Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 24, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 107 of 114

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE? His impact at Notre Dame went far beyond the hardwood BY LOU SOMOGYI D uring his three-year varsity bas- ketball career at Notre Dame from 1956-59, Tom Hawkins immortalized himself in the school's record books. He remains the lone player in school history to average more than 20 points (23.0) and 15 rebounds per game (16.7), and his 1,318 career rebounds remain the oldest standard in the 109- year history of the program. So when it was announced on Oct. 31 that Hawkins would be Notre Dame's seventh member in the Ring of Honor created in 2010, the reaction from his contemporaries was univer- sal: What took so long? For Hawkins, who will turn 78 on Dec. 22, the official ceremony on Jan. 17, 2015, goes far beyond any achievements in the basketball arena, which included helping Notre Dame advance to the Elite Eight his junior year in 1957-58 — one of only three times that has occurred in the past 56 years. "Every thought I have about Notre Dame is so positive, it sometimes overwhelms me," he said. "To recog- nize my basketball contributions to the university is great, but running con- currently with my basketball achieve- ment was the humanity that I was af- forded by everybody associated with the university." As a 10-year-old in 1947, Hawkins received a powerful message from his mother when news arrived that Jackie Robinson would break baseball's color barrier. "She told me what this would mean to me as a young black man later on and what it meant to the nation," he recalled. "Through that door I could do something to distinguish myself and be a disciple of Jackie Robinson." In 1951, Hawkins was one of 25 stu- dents who helped integrate Chicago's Parker High School in an era when segregation was the law of the land. The No. 1 basketball prospect in tal- ent-rich Chicago in 1955 while lead- ing the city in scoring (29.0 points per game) and rebounds (20.0 caroms per Tom Hawkins, 1956-59 Center Hawkins became a community leader in the Los Angeles area following his professional basketball career. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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