Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clausen & Tate Still Unsigned

Former Notre Dame quarterback and second round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers - Jimmy Clausen - has yet to sign his first NFL contract. Clausen's surprising drop to the second round -- took millions of "guaranteed" dollars off the table in this negotiation. As a point of reference, Sam Bradford, the first QB taken (and #1 pick overall) is looking at $50 million guaranteed -- while Clausen, the second QB taken in the NFL Draft will be looking at probably $1.5 to $2 million tops in guaranteed money. Meanwhile two of Clausen's teammates; Sam Young (four-year deal, terms not disclosed, with a $110,500 signing bonus) and Eric Olsen (four-year deal starting at $395,000 -- don't know what signing bonus was) signed contracts with the Cowboys and Broncos, respectively, in the past week. Meanwhile, Golden Tate is still negotiating with the Seahawks. Earlier this month, the player drafted the spot before Tate -- signed a $3.25 million dollar four-year contract. Of the $3.25 million -- $1,025,000 was guaranteed. Meaning Tate will probably be looking at a contract totaling $3 million over four years with around $1 million guaranteed. The challenge for Clausen, Tate, Young and Olsen, with NFL contracts, is the only money guaranteed is the signing bonus. So, signing a four-year contract, like Young and Olsen did, doesn't mean you'll be employed -- you have to earn your spot, every day. Your NFL team could cut you tomorrow and all you're owed is the signing bonus. Fortunately, these four are more fortunate than most in the "LEAGUE" -- since they'll always have their Notre Dame education to fall back on. Here's hoping that's many years from now!

"Welcome to Notre Dame..."

The University of Notre Dame introduced its new head baseball coach this week -- Mik Aoki. Aoki is the 20th head baseball coach in the history of Notre Dame baseball. I knew this fact from the press release that Notre Dame sent out to the media. Now, I could have just picked up the phone and called Cappy Gagnon -- who just happens to be the foremost authority on Notre Dame baseball in the world. A 1966 graduate of Notre Dame, Cappy Gagnon returned to his alma mater in March 1996 to assume his current post as coordinator of stadium personnel. In that role, he is responsible for overseeing the 857 ushers who handle crowd management for football games at Notre Dame Stadium. When you hear one of them say "Welcome to Notre Dame" -- that's Cappy's influence. Cappy has had an interesting and distinguished career. Gagnon has previously served as assistant director of training at THE POLICE FOUNDATION, a Washington, D.C.-based police think tank; the executive assistant/director of special programs for the Sheriff of Los Angeles County; and the technical services manager for the Olympia (Wash.) Police Department. While with the L.A. Sheriff's Department, he received the Exemplary Service Award, two commendations from the National Association of Counties, and a commendation from the L.A. Human Rights Commission. Because of his service on the nine-member Los Angeles County "Blue Ribbon Commission on the Homeless," he received a commendation from the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Gagnon also worked for Gavin de Becker as a security supervisor, providing protective services for more than 30 of the most prominent public figures in the entertainment industry. In that capacity, he supervised security of many of the entertainers who performed at President Ronald Reagan's first inauguration in 1981. Gagnon also was the security escort and provided all the advance work for more than 100 venues for Cher's 1990 world tour. A noted baseball historian, Gagnon served two years (1984-85) as the president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), a worldwide group of 7,000 baseball historians. He also wrote Notre Dame Baseball Greats (cover above), published by Arcadia Press (2004) -- a link to buy the book online is below. One of my favorite Cappy Gagnon stories is when Bobby Bowden brought his Seminoles into Notre Dame Stadium to play the Irish (not sure of the season). Now, it was well known that the Seminoles had a "grave yard" outside their football practice field in which they ceremoniously 'buried' a clump of grass from every away football field they were victorious. They called these clumps "scalps." Well Cappy wasn't going to allow that to happen at Notre Dame! So, the game is over, the Seminoles had beaten the Irish that day - and one of the Seminoles' star players had just reached down to take a "scalp" out of Notre Dame Stadium. Only to find someone grabbing his wrist -- telling him "politely" to put that grass down -- he did -- that someone was Mr. Cappy Gagnon. The scene was caught by a photographer who later presented the series of photos to Cappy - which you'll find framed on his office wall. The topper was the next day when this athlete was interviewed about the game and he mentioned that the Irish "weren't that tough, but their ushers sure were!" If you ever have the honor of crossing paths with Cappy Gagnon -- and I hope you do -- you'll quickly learn he's a class act, a wonderful representative of his alma mater and a NOTRE DAME MAN! Buy his book!


Desert to Dome -- Starts TODAY!

University of Notre Dame's Dean of the College of Science -- Greg Crawford and his wife Renate -- begin their 2,200 mile bike ride from the Desert (Tucson, AZ) to the Dome (Notre Dame, IN) TODAY! The Crawford's are "bringing home" the relationship between the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation and the University of Notre Dame -- as the two have joined forces to find a cure for Neimann-Pick Type C. A disease that took the lives of three of Coach Ara Parseghian's grandchildren at a young age. The journey will be documented on their blog -- link below -- so please be sure to check in on them over the next four weeks. They expect to ride onto campus on August 23rd. Those of you along their route (the map is on the blog) please make an effort to cheer them on -- either on the side of the road or at one of the Notre Dame Club events scheduled. SAFE TRAVELS!