safety because most members have little experience with horses, Reed says. They’ve also spent time practicing roping and other rodeo skills at a farm near campus. Last year Reed stabled one of his horses at a horse farm nearby for the club to work with.

Checkback: Status of NCAA sanctions

Notre Dame’s athletic department emerged from its two-year NCAA probation in December 2001, but a five-year “repeat violator” provision remains in effect until December 2004. During the remaining time any major violation would subject the program to more severe sanctions.

The NCAA put Notre Dame on probation in December 1999 after finding the athletic program guilty of major rules violations for the first time ever.

The violations involved three situations: a woman booster romantically involved with several football players who gave gifts and others items of value to the players’ teammates; a player who was found to have offered complimentary tickets to his girlfriend in lieu of paying her back a loan; and a player who was found to have paid a tutor to write a paper for him.

In all three cases, Notre Dame officials brought the potential infractions to the attention of NCAA investigators, as is school policy.

Checkback: Father Riehle

A pair of strokes have ended the football chaplaincy of Father James L. Riehle, CSC, ’49 after more than a quarter of a century with the team. Father Riehle is still sharp mentally but now has difficulty getting around. He uses a cane.

The chaplaincy is being shared this year by two priests. Father Bill Seetch, CSC, ‘74, ’78M.Th., the order’s religious superior and the football team’s interim chaplain last year, will take the road games. Father Paul Doyle, CSC, ’65, ’75M.Th., rector of Dillon Hall, will be chaplain for home games.

Checkback: Whatever happened to the Millennium Gate?

Notre Dame’s School of Architecture cosponsored a contest to design a $50 million Millennium Memorial gate in southeast Washington, D.C. The winners were selected and a design refined, but the government of the District of Columbia has put the project on hold indefinitely.

Organizers hoped to break ground in 2003 on the project, which would entail a 78-foot-tall pavilion with arcade and three levels of exhibition space. The memorial is intended to commemorate U.S. contributions to the last thousand years. It would be located at Barney Circle on Pennsylvania Avenue SE near the Anacostia River.

The nonprofit American Urban Design Foundation is committed to raising the money for the gate’s construction. But in August a city official told the Washington Post that the district would have to pay to prepare the site, and it doesn’t have the money budgeted.

Checkback: Pitcher Heilman update

In his first full year of professional baseball, former Notre Dame pitching ace Aaron Heilman ’01 was promoted from double-A to triple-A in the New York Mets farm system. He hoped to be promoted to the big leagues in September 2002, the month when teams are allowed to expand their rosters with minor leaguers.

As of mid-September, Heilman was 2-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 10 games, seven of them starts, for the Norfolk Tides. Before his promotion to Norfolk, he’d gone 4-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 17 games, all starts, for the Binghampton Mets.

In his debut with the Tides in July, Heilman pitched eight shutout innings on the road against the Indianapolis Indians, 70 miles from his hometown of Logansport, Indiana.

According to, three other ex-Irish pitchers were at triple-A this past season: lefthander Chris Michalak ‘93 (Pawtucket Red Sox) and righthanders Tim Kalita (Toledo Mud Hens, played at ND from 1997-99) and Brad Lidge (New Orleans Zephrys, at ND from 1996-’98). Michalak (Texas Rangers) and Lidge (Houston Astros) both made appearances in the majors this past season.

At the end of its article on Heilman’s debut against Indianapolis, the website listed information on 10 other former Irish players active in professional baseball, including Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Craig Counsell. Read the original story.

Checkback: Did that 7-foot-1 pitcher enroll at ND?

There was some concern that 7-foot-1 pitcher Ryan Doherty, who signed a national letter of intent to enroll at Notre Dame this year (2002), might opt for pro baseball instead. But the right-hander from Toms River, New Jersey, is enrolled and on campus.

Irish coach Paul Manieri said teams passed on Doherty in the major league free-agent draft because the young pitcher, who is said to have a fastball in the 90s, told scouts his price tag to sign would be steep.