Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 101 of 108

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? Program-building coach is settling into retirement after four decades with the Irish BY DAN MURPHY O n Sept. 5, Notre Dame's cross coun- try team will make an hour drive west to open its 2014 season at the Crusader Open in Valparaiso, Ind. Joe Piane imagines he'll be somewhere on the back nine of a golf course when the starting gun goes off. The last time any Irish runners started a race without Piane there to coach them, Ara Parseghian was em- barking on his second consensus na- tional title. A gallon of gas cost less than 40 cents then, and Watergate was still just a nice hotel with a view of the Potomac. At a school where — outside of foot- ball — a head coach entering his 10th year is still the new guy in athletic de- partment meetings, Piane became an institution. He started at Notre Dame as an assistant in 1974 and took over as the head coach a year later, where he stayed for the next 39 seasons. Piane coached his first-ever track meet as a 24-year-old while working with the Peace Corps in Morocco. This week, at 68, the cross country season will begin without him for the first time in four decades. "That will be different, won't it?" he said. Piane retired three years shy of passing former baseball coach Jake Kline for the Notre Dame record in a coaching tenure. Their careers as head coaches for the Irish overlapped by a year. When Piane was getting his start in South Bend, Kline was put- Joe Piane, 1974-2014 Track & Field Coach Piane said he plans to spend his post-coaching life traveling as much as possible and chipping away at the honey-do list he's been putting off for a few decades. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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