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Football: Ara, Holtz will coach Blue-Gold

Ken Fowler | Thursday, March 1, 2007

Four fresh faces at quarterback will work under two living legends.

Notre Dame announced Wednesday that former Irish coaches Lou Holtz and Ara Parseghian will serve as the honorary coaches for the April 21 Blue-Gold game, the team’s annual spring scrimmage.

Former Parseghian assistant coaches Brian Boulac and Joe Yonto will return to the sidelines as assistants. Former Irish defensive end and College Football Hall of Fame member Ross Browner will serve as the honorary captain for Parseghian’s team. Browner started on Parseghian’s 1973 national championship squad.

“Of course it will be a privilege to come back and to come back on the field again, which I hadn’t been on the field since 1974,” Parseghian said Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Observer from his winter home in Florida.

Foge Fazio and Tony Yelovich, both former members of Holtz’s coaching staff, will serve as Holtz’s assistants. Former Irish quarterback Tony Rice, who led Notre Dame to a national title in 1988 under Holtz, will be the captain for his old skipper’s squad.

Parseghian said a slew of his old assistants still live in the area, including Tom Pagna, who now writes for Blue and Gold Illustrated.

“It’s unbelievable how many guys are still in town, and it shows how much of an impact Notre Dame had on their lives,” Parseghian said, before quipping, “I may petition for more assistant coaches.”

With sophomore Evan Sharpley, freshmen Zach Frazer and Demetrius Jones and early-enrollee Jimmy Clausen set to battle for the starting quarterback job this spring, Parseghian said he’s excited to meet the future of the program.

But he’s not going to be too involved in the passes they’ll throw.

“I won’t be calling any of the plays,” Parseghian said with a laugh. “It is a very important time for the building of the Notre Dame football team because the spring practices [are] where you make changes where improvement is needed.”

Parseghian, who coached the Irish from 1964-74, said the media and fan attention for the spring game now is greater than when he was coach, but not by much. He estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people annually attended the Blue-Gold games when he led the Irish.

“There was always a lot of interest because it was a preview of what was to come,” he said.

Tickets for the Blue-Gold game go on sale March 26.


u Chik-Fil-A sponsored the 2006 “Blue-Gold Spring Football Festivities,” while the 2007 title sponsor will be Home Run Inn Pizza.