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Irish coach rewards dorms for enthusiasm

Mel Flanagan | Friday, April 8, 2011

Nine of the most spirited residence halls on campus were recently rewarded for their enthusiasm at this fall’s pep rallies with personal talks from coach Brian Kelly in their respective dorms.

Each of the seven home game pep rallies featured a dorm spirit competition in which judges chose the most spirited hall based on attendance and level of enthusiasm. This year, Badin, Siegfried, Pasquerilla East, Farley, Cavanaugh, Alumni, Walsh, St. Edward’s and Carroll took home spirit awards.

Mike Oliver, co-chair of Hall Presidents Council, said the plans for the competition began last April.

Oliver and co-chair Alexa Doyle worked with former student body president Catherine Soler and football program administrators to coordinate the contest.

“We tried to think of how to get students to come to the pep rallies,” Oliver said.

“Since Brian Kelly wanted to get more connected to the students, we figured one way to increase student attendance was to create a spirit competition between the dorms.”

Former Cavanaugh president Caitlin Desmond said her hall demonstrated enormous enthusiasm at the pep rallies this fall, including running to Irish Green to obtain front-row seats.

Their efforts proved successful as Cavanaugh was rewarded this past Wednesday with a special appearance by Kelly.

Kelly thanked the girls for exhibiting outstanding spirit and remaining engaged with the team throughout the season.

“We had a tough year, and you very easily could have backed out and not been supportive,” he said. “But you’ve been very supportive throughout the entire year, and

I’m here to say ‘thank you’ for that.”

Kelly said the competition allowed him to connect personally with the dorms and discover the distinctive character and spirit of each hall.

“It’s been a great learning experience, learning about the different dorms, their history, the people that are here,” he said.

“I wanted to really become immersed in what our campus is about.”

Kelly said he was especially drawn to Notre Dame for its unique residential life.

“I wanted to be on a campus that had a residential community,” he said. “I wanted to go somewhere [where] there was truly community spirit.”

Cavanaugh looked to demonstrate that Notre Dame spirit Wednesday night, and the entire dorm was thrilled to meet Kelly, Desmond said.

“I really think the girls enjoyed hearing his story and answering our questions,” she said. “I loved seeing him want to be involved with the students.”

Pasquerilla East won the spirit competition at the first pep rally of the season.

“Since it was the first pep rally, we were all super excited. I think there were almost 150 of us,” hall president Emily Hefferon said. “We got there an hour early and we were blasting music. We were all so pumped.”

Hefferon said Kelly’s speech was engaging and entertaining.

“He was so positive,” she said. “He talked about the team and made everyone really excited for next season.”