SI Vault
Edited by Steve Wulf
May 25, 1987
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May 25, 1987


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Sometime in June, two priests will set off from South Bend in a recreational vehicle to see the country. The Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, president of Notre Dame, and the Reverend Edmund P. Joyce, Notre Dame's executive vice-president, are retiring from their posts this week, and they can embark on their travels secure in the knowledge that they leave behind one of America's great universities. Thanks to them, Notre Dame excels in fields other—and far more important—than football.

Shortly after Hesburgh, 70, took over as president 35 years ago, he was asked to pose centering a football. "I am not the football coach," said Hesburgh indignantly. The message was clear, and as Notre Dame's endowment grew from $9 million in 1952 to $350 million last year, 40 buildings went up on campus, only one of which was for athletics. Hesburgh also became renowned as a staunch advocate for civil rights and nuclear disarmament. He visited more than 100 nations, yet he always belonged to Notre Dame. "Look at the Dome and see Hesburgh's face," says law professor Fernand Dutile. "Look at Hesburgh and see the Dome."

Joyce, who was Hesburgh's right-hand man from the start, oversaw the athletic department, in addition to many other duties. Although he made a curious choice or two for football coach, Joyce saw to it that the program was simon-pure and that athletes did not neglect their studies. Notre Dame regularly graduates 98% of its athletes, and it remains a major power in football and basketball.

Hesburgh once said. "Athletes are first and foremost students. There should be only one inducement for them to come to college: the opportunity to get a fine education. Our many successful former student-athletes are the evidence that sports and a good education are completely compatible."

What better evidence can Hesburgh have than the fact that his successor, the Reverend Edward A. (Monk) Malloy, played on the Notre Dame basketball team from 1960 to 1963?


The Marathon ( Fla.) High football team was 6-2 last year, and eyeing the upcoming season, coach Bill Sympson says, "We're as big as we've ever been and as fast as we've ever been." But during spring practice, the Dolphins are afraid to get down in the trenches with some 9-inch, 5-ounce Speotyto cunicularia floridana or, as they're better known, Florida burrowing owls. It seems that in March, the owls dug themselves a home on the 12-yard line of the football field. When Sympson discovered the owls, he wisely contacted wildlife authorities, who told him that the birds were a species of special concern. The players and owls now keep a watchful eye on one another. "They just kind of sit on top of their hole and look around," says junior linebacker Sky ("My mom had a sense of humor, I guess") Rockett.

Julie Hovis, a biologist for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, says school officials must apply for a permit from the commission to fill in the burrow. "The problem with just filling in the hole is that the birds chose that particular site for some reason, and they're likely to come right back and dig in—maybe at the 50-yard line," says Hovis.

She suggests that the school find another site on the property where the owls could be tolerated: "They should dig a hole that simulates an owl's nest and place a burrowing owl perch at the entrance to the burrow, then try to lure the birds to the new site." That might seem complicated, but anything less would be unsportsmanlike conduct.

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