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The Rebirth of a Legend
Dan Jenkins
September 20, 2006
JUST THREE SEASONS INTO HIS 11-YEAR TENURE IN SOUTH BEND, COACH ARA PARSEGHIAN HAD NOTRE DAME'S LOYAL SONS AND DAUGHTERS FILLED WITH FIGHTING IRISH PRIDE AGAIN
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September 20, 2006

The Rebirth Of A Legend

JUST THREE SEASONS INTO HIS 11-YEAR TENURE IN SOUTH BEND, COACH ARA PARSEGHIAN HAD NOTRE DAME'S LOYAL SONS AND DAUGHTERS FILLED WITH FIGHTING IRISH PRIDE AGAIN

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Hanratty's father, Eddie, is a sports-loving man himself, who once considered a boxing career. He won 16 of 17 bouts as an amateur but gave it up because, as he says, "you can wind up on Goofy Street." The father has seen three Notre Dame games, sitting proudly but worriedly in the stands, fearing injury. "He'll see a lot of mountains of men before he's through," says the father, "and I'll have to try to act like I'm not worried about it."

The quarterback was not easily recruited by Notre Dame. His first choice was Penn State, and his second was Michigan State, even though he had an older brother, Pete, who had gone to South Bend on a part-scholarship for track and field. Penn State will tell you that Hanratty's grades didn't measure up, but Notre Dame will tell you that Ray, also a top recruiter, was the final persuading factor. Hanratty confesses the same.

Terry Hanratty is polite, bewildered, mannerly. He says, "I've just been trying to beat out Coley O'Brien for quarterback, and now all this happens." But that's not all he says. After the spectacular day against Purdue when he completed 16 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns, Hanratty was named Midwest Back of the Week--not the biggest deal in the world. But Hanratty was called into Valdiserri's office and told of the honor, nonetheless. The quarterback, who has sharp features in a narrow face and a black crew cut that lies flat, looked stunned. After a pause he said slowly, "Boy, I never thought it would all end up like this."

Hanratty is like that. So is Seymour. And before the two of them are through, Notre Dame may have to erect a couple more statues.

EPILOGUE

It's been more than three decades since Parseghian roamed the Notre Dame sideline, but now the legendary coach is leading an even more important team. Parseghian, 83, serves as the national spokesperson for the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization he helped found in 1994 to help find a cure for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a genetic pediatric neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive deterioration of the nervous system. The disease has claimed the lives of his three youngest grandchildren.

When he's not working for the foundation, Parseghian makes time to play golf three times a week. Parseghian, who compiled a 95-17-4 record and an .836 winning percentage and guided Notre Dame to national championships in 1966 and '73 during his 11-year tenure as coach, has holed an astounding six aces since retiring from football in '74, including three on the same hole at the South Bend Country Club. He discovered the game "back in the Depression days working as a caddie," he says. Though he's lefthanded, all six of Parseghian's aces have come righthanded. "There were no lefthanded clubs back then, so I ended up playing righthanded," Parseghian says. Seems like the luck of the Irish is still with the old coach.

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