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Bob Morton: Irish pull together for guard after father’s death

Deirdre Krasula | Monday, February 12, 2007

For offensive lineman Bob Morton, the 2006 football season was not just a chance to play one final season with his “brothers,” but also an opportunity to honor the memory of his father.

Robert Morton, who played football for Rutgers, died Aug. 22 from stomach cancer at the age of 54. Bob Morton returned home to McKinney, Texas to be with his family in their time of need, but he quickly returned to his teammates. Within days, the son was back at practice and preparing for the season opener against Georgia Tech which was less than two weeks away.

When the team traveled to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets, Morton said that he had never felt such love and support from his teammates.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt that camaraderie,” Morton said. “When those guys came to me before the game and let me know they were playing it for my pops, I never felt like I was alone. I didn’t need to lean on anybody, they were all holding me up together.”

The squad is more than just a team to Morton – it is a family, a contingent of brothers. Morton feels these brothers will be there for one another no matter what the circumstances.

“When key points in a person’s life come up, whether good or bad, the team can come together, and it feels like the most close knit family you’ll ever see,” the veteran said.

But for Morton, his Notre Dame family does not just exist on the field, it is everywhere on his sacred campus. He said some of his most memorable moments are not the games when the offensive line does not allow a sack, but the times after the game when he celebrates with the entire Notre Dame student body – and not just his teammates.

“I’m going to miss the family that is the Notre Dame student body,” Morton said.

Morton does not plan to leave the South Bend area anytime soon, though. After graduating from the Mendoza College of Business with a degree in accounting, the fifth year veteran has been taking graduate courses and volunteering his free time with teenagers at Grace Baptist Church.

After winter break, Morton plans to return to Grace Baptist Church and take on a larger role as a youth-intern for the spring semester.

Despite being a Baptist at one of the nation’s top Roman Catholic institutions, Morton has never felt out of place. The opportunity to take theology classes alongside not only students of different faiths, but professors of different faiths has allowed Morton to deepen his faith.

“It is such a spiritually focused school that I have not been put out because of my faith,” Morton said.

Morton said he never felt a duty to serve his faith early on in life like most people; apparently he missed that call.

Discovering his calling later on in life has not slowed him down; rather it has increased his speed of life. After finishing his internship with Grace Baptist Church, Morton is not sure where his life will take him, maybe back to Texas to attend Seminarian school, or perhaps more service work, either way, his future does not hold a place for accounting.

“We’ve got one life to live and I feel we are suppose to glorify the one who made us,” Morton said.

A life lived based on faith and honoring the memory of his father. Maybe not the role Morton thought he would lead when he first stepped on campus in 2002, but still one spent in the Notre Dame spirit nonetheless.