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Miami Beach pep rally draws thousands

Matthew DeFranks | Sunday, January 6, 2013

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – It was hard to believe the same stage hosted the same event just three hours before.

Alabama’s pep rally, which started Saturday at 4 p.m. on Miami Beach with little fanfare and lots of highlights, attracted a fraction of the crowd the Irish drew at 7 p.m. in the same location. Thousands of Notre Dame fans began to line up yards from the ocean almost an hour in advance to secure the best view of the stage. In fact, Miami Beach police initially estimated the crowd at up to 20,000 attendees, later revising that estimate to 40,000. 

Former Irish football player and current ESPN personality Mike Golic emceed an event that featured speeches by entertainer Martin Short, former Irish football players Joe Theismann, Pat Terrell and Tony Rice and legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz.

Holtz, who now works as an ESPN college football analyst, was greeted by the “1812 Overture” as cheers of “Lou” rang through the crowd.

The cheerleaders and leprechaun joined the speakers on stage while the Band of the Fighting Irish played with their feet in the sand just in front of the stage. Every speaker that offered a prediction chose the Irish to win.

As always, the program ended with the “Notre Dame Victory March” and “Notre Dame, Our Mother” before the sea of gold and blue poured into the streets to enjoy the Miami nightlife.

No. 1 Notre Dame will face No. 2 Alabama on Monday night at 8:30 p.m. in the BCS National Championship Game in Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Contact Matthew DeFranks at [email protected]