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Christopher Gurries: Two snaps last season highlight engineer’s career

Jack Hefferon | Thursday, November 11, 2010

On a campus filled with individuals chasing career goals while performing community service and living active social lives, there may be no person on campus more well-rounded than senior receiver Chris Gurries.

Gurries’ journey as a college football player began four years ago, when he turned down offers from several Division III and FCS schools, including Harvard and Wesleyan, to accept a partial academic scholarship to Notre Dame.

“My family was extremely supportive. They were actually the ones who really prodded me to walk on,” Gurries said. “My dad put some of my film together, and we sent it in the summer before I got here. They set up a tryout for me, and I was able to make the team.”

While Gurries has seen limited game action in his four years, he has had some memorable moments.

“Last year, I played two snaps in the home opener against Nevada, with my family and about half of my hometown looking on,” said Gurries, who attended Bishop Manogue High School in Reno, Nev.

Memories of playing in Notre Dame Stadium may be lasting, but more important to Gurries are the strong relationships and lifelong friendships that he has developed along the way.

“The best part of being on the team is just being around the guys,” Gurries said. “There’s a real sense of family.”

In particular, Gurries believes that he and his fellow walk-ons share a unique bond.

“The life of a walk-on is a unique experience. It’s good to have other people in the same boat as you,” he said. “We call ourselves the Walk-on Players Union, the WOPU Nation. We keep each other motivated, keep each other’s spirits high, and we’re really tight on and off the field.”

Another special part of that relationship, according to Gurries, is the older walk-ons helping out the younger players who may have the same issues. One player who really influenced him was fellow walk-on and fan favorite Mike Anello, a 2009 graduate.

“I really looked up to Anello when he was here,” Gurries said. “We were both in Keough Hall, and he would give me advice all the time.”

Off the field, Gurries is just as dynamic as he is on it, due to graduate in May with a degree in chemical engineering.

“Chemical engineering probably wasn’t the easiest route to go, especially with the time commitment football requires and the workload of chemical engineering,” he said. “As you could imagine, football and studies led to a lot of late nights. The key was to stay on top of my work and not procrastinate too much.”

With that degree Gurries plans to start dental school in July, and aspires to be an oral surgeon.

“Hopefully I’ll be going to the University of the Pacific. They can’t tell me officially yet, but I’ve been told that I’m pretty much in,” he said. “I want to become a dentist because I enjoy working with people and helping people, and it allows me to provide for a family.”

Gurries looks forward to that family most of all, and his upcoming marriage to fiancée Sarah in July will be the first part of it.

“I love her to death and I think she is the most beautiful girl. We met in high school, and we just had our five-year anniversary on Nov. 5. She is in nursing school in Salt Lake City and we plan to get married shortly after she graduates in June in Carmel, Calif., at the Carmel Mission,” he said. “We both cannot wait for the four-year long-distance relationship to finally run its course.”