Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 9, 2017

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

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14 OCT. 9, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Following Notre Dame's 38-18 victory at Michigan State Sept. 23, social media and Twitter posted popular videos of Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly danc- ing jubilantly in the locker room with his players. The video is capped off with him holding the Megaphone Trophy — presented annually since 1949 to the Notre Dame-Michigan State winner — aloft among his elated players. During much of his career, Kelly has lamented that much of his interaction with his players centered only on the negative, whether it's a sideline rant caught by television cameras or saying something publicly that was interpreted as throwing players "under the bus." He said those are only snapshots that fail to capture relationships that also have been endearing. When Kelly was asked if the celebration at Michigan State was the most fun he's had in a post-game session and what it says about the rapport between himself and the players, he noted how striving to bounce back together with a vengeance from a 4-8 season has had a galvanizing effect on everyone. "I love my guys," Kelly said. "I love being around them. They're fun. They do the right things. We don't have a lot of guys on [discipline or academic problems] lists. They pay attention to all the things. So when you have those opportunities to enjoy it — they're kids, they're young — sometimes we need to share that with them and be young. "Even though I might not look it or act it at times, you're with young guys all the time, and it's important that you get to share that with them. I made a prom- ise to them that we'd get that Megaphone back, so I wanted to make sure that we were able to present it to them." Miami (Ohio) head coach Chuck Martin has a deep affin- ity for the University of Notre Dame, which is why playing against the Irish Sept. 30 was a bittersweet experience. The love began thanks to 1964-74 Notre Dame head coach Ara Parseghian, who passed away Aug. 2. Mar- tin attended the funeral, and though he admitted he didn't know Parseghian much per- sonally, he felt he knew him virtually all his life. "I'm 5 years old in 1973, and the first thing I know about anything in the world is Ara Parseghian and Notre Dame beating Alabama to win a na- tional title," said Martin, who was hooked on Notre Dame forever thereafter and coached there under Brian Kelly from 2010-13. The limited relationship Martin did have with Par- seghian took on a much deeper meaning when he ac- cepted the head coaching job with the RedHawks on Dec. 3, 2013. In the eight seasons (2006-13) prior to Martin's arrival, the once proud RedHawks program was 29-70, with only one winning season and an 0-12 finish the week before he accepted the post. One of the first people to contact him was Parseghian — Miami (Ohio) class of 1949, an All-Ohio selection there in 1946-47 before playing with the Cleveland Browns, and then re- turning to his alma mater in 1950 as the freshman coach for Woody Hayes. A year later, Hayes took the Ohio State job and the 28-year-old Par- seghian was promoted to head coach, where he was 39-6-1 from 1951-55 and led Miami to its first national top-20 fin- ish (No. 15 in 1955). "I'm not a memorabilia guy, I'm not a guy that's very sentimental at all," Martin said. "I don't have anything in my office. But there was a note from Ara when I took this job that he wanted to see me get the Cradle of Coaches turned around. "The one keepsake I have I think in my whole career is a letter from Ara Parseghian." Last year when Miami (Ohio) went from 0-6 to 6-6, a first in NCAA his- tory, to earn its first bowl bid in six years, Martin cherished another cor- respondence from Par- seghian. "He wrote me another note about how proud he was in getting Miami football back to where it belongs," Martin said. "It means a lot to me not because I knew Ara very well, but just because he's my childhood idol, the head coach at Notre Dame, larger than life. "For me to take over at his alma mater and then help his alma mater get the Cradle of Coaches turned back in the right direction, I'm pretty proud of that." Chuck Martin, now the head coach at Miami (Ohio), was an assistant under Brian Kelly at Notre Dame from 2010-13 and has been a lifelong Irish fan. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS Save The Last Dance For Me NOTRE DAME-MIAMI (OHIO) SHARE ARA PARSEGHIAN'S LEGEND

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