There were two college football teams that mattered in the Reusse home in Fulda, Minn., when I was a kid: Minnesota and Notre Dame, in that order.
I had just turned 9 when seeing the Gophers in person for the first time — a wondrous 22-20 victory over No. 9 Iowa on Nov. 13, 1954, with an overflow crowd of 65,464 in Memorial Stadium.
Bob McNamara’s 89-yard kickoff return. I can still see it.
It would be a long time before visiting the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind. I was writing columns for the St. Paul newspapers and was sent there in April 1981 to report on the first spring of Gerry Faust.
Hiring a high school coach didn’t work out well, but it did put me there when Ara Parseghian came back to the practice field for the first time in years and made a short, rousing speech to Faust’s athletes. Wow.
It was a greater campus and a greater environment than I had imagined even in the romantic view of my youth listening to Irish football on the Mutual Radio Network.
I was back for Lou Holtz’s first game vs. Michigan on Sept. 13, 1986, which was preceded by Lou’s first address at the traditional Friday night pep fest. You think that was any good?
Sid Hartman and I came in from the Vikings’ 34-9 playoff loss in San Francisco on New Year’s Day and covered Holtz’s juggernaut in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 1989. Notre Dame drubbed West Virginia 34-21 for what remains its last national championship.
I covered No. 2 Notre Dame’s 31-24 home victory over No. 1 Florida State on Nov. 13, 1993. I was there for the “Bush Push’’ on Oct. 15, 2005, when USC kept its winning streak alive with a 34-31 victory over the Irish.
The anti-Notre Dame football fans embrace “arrogance’’ as an explanation for their disdain. Sorry. Notre Dame was consistently the least arrogant of the big-time football operations that I’ve visited.
My view: There are other options, clearly, but it never can be declared a mistake for a much-sought football recruit to take his shot at Notre Dame.
Read Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KARE-11 and the Quinn Carroll announcement:
• Randy Shaver dived deeply into prep football coverage two-plus decades ago. His station was a well-deserved site for Carroll’s decision.
• Some Gophers fans suggest KARE shouldn’t have done this if Carroll wasn’t going to the U. Ah, goofers, that was the story angle: Where’s Quinn going?
• In the unlikely event of second thoughts, Carroll can take care of those by going to gopherhole.com to read comments on him and his father Jay, an ex-Gopher.