The Wolfpacker

July 2016

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 151 of 163

150 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY TIM PEELER T his coming NC State football season will include the first-ever regular-sea- son meeting between the Wolfpack and Notre Dame's Fighting Irish, a game slated for Oct. 8 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Carter-Finley Stadium. Every good State fan knows that the Pack won the only previous meeting be- tween the two schools, when quarterback Philip Rivers and linebacker Dantonio Bur- nette guided coach Chuck Amato's squad to a resounding 28-6 victory in the 2003 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., perhaps the most memorable win of the Amato era. Many even know that Notre Dame's coach for that game, Tyrone Willingham, had been an assistant coach for the Wolf- pack for three years in the 1980s under head coach Tom Reed. Few people, however, remember the close ties the schools shared during college football's Golden Age, when famed head coach Knute Rockne and Notre Dame sent three former Fightin' Irish players and one handpicked high school coach to install what NC State College boosters hoped would be a southern version of Rockne's famous T-formation offense. Two of them went on to win profes- sional football titles and two were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as coaches. But they were all failures at NC State, where the coaching style they learned from Rockne and the recruits they brought from the Midwest were never re- ally at home in the genteel South. There were personality clashes between administrators and coaches, plus coaches and players. There were even reports of profane language and hard drinking. The football office secretary for one testified under oath to a court reporter that she fre- quently heard one say "hell," "damn" and "goddamn," though she admitted that the latter was very infrequent. But here is a fascinating tidbit: when Rockne tragically died in a plane crash in 1931, he was replaced by one of his former players and top assistant, Heartley "Hunk" Anderson, an All-American in college and an all-star in the early professional game. After just two years of trying to live up to Rockne's heritage, Anderson lit out for undeveloped football pastures, hoping he could build a football power in the Depres- sion-era South. So he left Notre Dame to become NC State's head coach, the third in a line of four Wolfpack coaches between 1924-36 with direct ties to Rockne's "Notre Dame system." Each of them had either played for, or were personally recommended by, Rockne to be the football coach at NC State Col- lege. It was during a time when Midwest- erner John Miller came in to totally revamp the athletics and physical education depart- ments, putting in staunch prohibition of hiring anyone who had previous connection to NC State. ■ PACK PAST NC State Has Ties With Notre Dame Fighting Irish coaching legend Knute Rockne sent three of his former players and one handpicked high school coach to Raleigh between 1924‑36, but none could match their mentor's success while at NC State. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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