Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 60 of 63 APRIL 2017 61 before the NCAA Tournament came into existence. Like Rockne, he died in office, suf- fering a fatal heart attack at age 53 on Feb. 17, 1943. In 1961, Keogan was in- ducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in only its third year of existence. His name too frequently gets over- looked in Notre Dame annals, and it needs to be immortalized in the program's Ring of Honor. A special old-timers ceremony with him and Krause — whom he coached — being recognized together would be fitting. 3. DICK ROSENTHAL (1951-54) Like Krause, he served as the athletics director at Notre Dame (1987-95), running the department during the most recent halcyon era of the football program, and also at a time when many of the Olympic Sports began to receive better finan- cial support and upgrades. Under his watch, a Notre Dame basketball operation that had grown extremely stale and irrelevant was shepherded into the powerful Big East in 1995 as a conference member. The move resulted in a significant uptick in years to come for both the men's and women's programs, with continued prosperity now in the na- tion's No. 1 basketball conference, the ACC. Overshadowed was Rosenthal's All-American basketball career in which he helped lead the Irish to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances as a junior and senior in 1953 and 1954. The only other two times that occurred for the men's program were 1978-79 and 2015-16. The 1953 season was the first time Notre Dame allowed itself to enter the NCAA Tournament, and it won two games before losing to that sea- son's national title winner, Indiana. The following year, Rosenthal pro- pelled an 18-game winning streak — still the school record — highlighted by the upset of No. 1 Indiana in the tournament before losing in the Elite Eight. As a senior, he became the first Fighting Irish player to average 20 points per game in a season (20.7). There have been many other Notre Dame players on the hardwood who were better. However, when combin- ing his achievements on the court with his administrative duties at his alma mater, Rosenthal merits special recognition. 4. KELLY TRIPUCKA (1977-81) Tripucka was the ringleader of the greatest four-year era in modern Notre Dame basketball history (post- World War II era). During his four seasons, the Irish spent only six weeks outside the As- sociated Press top 10 — and were never lower than No. 14 — and fin- ished the four regular seasons as high as No. 4 and only as low as No. 9. In his freshman year in 1978, Tri- pucka was named the Regional MVP while helping the Irish to their lone Final Four, and the next season the Irish were back in the Elite Eight. Tripucka earned All-America rec- ognition each of his last three seasons and had a proclivity to shine when the stage was the grandest. This in- cluded 15 second-half points as a freshman to upset No. 1 Marquette in 1978, a 28-point effort in a two-point win over 25-0 and No. 1 DePaul in 1980, and a 30-point performance as a senior to win at No. 1 Kentucky. During his career, the 6-5 Tripucka shot 54.8 percent from the field and 79.8 percent from the foul line. Among the 61 all-time 1,000-point scorers at Notre Dame, only Dantley surpassed Tripucka in both catego- ries: 56.2 percent from the field and 80.0 percent from the foul line. Next season will mark the 40th anniversary of the men's lone Final Four team. It would be the ideal time to fete Tripucka with a place in the Ring of Honor. In addition to the above "Final Four," at least two more players — one for the men and one for the women — should be mentioned for their role in facilitating a dramatic turnaround toward extended excellence. One would be 1972-74 center John Shumate because of the way he led Notre Dame out of the 6-20 doldrums in 1971-72, when he couldn't play because of a blood clot that nearly took his life. He led the Fighting Irish into the national consciousness the next two seasons, including a 24-2 regular sea- son in 1973-74. The first-team consen- sus All-American averaged 22 points and 13 rebounds per game as a ju- nior, and 24 points and 11 rebounds as a senior. Starting with the second half of his junior year, Shumate propelled his troops to marquee victories over Kansas (twice) and Marquette (twice, the former ending an 81-game home winning streak) — both of which made the Final Four his senior year — plus wins at St. John's; over Lou- isville and North Carolina on neutral courts; at South Carolina (ending a 34-game home winning streak); at Indiana; at Ohio State; at Michigan State; at Kentucky; and over UCLA, snapping the school's NCAA-record 88-game winning streak. Never were so many victories against so many prominent programs recorded in such a short span of time. Although he played only two var- sity seasons before graduating, Shu- mate helped resurrect the Irish into a top-five program. On the women's side, Katryna Gaither (1993-97) was a classmate and teammate of Morgan. They ar- rived the year after McGraw's fledg- ling program came off a 14-17 season and was in turmoil after the transfer of high-profile players. By their se- nior season, they spearheaded the first Final Four run in the program's history (with only seven scholarship players), helping set the stage for a national title four years later. Like Morgan, Gaither also scored more than 2,000 career points, one of four women players to do so in Irish annals. She also grabbed 986 rebounds, second on the all-time chart. ✦ Kelly Tripucka was named the Regional MVP while helping the Irish to their lone Final Four in 1978. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - April 2017