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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian is carried off the field by his players after defeating Texas 24-11 in the 1971 Cotton Bowl.

Saturday, September 30, 2017 1:00 am

Parseghian made mark on 2 schools

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

Notre Dame vs. Miami (Ohio)

When: 5:18 p.m. today

Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend

TV: NBC Sports Network

Radio: 1190 AM, 92.3 FM, 107.3 FM

It's been a game more than a century in the making, one that would have made the late Ara Parseghian proud.

Notre Dame played Miami (Ohio) for the first time Nov. 13, 1909, and the programs haven't met since, despite sharing a connection in Parseghian, who coached Miami for five seasons and Notre Dame for 11.

Today in South Bend, the Irish (3-1) and RedHawks (2-2) clash on an afternoon their current coaches feel holds special meaning given that Parseghian died last month at 94.

“Yeah, I'm sure there's a great deal of pride in both institutions, where he started and where he finished,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “Cradle of Coaches (at Miami) and then arguably the greatest college football tradition (at Notre Dame) – to be on both ends of that spectrum, I'm sure it's satisfying, fulfilling, in so many ways that Ara is at the center of that (today).”

Miami coach Chuck Martin received an encouraging letter from Parseghian when he took the job in December 2013. Martin, Notre Dame's offensive coordinator in 2012-13, said he feels privileged to lead the RedHawks into Notre Dame Stadium so soon after Parseghian's death.

“It means a lot to me, not because I knew Ara very well but because he was my childhood idol,” Martin said. “The head coach of Notre Dame was larger than life.”

Parseghian compiled a 95-17-4 record with the Irish. His .836 winning percentage ranks third in program history. He led Notre Dame to two national titles, in 1966 and 1973.

More than a decade prior, Parseghian took over as Miami's coach at age 27. He led his alma mater to a 39-6-2 record and Mid-American Conference titles in 1954 and 1955.

To honor Parseghian today, Notre Dame Stadium's video board will show four “Remembering Ara” packages. Also, his widow, Katie Parseghian, will present the national colors along with his longtime friend, Notre Dame emeritus trustee Art Decio.

Oddsmakers have installed the 22nd-ranked Irish as a 21-point favorite. They seek to build on last Saturday's 38-18 romp at Michigan State. The curiosity is whether Martin's connection as a former assistant to Kelly helps Miami keep the game close.

“Chuck and I are not going to be playing the game,” Kelly said. “I know how he is going to prepare his team. He knows how I'll prepare my team. I think that's probably it.”

Martin expects a number of emotions to swirl through his mind, growing a fan of the Irish.

“The first thing I knew about the world was Ara Parseghian and Notre Dame winning a national title,” Martin said. “I'm almost 50 years old, and I've never not rooted for Notre Dame a day in my life. I'm going to be rooting against Notre Dame. That will be a little awkward for me.”