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Wade Iams: Med school looms after football career

Fran Tolan | Thursday, November 15, 2007

Irish reserve defensive back Wade Iams has never taken the field on a Notre Dame football Saturday. He has played on the “look” squad every week during practice for four years, simulating the defenses of upcoming Irish opponents. So of course Iams wonders what life would be like had he not chosen to walk onto the team as a freshman.

“It would be very difficult tomorrow to go back and start it all over again,” Iams said. “But you never want to quit.”

Iams, a senior biology major, said he has not even had preferred scheduling when deciding his classes during some of his semesters at Notre Dame.

“Some semesters we’ve had preferred scheduling and some we haven’t,” Iams said. “Semesters when we don’t, walk-ons are allowed to miss some meetings. But you definitely learn to manage your time.”

Despite the difficulties of being a walk-on, Iams said, he would not have had his best friends and memories if not for football.

Some of his closest friends are fellow walk-on defensive backs. Iams said his favorite teammates are reserve defensive backs William David Williams, Mike Anello and John Leonis. He also lives with a former Irish walk-on, Alvin Reynolds, at the Clover Ridge Apartments.

Iams also said his favorite time at Notre Dame was the 2005 game against USC.

“That was the most electric I’ve ever seen campus,” Iams said. “It was awesome that weekend, just amazing.”

And Iams, a Mishawaka native, has seen his share of Irish football games. His father, a 1981 Notre Dame graduate, played baseball for the Irish and frequently receives tickets from the Monogram Club.

“I came to a lot of Notre Dame football games … so my whole family loves Notre Dame,” Iams said. “Every week, those tickets are spoken for.”

And even though his family comes every week to see him on the sidelines, he frequently returns home. Iams said he enjoys going back to Penn High School in Granger – where he starred both football and baseball – to see his younger brother’s football games.

This season, Irish coach Charlie Weis awarded Iams a scholarship for the senior’s dedication to the Irish. And that extra money could be useful, as Iams plans to head to medical school after graduation. Iams said he knows his time at Notre Dame has prepared him well for his future education. And he hopes it will make it easier for him to stand out among aspiring doctors.

“Everybody going to med school is trying to get the ‘thing’ on their resume,” Iams said. “Mine is football.”

And judging from his work ethic with the Irish, Iams has earned any advantage that he can get.