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Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Published by Swampy Meadows
Notre Dame

LONG BEACH (CA) –- I’m in California to attend the 37th annual American Payroll Association Congress. On the flight out I started thinking about the Flyers' upcoming season and how exciting it will be, especially when Obi returns (and his brother Jacob signs with AG). The only thing I can see that is missing from the picture is a good old-fashioned rivalry game. Sure, Dayton and VCU have become worthy adversaries and SLU has as well, but there is no one on UD’s slate who can get the Faithful Flyered-up like say former A-10 stalwart Xavier used to do.

However, before there was X, another school on Dayton’s schedule consistently generated tremendous fan interest and some unbelievably great basketball games.

Notre Dame

Like any Irish Catholic kid growing up, the name Notre Dame was semi-magical to me. However, my first awareness of it was actually not the university but rather the cathedral in Paris, more specifically the movie about it, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – the silent version. I was a huge horror movie fan and was fascinated by Lon Chaney’s remarkable ability to alter his appearance without the use of latex prosthetics. For the role of Quasimodo Chaney supposedly inserted poker chips in his cheeks and wore a 20-pound plaster weight on his back to transform himself into the title character.

My subsequent exposure to Notre Dame was in my choice of high schools: Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, MA, a private, all-boys school run by the Brothers of The Sacred Heart. When I attended ND, we had 300 guys from all over central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. In the ‘90’s ND was transformed into a post-graduate basketball factory that consistently produced D-1 players. Among them:

Steven Adams
Michael Beasley
Will Blalock
Derrick Caracter
Marcus Douthit
Kim English
Ryan Gomes
Paul Harris
Lazar Hayward
Shawn James
Chester Frazier
Sean Kilpatrick

Unfortunately, the school building is now up for sale and ND’s future is in serious doubt.

Amazingly enuf, in scanning the UD men’s hoops media guide, the first instance I could find of Dayton playing Notre Dame on the hardwood in the modern era was the 1968 NIT semi-finals at MSG. Donny May and the Flyers prevailed 76-74 in OT and eventually won the championship game by beating Jo Jo White and Kansas.

The first regular season matchup was two years later in 1970 at UD Arena. I remember it well because I was there and boy was the crowd into that game! My brother and his wife are both UD grads and her dad Jimmy was a huge Irish fan, as her brother attended ND and they went to all of their football games. Jimmy came to town for the game and bought tickets for all of us. I don’t think Jimmy was ready for what he saw, as the Gottschall twins Jim and Jerry took turns shutting down Irish All-American Austin Carr on the way to a 95-79 victory.

In 1971, UD lost an absolute heartbreaker at ND 83-82. I recall this one all too well as, again, I was there. One of Mrs. Swampy’s HS friends from Pittsburgh had transferred from UD to St. Mary’s. She stayed with her friend at St. Mary’s and I slept on the floor at one of her guy pal’s rooms at ND. What I vividly recall is the total arrogance of the Irish fans before the game, dismissing Dayton as an unworthy opponent. That was contrasted by the praise for the Flyers, especially the herculean efforts of the late George Jackson, after ND narrowly escaped. The arrogance is what has remained with me and to this day I have little use for the Irish.

The other thing that made the trip to South Bend memorable was the ride back to Dayton, as the alternator in my Audi decided to fail. It was equipped with a voltmeter and I could watch the charge sinking slowly. I had decided to take US 35 vs. the interstate and it’s a good thing as there were service stations on the way where we could stop and get the battery charged. German engineering, my foot.

In 1972, it was Pat Murnen’s turn to minimize Austin Carr and UD won at home 86-74. We were there for that one, too! This was the first opportunity for UD fans to yell “Sit down, Digger” at UD Arena, a derisive cheer they would utilize without fail for the next 20 years.

1973 saw UD get absolutely buried at Notre Dame 94-58. Thankfully, we did not make the trip to South Bend for that abomination.

In my mind, 1974 was the ultimate contest in the Dayton/Notre Dame series. I was working at WVUD at the time and arranged a small trade deal with Gary McCanns at the ticket office: a few radio spots to promote the remaining ducats for tix to the ND tilt. I invited the Media Director from Kircher Helton Collett (the agency for Rike’s department stores) to join me, only to have his son and a buddy show up in his stead. It remains the loudest game I have ever attended at UD Arena, as from my seat in the next to the last row in the 400 section I could feel the building shake. Donald Smith and company destroyed the then #2 ranked Irish 97-82, only days after ND had ended UCLA’s 88 game win streak. That game propelled the Sons of Don Donoher into the NCAA Tournament, where they would eventually fall to UCLA in triple overtime, as outlined here:


After that, with a few notable exceptions (the Chapman years), it was a steady stream of mostly Dayton Ls, especially at their place. In 1995, UD won the last scheduled regular season tilt against the Irish, 73-63. The following year, UD joined the Atlantic 10 and Notre Dame fell off the Flyer slate, never to return.

Notre Dame is now in the ACC for men’s hoops and finished 14-19 in 2018-19. With the advent of 20 game conference schedules there is NFW that ND will ever schedule UD again, especially at our place.

And that’s too bad.

That’s it “From the Swamp.”
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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By UD74 on 05-15-2019, 02:56 PM
I was at the 1971 game against ND , and found the Notre Dame fans to be absolutely wonderful . If you really want to see ahole fans stride up to Columbus sometime for a football game . They are SCUM . I believe ND will be playing us in basketball in the next few years. Notre Dame fans are BY FAR the most gracious in the country from my many years of experience .
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By Viperstick on 05-15-2019, 09:01 PM
One of the most satisfying wins I’ve experienced as a Flyer was the 97-79 thumping we put on the Irish at the Arena in February 1990. Looking up at the scoreboard from the playing floor (after we rushed the court) was icing on the cake.
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