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Alumni host Football Fridays

By KATIE McCARTY | Friday, September 20, 2013

When alumni flock to campus for home football games, they can always be sure to find a welcoming place to go the day before the game.

Specifically, they can visit the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Football Fridays event for food and entertainment.

Tim O’Neill, a 1994 graduate and member of the Alumni Board, described the event as a “place to hang out, eat, and listen to some great Irish music.”

“It’s a great way for alumni to find out what the Alumni Association is up to, and this event gives alumni another reason to come back for football weekends and see all the great things the Alumni Association is doing,” O’Neill said.

The event is held the Friday of every home game weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all alumni are invited to attend for free. The Football Fridays event includes relatively cheap tailgate food, performances by alumni and student bands and a big screen television showing ESPN highlights and Notre Dame football highlights. Other student groups, such as the Notre Dame cheerleaders, occasionally perform at the event as well. 

Football Fridays takes place between the Hammes Bookstore and the Eck Visitor Center, and O’ Neill said organizers ensure the event ends before the pep rally.

O’ Neill, who with his brother forms a piano band called the O’Neill brothers, produces albums featuring both their own music and the work of other alumni. Among the other pieces by other Notre Dame graduates are four albums that the University has asked the brothers to produce.

“We did the Spirit of Notre Dame album about a year ago, which features music by about 30 Notre Dame alumni,” O’Neill said. “Because we had made all these relationships, the Alumni Association asked us to help get Notre Dame alumni back for Football Fridays.”

The Alumni Association markets the event with incentives such as a raffle for two sideline tickets for the football game and one dollar hotdogs. While they are there, he said alumni can also update their information for the Alumni Association’s records.

This weekend, Don Savoie, a professor in the music department, and Pat McKillen, class of 2011, will perform together, singing both original songs and  Notre Dame favorites. O’Neill said the Football Fridays event before the Temple game was a huge success.

“It was a record number of people there,” O’Neill said. “So we are pretty much keeping this Friday’s event the same, just with different musicians there.”

The Alumni Association wants Football Fridays to be a place for alumni to reconnect and forge new friendships.

“It’s a casual social atmosphere,” O’Neill said. “Come learn and be entertained.”

Contact Katie McCarty at